How can we drop 2014’s baggage and make a fresh start in 2015? How can we live this year with increasing freedom?
I once heard a preacher suggest a spiritual inventory. I discovered it gave me the chance to start with small things I could control . . . and even though those things were small, the sense of freedom I received was long-lasting.
So let me explain it to you and you can see if it might be useful. I’ll divide the spiritual inventory into three steps and post one “step” per week this month (January). When you’ve finished reading this post do send me a comment – let me know if this was useful for you. We’re all on this journey together.
Step one: Quietness and confession
- Go to a quiet place, knowing you have set aside as much time as you need.(I sat in my car by the lake – no wi-fi, no phone.)
- Ask God to bring anything outstanding to your mind.(I was surprised that many of them were several years old.)
- Examine those thoughts and events. What is it about them that seems unresolved?
- Confess each thing completely. (I think it is important to do this as thoroughly as possible. After all, the reason it came up is that it wasn’t fully dealt with the first time round. As I did this step, I tried to honestly look for the root – for the reason behind the issue.)
- Name it for what it is and let go of any excuses you have been holding on to. Recognize all the consequences other people may have faced because of your actions.
- If it is appropriate (and would not cause hurt), apologize. Be sure it is solely an apology (no mention of anything you may feel was their part). If applicable, make restitution. Yes, this may feel really awkward – especially for “small” things or things that happened long ago – but you will be amazed at how much lighter you feel when you are certain you have done everything possible about your past.
- Once you’ve dealt with the past, let it go. Our calling isn’t to perfection but to a transforming relationship with Jesus.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. . . . But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal . . . ” Philippians 3:12-14a ESV
great article — lots of think about.
Yes. Sandra. Truly lots to think about. It’s good to start the new year (even now) with clarity. I’ve been doing this inventory and it’s really been helpful to focus on the first, small thing that I can give to God. Wishing you Spirit-led clarity this year!