Selah Sunday Reflection Guide
The term "selah" as used in the Psalms is often attributed to the idea of pausing or resting. That is why we are calling December 31st, Selah Sunday: an opportunity for us all to pause and rest before the New Year begins. New beginnings seem to appeal to all of us. A fresh start, a clean slate, a second chance—something about this concept moves a place deep in our spirits. The actual working out of how to make this happen, especially as January 1st approaches, may feel exciting to some but overwhelming to others. Depending on your personality and perspective it’s either a new adventure to tackle or a massive mountain in your way. Regardless of how you feel about the coming year, there are some powerful and encouraging ways to reflect back and move forward.
A good place to start is by renewing our minds in regards to how we think about the new year. For some reason, when we make New Year’s goals or resolutions, we start by examining the negative things in our life—I’m too fat so I’ll exercise and eat healthy, I don’t make enough money so I’ll get a new job, I’m not productive so I’ll form new habits. Let’s be honest, how many of us actually keep these goals that stemmed from negativity? Instead of focusing on the ways we fell short in this past year, what if we gained vision for the new year by examining our lives through God’s lens: looking at our greatest challenges and weaknesses but also taking time to reflect on areas of strength and health, thanking God for His provision and guidance.
Let’s start by looking to the Word. Ephesians 2:1-10 is a powerful passage that reveals to us the reality that we are made new and alive in Christ, completely by His work and His power. It is God’s rich mercy that has taken us from death to life! The passage goes on to say that because of God’s work and grace, He has prepared good works for us to do. These things are not a way of earning our salvation, but a way of responding to God’s great work in us and partnering with Him to see His Kingdom advanced. That is the essence of looking towards 2018, rejoicing in God’s great work in our lives and seeking Him for what He has for us to do and be in the new year.
As we take time to pause before the New Year begins, we are offering this template to help you stop and reflect and then move forward as God would have you to. So whether that’s twenty to-do’s and goals or one simple word and area of vision, you will enter the New Year recharged, feeling revitalized and ready for 2018. We encourage you to set aside some time to intentionally reflect on 2017 and prayerfully consider what God has for you in 2018.
As you begin: Read the following scriptures and reflect on the new life that you already have in Christ. Allow your identity in Him to be the foundation of reflection and goal setting. Turn on some worship music and settle in with your family around the breakfast table or by yourself. As you read, ask the following questions:
What do these scriptures say about the character of God? What do these scriptures say about who I am?
*Look at the questions below and pick the few that would help you and your family reflect and move forward.
Reflection for 2017 :
- What were 5-10 highlights of your year?
- How have you seen yourself, your spouse, and your family members grow this year?
- What were 5-10 challenges or disappointments that you faced?
- What are 2 curveballs you experienced?
- What are 3 things you wish you would’ve done differently?
- What are 3 things you feel like you did really well?
- What do you feel like God is speaking about this past year? What does He have to say to you?
- Where in your life do you feel like you need a fresh start?
Moving Forward in 2018:
- What is a way that you want to grow closer to God this year?
- What are 2-3 areas in your life that you’d like to grow in?
- Who are 2-3 people in your life that you’d like to get to know this year?
- What are 5-10 things you’d like to pray for this year?
- What are 2-3 “good works” you feel like God is preparing you/your family to do?
- What are 5 passages of scripture that you’d like to meditate on/memorize this year?
Ask God to speak a word for you/your family, write it down and place it somewhere in your house where you will see it regularly. Spend time praying over your year. Pray over yourself and each family member and any big events that you have planned. Pray for God’s guidance as you enter into the year. Take time to write out a prayer beginning with thanking God for last year, thanking Him for what is to come and asking for His presence with you in the new year.
A New Year’s Prayer
Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again
Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us
A mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.