Rushing into New Beginnings

Image Source: Kevin Ku

Life is full of new beginnings. Even when one chapter ends, another begins. Often, new beginnings are so exciting that we tend to rush into them without taking time to reflect on the journey before.

Effective preparation involves two aspects: reflection and planning.
“Improving your future requires study of the past; we learn traveling through life and especially from mistakes that provide lessons we should not repeat.”
- Gandolfo (1983)
At the end of every season, the best sports teams spend much time reflecting on the previous year. What went wrong? What did we do well? Where did we make mistakes? What could we have done better? After these questions have been asked, they can then plan ahead to improve on their performances the following season.

Similarly, successful businesses consolidate their previous year's financial statements before drawing up a budget for the following year. If they rushed ahead and planned their future budget before reflecting on the last year, they run the risk of reckless spending.

Reflection before planning is also important for individuals. We know that Jesus often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Luke 5:16). I would like to think that Jesus also used these moments of silent withdrawal to reflect on the events that had transpired in his life before moving on to his next task.

We should make time to earnestly reflect on and learn from our past experiences. Where did I make mistakes? How could I have improved? In what ways did I experience God's grace? 

I started a new job at Bethlehem Methodist Church in December. I have been guilty of rushing into my new beginning. For the past three years, I have been sitting at the Seminary in Pietermaritzburg, anxiously waiting for this next chapter of my life to begin. While I certainly enjoyed my time in KZN, a large part of me was always looking ahead to the future.

Finally, my new beginning in Bethlehem arrived. I was so excited to begin that I filled my weeks with meetings, self-study and meaningless busy-work - all to make sure that my first few weeks of ministry were productive.

As I sat down to write this blog post, I realised that I have spent so much time planning ahead, that I have forgotten to set time aside to reflect on the previous part of my journey. It took me several weeks to realise that I need to slow down, spend some time in earnest reflection, and then plan accordingly.

This idea of reflection before action is modelled in the way that God's people understand and practice Sabbath. It is good to work. But it is vital to take breaks and honour the Sabbath - reflecting, resting and being thankful for what has come before.

Let us remember to take time to withdraw, pray and reflect on our past experiences before rushing into the excitement of new beginnings.
"Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house."
- Proverbs 24:27 (ESV)

Comments

  1. This is really good Joe. I recommend a book called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, by John Mark Comer. I know it will challenge you and help you.

    I was thinking of a quote I once saw or heard shared by Trevor Hudson;

    "One does not learn from experiences. One learns from the reflection of experiences."

    I really liked that.

    Mary did the same thing. In Luke 2 you see with everything going on - The angel visiting her etc.... twice that chapter says "and Mary pondered and treasured up these things in her heart."

    We all need to ponder more.

    I am glad you have slowed down. Yes!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Daz! I am going to see if I can get my hands on a copy of that book, it sounds like something that I would enjoy.

      I really like that quote from Trevor. I wish I had heard it before writing the blog post ;). I love your reflections, thank you!

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  2. Lovely reflection Joe - blessings for your time in Bethlehem. Delme

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Delme! I hope Fish Hoek is treating you well. Let me know if you are ever interested in a pulpit swap in winter ;)

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