Listening and Reflecting

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by Kelly Shipp

“Finish strong.”

I have repeated this to myself a lot over the past few weeks.

As the school year, discipleship group, MC, and other extracurriculars wrap up and summer approaches, my natural inclination is to hastily move on to the next thing. Or just quit prematurely.

I’m tired. I’ll admit it, there is nothing strong about my fleshly response to the end of a season.

Finishing strong isn’t easy.

I’m reminded, in the book of Esther, that the Lord has uniquely prepared each of us for the work he has called us to today. We are called to the place we are, right now, for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14) All that we do is important and vital to his Kingdom.

Finishing strong requires listening. This means we have to slow down and create the space in our mind and heart to listen to Him through his word and through prayer. King David says “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

Finishing strong requires reflection; which means giving serious thought or consideration. Here’s how I like to reflect. In my quiet time with the Lord, I ask Him:

“Am I listening to and trusting in You, Lord?”

“Am I waiting on your timing?”

“Am I believing You are good?”

“Am I believing You are enough?”

If I’m honest, reflecting leads to repentance as I confess my unbelief. I have to turn and walk in new obedience.

This year, I have asked myself specific and practical questions, like:

“Who are the people I need to thank today for caring deeply for my kids this school year?”

“What have I learned about God through my discipleship study and devotional times this year?”

“What conversations do I need to have to encourage/equip those whom I’m leading?”

“Where do I want to grow?”

As I take time to listen to the Lord and reflect on the year, I am reassured that the Lord is in every part of my life and the work I’m doing. I am reminded that the peace and love of Christ are mine today. He has great plans for his children that will not fail. When I remember this, instead of telling myself to finish strong, I can say, “Lord, help me finish strong. My hope is in You. To You be the glory.”

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