The Most Important End of the Year Focus

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As we wrap up another year, I have a question for you: how often did you spend time thinking about all that happened in 2021? I confess that in my busyness, I rarely rested and reflected on the state of my life. I haven’t stopped to think: what matters, where is my focus? Am I spending my time on meaningful things or investing in people the way I should?

Perhaps this final week of the year is a good time for this sort of reflection. Turn off Netflix, get quiet and spend a few moments thinking about what has transpired in your life and the life of friends and family.

The pundits are busy with their analysis of the year. They focus ons extrinsic goals pursued: more money, better job, real estate… things that give us praise and reward but don’t necessarily make us happier nor bring greater meaning to our life. Actually, the constant pursuit of those rewards can be linked to depression, anxiety and mental illness. So a different type of pursuit is needed–a pursuit of things meaningful and eternal.

The question to ponder as the new year is upon us is, “What really matters?” And, “Where should my focus be as I begin 2022?”

In the end, two things really matter.

The people in our lives. There is no substitute for those who do life with you day in and day out. Don’t take them for granted. Take the time to tell them how much they mean to you. Family, good friends…those you can depend on. Those who will be with you through the ups and downs of life. If there are problems in those relationships, work to reconcile. Agree to disagree but stay connected. Talk through conflict and work to live peacefully with others. Develop strong friendships and networks for much needed support, laughter and fun.

Our spiritual life. There is such an absence of spiritual references in media that one would think no one even has a spiritual life. Yet, this part of our lives is the most important. Therefore, we need to attend to it. COVID or not, we have to find ways to stay spiritually strong. This means making time for Bible reading, prayer, worship and service to others. This is the one thing that keeps us centered and grounded no matter what happens around us. Sadly, it is the one thing left out of most story lines, news events, movies and TV shows. Yet faith is what keeps us hopeful and resilient. A personal relationship with Jesus brings strength and conquers fear and anxiety. During uncertain times, we need a Rock.

To this point, a friend suddenly lost her husband a week ago. What mattered to her during this sorrowful time? The people who supported and comforted her and her strong Christian faith. Those two things got her through the loss and will continue to sustain her in the weeks to come. Without them, she would feel lost and depressed. But because of friends, family and faith, she can face tomorrow with hope and purpose.

So as you count down the days until the New Year, take a few moments to reflect on your life. Do you need to work on your relationships and/or your spiritual life? Is it time to strengthen one or both of these areas? Make a list of steps to think of a few action points. Begin the new year strong, focusing on things that matter.

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