I have been focusing on creating good habits lately, even before the new year started, and one of those habits I am very grateful I started building is to journal my morning devotions. I get up before anyone else in the morning (despite the fact I am not a morning person at all). I read – currently Matthew Henry’s Commentary with scripture included – and write down what stood out to me and what is relevent to me in particular that day. I also write my prayer in response to what I have learned. In doing this, and using my focus word for the year, I was inspired to add another new habit.
Now, I don’t know if this is a thing, if it’s called reflection journaling anywhere else, but this is what I came up with. Every evening I reflect back on the day and ask myself 5 questions about the choices I made that day. I am looking to be able to see where I need to grow, how I can do that, and also have a record of progress for those days that I just feel like nothing I do matters or that I will never get better at (whatever). Here’s the back story – how I came up with this idea and why.
I am still in the very beginning of Genesis in Matthew Henry’s Commentary. On January 1, fittingly, I was at the very end of Chapter 1
, Matthew Henry focused on just the last verse.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 ESV
Matthew Henry talks about how God sat back and took time to survey his work, He reflected upon what He had done, and declared it very good. Here is what he (Mr. Henry) points out about that fact (emphasis is mine).
God has hereby set us an example of reviewing our works. Having given us a power of reflection, he expects we should use that power, see our way (Jer. 2:23), and think of it, (Ps. 119:59). When we have finished a day’s work, and are entering upon the rest of the night, we should commune with our own hearts about what we have been doing that day; so likewise when we have finished a week’s work, and are entering upon the sabbath-rest, we should thus prepare to meet our God; and when we are finishing our life’s work, and are entering upon our rest in the grave, that is a time to bring to remembrance, that we may die repenting, and so take leave of it.
(see all of chapter 1 commentary here)
God himself took the time to stop and reflect, and Matthew Henry made note that his work met 5 specific criteria. These criteria are the basis of knowing that your work is “good”. They define good by God’s standards; after all, it is How he described His own work.
God Declared that His work was “agreeable to the Creator, exactly as planned, fit for it’s designed purpose, serviceable to man, and all for God’s glory”. I simply take these criteria and turn them into questions I ask about each choice I have made during the day. I focus on overall choices, like “how I conducted myself at work” or “how I interacted with my family”, unless there is something specific that is prominent in my mind for that day, whether its because it went exeptionally well or exceptionally bad.
1. Was this choice agreeable to my Creator?
2. Was this choice according to God’s plan?
3. Was this choice fit for God’s purpose for me?
4. Did this choice serve others well?
5. Did this choice bring glory to God?
I take time each night ( or to be completely honest, I am trying to, I still miss a night or two ) to think back on my day, write down each choice and answer all 5 questions individually
. I find it important to remember to take time to think each question through thoroughly before answering. I don’t want this to turn into just rote answers – all yes or all no. I sometimes answer with “somewhat”. I then write down anything that I feel I really need improvement on, even if they are all yes, and anything special that encourages me in my progress, some accomplishment that builds me up.
I am determined this year to be very intentional about my growth. My husband quotes his Gan often, she would tell him “If you don’t learn something new every day, you aren’t paying attention.” I want to learn something new every day, about myself and where I can improve or how I have progressed, about my family and how I can serve them better, about my ministry and business and what God has purposed it for – where He wants to take it.
This new habit is already showing itself to be a great way to flesh this out. How is your new year going so far? Are you focusing on your Word, or staying commited to your goals? What new habit can you use to help in these areas?
I have a small community of women helping each other stay accountable to meet their goals, come join us! Don’t know what your goals should be? We can help! Not sure what steps to take to get where you want to be? Let’s figure it out together!
Don’t forget to grab your printable reflection questions! They are already making a huge difference in my life and my family, and I pray they will help you as well.