Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rückblick - Looking back

As an intern in our church, I have the privilege of taking part in the elders' meetings. These are very special to me, and I really enjoying meeting with the church leaders. One of the things we do together is take a look back at the previous church functions and events since we last met. This is by no means out of the ordinary, but I appreciate these times to look back and celebrate what God has done in our church, to offer constructive criticisms about what could have been done better and to look forward to the next time we will do this event. I think we don't do these sorts of "after action reports" or reflective times enough.

When I was working at my last job, I had a wonderful boss. She used a weekly meeting form she had stolen from someone else and at the top of the form, you wrote what you accomplished in the previous week. Not what you hoped to do, not what was on your schedule, or what you weren't able to accomplish, but what actually happened. What were the uninvited distractions that stole half your day, but were still important fires to put out? What small tasks did you accomplish as a piece of a larger project, that still isn't finished but has inched ever so little towards the finish line? Write what happened.

It was amazing how difficult this task often was. Sitting and thinking back to the last week, or even yesterday, and asking the question, "what did I fill my day with, anyway?" Often this list ended up being really long. And in that case, it was often really clear why nothing happened on important project X that has been on your desk for three months and still is not finished.

Sometimes in life we are so focused on making it through a season, we forget to reflect on what we actually did to survive. We forget what tools we used to healthily navigate a challenging road or who God used to lift us up when were were feeling totally crushed and alone.

I think it is often important to look back and ask the question, "how did that go?" because the next questions come pretty quickly. "What went really well?" and "what can we improve on next time?" flow out of that. We so easily forget what God has done, and instead we should remember to celebrate them!