Have you reviewed 2015? You might have had a challenging year, and you want to turn the page towards 2016. You might have deemed this past year as one of the best. Most of us probably would label this year somewhere in the middle.

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I took time to review 2015. Taking time to reflect on the past helps us identify themes. We can begin to see patterns within our relationships, work, goals, and attitudes. As I looked back, I saw points where God was at work in me. Through certain situations and relationships, He brought me to areas where I needed to grow.

Here’s my review from 2015:

1. Humility.

Robyn and I practice choosing a word for the year. I chose humility. It came out of the realization of some pride in my life. This characteristic moves us from seeing ourselves and on to seeing God at work and noticing other people. I can tend to see through my own view. Humility challenged me to have another’s perspective. We can start by asking, “God, what you are doing in me? What are you doing in others?”

Humility is not just thinking of yourself less, but recognizing God and people. It’s the realization that we don’t have all the answers. Along the way, we experience grace from God because we find we need it.

2. Power Down the Defenses.

I saw a little the ugliness of my need to be right in 2015. You can be right for all the wrong reason. You can even win an argument but lose the relationship. Powering up our defenses causes us to miss out. We miss the opportunity to understand and the chance to hear feedback. Along the way, I found some things aren’t worth fighting.

Not every piece of criticism is a personal attack. Releasing our need to defend ourselves frees us. The Gospel moves us from seeing our value from people pleasing or rightness. We can begin to see our value coming from Jesus Christ in us.

3. Consistency and Faithfulness Matters.

Never underestimate the power of showing up. I found out this year over and over, how much it mattered for people when you show. It’s not just about saying, but following through. On top of that, people feel supported when you stay longer and help clean up. Every time take the opportunity to be consistent, we build trust in the people around us.

4. Hold the Jokes.

A few friends and my wife invited me not to use self-deprecating humor. Joking about yourself can become a defense mechanism. If I put myself down first, then others can’t do it. Perhaps at times, we try to connect with people with our flaws, yet it comes across awkwardly. Rather than pointing to ourselves, we can open the conversation for others. Instead of humoring ourselves, we can have a better discussion about growing.

You may want to take time to reflect on 2015. Consider the lessons you learned and where you have grown. Perhaps in reflection of the last year, you’ll find where you can grow for the next year.

What would you review from 2015? Share in the comment section below.

Photo by Joshua Jackson.