Self Evaluation: End of the year reflection.

The anticipation for 2020 was humongous, magnanimous and extremely high. Since I was a child in Primary/grade school, I had always heard of Vision2020. Quick maths with my age gave me a result that I would be an adult by then so I was swift to join in the anticipation. In this part of the world, the last few hours of the passing year and the first few hours of the New Year are spent in the sanctuary of the Almighty. You are considered almost heathen if found at home during such auspicious hours as everyone believing and non-believing but with the tag “Christian” is found at the nearest gathering of saints. That being said, the year newly entered allows a few days of brief merriment and speeds off to prophetic prayers and many days of fasting; Children of God emanate from these righteous period feeling fortified to face the rest of the year. 2020 happened just that way.

Prayers were offered, devotionals sold out, journals started, resolutions penned down, promises made, vows taken, covenants enacted, seeds sown, we all believed that we were ready. Having fortified ourselves in the presence of the consuming fire we all felt invincible. By March we all became somewhat unsure. June came along and many had fallen away. Mid August period saw many hanging by a thread and when we welcomed October, anxiety had crept into the hearts of many─ many who would later sink into emotional trauma if unwatched. This is December and glancing through our resolution journals, diaries and cross checking our records, a lot of us are convinced that this year was not our year. To sound modest and falsely hopeful we would go on to say with a hint of sarcasm “at least I did not die” yet we wish things were better. Those of us who know the Lord on a deeper level say our thanks during prayers like a ritual we are starting to get bored of, “God I spent literally the entire year in my house, what do I have to be thankful for”.

As a perfectly imperfect person, I can relate. These thoughts cross my mind but the Holy Spirit found a way to make me appreciative by recalling my past experiences and placing them side by side with this year. The difference was crystal clear. In a bid to be ambitious and achieving, I neglected the tender mercies of God and even when I offered thanks, they came from a part of me sounding like the kid with a pulled tooth thanking the doctor for the candy that tastes sour in his mouth. The child is hurt but tries to patronize the doctor by saying thank you and hangs on to the hope that his tooth feels quickly better. The realization that this is what my attitude towards God looked like, made me sad which is why this blog post will be centered on Self Evaluation.

Indeed, Self Evaluation starts with gratitude.

For everything you will read here, be rest assured that I have either did a test run, I am currently practicing them or I have set a system in place to help me walk according to them. God will not allow me to be the teach-and-don’t practice person but honestly, Self Evaluation is necessary.

In Eastern Nigeria, there is a proverb which literally translates to “when you finish running, you should count the miles- agbacha oso, aguo mile simply put that when you run, failure to check your progress (how far you ran) does not give you a healthy boost for the next race. As an in-progress repentant over-thinker and slight commitment phobic fellow, what I assumed as planning, self evaluation and record keeping was simply worrying, worrying and more worrying.

There was no standard scale of measurement for the different spheres of my life, no feasible plans, the grading system employed self pity instead of truth, solutions were not scripturally backed up and I had no systems in place to guarantee progress ahead. If you search deep into the reins of your heart, this might also be you. You list out a bullet point of unrealistic goals and skip character assessment then post on Instagram about how the year will be dedicated to the servitude of the master. Relax dear, I was like you till the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart and I listened to a life changing sermon on personal retreat which will be made available for reference at the end of this post.

It is a known fact that most people believe the Holy Spirit’s power ends in tongues, prophesy and a few other things; not many have in-depth knowledge on the full workings of the Spirit and that’s okay. However, if we seek growth, we must be ready to open ourselves up to understanding and be recipient to the word of God. In the secret place, the Holy Spirit as our senior partner is actually the one who can tell you things about yourself that you don’t even know. Based on the level of access you have given him, he has information that can assist you to come to a place of balance, honesty, truth and thankfully, progress. All we have to do is ask and keep our hearts open.

Self evaluation needs honesty the most. I will stress on this because even when we see ourselves in real life, there is a compulsion to offer compliments genuine or false. There is the need to sprinkle exaggeration in our stories, mix our tales with half truths, withhold complete information where necessary or unrequited, supply the truth on matters favorable to us, in order words we all believe that we tell the truth but in reality most of us a subtle liars who believe the truth is in us since the lies we tell are seeming not the kind that hurts.

If you are going to evaluate yourself accurately with a precise mark and make the best out of the exercise, you need to put aside any form of dishonesty or double standards. Lie to others, well that’s sad; lie to yourself? Truly pathetic. It would simply mean you have no intentions of moving forward.

Your honesty will help you do everything calmly, receive the chastening of the lord with gladness (Hebrew 12:11 ‘Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it’) and it will humble you enough to correct your wrongs

A friend told me that 2020 feels like a very long comedy skit. I agree but then again a careful diagnosis of grief in the hearts of millions all over the world tells me otherwise.

In my whole life there has never been a scarier year than this one. The amazing part is, God worked over time, above and beyond to cushion the pain and make the year worthwhile.

So many of us plan, make resolutions and write down a bunch of things we never get to do which is understandable but hopefully as you read through the rest of this post, I pray you will be able to garner some knowledge that could help you maximize these few days to plan out the new year.

For the weapon of our warfare isn't carnal but mighty even to the pulling down of strong holds (paraphrased but taken from 2 Corinthians 10:4). No soldier is on the battle ground forever. There is a time no matter how little, to retreat, fall back, resuscitate ailing places, and recuperate from battle scars ─ a time to strategize. As Soldiers of the Cross we are in a constant battle with this world. Scripture tells us we are in the world but not of the world. In order for us to excel in a world not ours yet in constant battle against us, we must evaluate ourselves to be sure all is well.

A retreat is the first step; this a time of aloneness with God where you refrain from frivolous activities, shut out any noise or distraction and seek the face of God solemnly. It is in this retreat process that you are able to consider carefully the various areas of your life and grade them as the spirit leads.

Your walk with God: the year 2020 had many Christians on the edge of their faith walk. With the business collapses, loss of loved ones, ailments and hardships unique to each believer, it was hard to keep up. Beyond writing down how to pray 100 times a day, you should reflect on how your walk with God was because grace is available for more exploits.

1. Did you give your time to God?

2. What was your bible study pattern like?

3. Did you observe your quiet time regularly?

4. Did you take revelations seriously?

5. Did you preach the gospel?

6. How was your prayer life?

7. Did you give thanks often?

8. Did your love for the things of the Kingdom wax cold or stronger?

9. Are you at a better place with God this year than you were last year?

All these questions and more need to be answered truthfully. Based on your rating, you could identify reasons you performed well or poorly in certain areas and know how to keep up and places you could use extra help. If prayer was the problem, maybe joining a prayer watch that will make you pray at certain hours will help coupled with making an intentional decision to pray at certain hours of the day. If bible study was the problem, you could join study groups that will send passages of the bible you could read summarize and discuss. These things have a way of improving our Christian life.

Generally, every question even beyond the ones I slated here for use, will lead to a discovery that will improve your walk with God.

2. Your mindset: as Christians we are also agents of transformational change in the society. If all you did during the year including the lockdown period was pray, fast and read your bible, you did well sadly I believe you did not position yourself for societal relevance. Knowledge on things happening in the world, a positive mindset, and an impeccable understanding of values that can make the world a better place is necessary for you to achieve your divine purpose.

God expects you to have invested in your business, trade, academics, personal development, alongside your health. He expects that your views on all issues of life mature the Kingdom way and improve impressively to earn you the respect of all who come across you. While evaluating your year 2020, consider if your mindset has grown. If you believe pastors are out to eat your tithe, you need to do some work. If you don’t believe in healthy eating or once-in-a-while workouts, think again. If you still judge everyone because you think they are not on your level of Spirituality, search your heart and Gods word again.

Your educational discipline, your business, trade and the work of hands, did they get any improvement? Was there any refurbishing of your previously acquired skills? Did you invest your time and money to things that will generate blessings or you spent lavishly? What was your attitude towards things like politics, philanthropy, Gossip, Small talk, volunteering, human relations, social media and more?

Many questions have to be answered and I can only trust God to give you the grace to do better.

3. Your Finances: I talked a little on this in the previous point but I need to add some words. 2020 shut down businesses and lessened cash flow/money circulation. Wealth as we speak is now concentrated in the hands of a few but notwithstanding, what are your financial records like? Did you gain some level of financial stability?

Note that this is not intended to put pressure on anyone but to make you check out the lapses and find a way to strike a balance next year. If sickness ate up most of your funds then you need to save up for such emergencies while trusting that God heals you permanently and grants you and yours good health in the years ahead. Whatever the results are dear child of Light; don’t take it hard on yourself. Trust God to help you make it better next year.

For me these three points cover all the major areas of life. I do not know it all but I assure you that this is an amazing starting point.

Asides this post, I have added links to some resources that will aid you to successfully navigate your way through Self Evaluation: end of the year retreat.

Here are some resources that can help:

Maximizing personal retreat by Apostle Joshua Selman

The God lover’s beginner guide by Crystabel Nnamdi

Dear Child of Light,

Thank you so much for sticking with Lumiere de Dieu throughout the year. I started this blog in June and now there are over 20 subscribers and more 40 reads on some posts. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Next year by God’s grace, so many good things are coming; free eBooks, new resources, check-up emails, newsletters, music, wallpapers, blog posts on topical topics hehehe, new columns, competitions, giveaways and lots more. Not to mention collaborations with amazing Children of God and mighty things to make us better children of God.

Even if you felt like 2020 wasn’t your year, God saw you through it all and he has wonderful plans for you next year. Always remember that this is your safe space. Our email is always open so you can talk, send prayer requests, ask questions, help us get better through your suggestions or contributions, and honestly send love and light because the work of our dear Father isn’t always easy and a pat on the back is welcome with so much love.

Congratulations to you if you have read every post here. If you haven’t, you have till January 10th to catch up on all our amazing light posts from Daniel: The Revelation of Relevancy till Count your blessings. Jesus loves and adores more than you can imagine and over here, I love you too.

Happy New in advance and I pray the year ahead brings you joy and gladness.

Blessing, love and light,

Crystabel Nnamdi (Krystarbelle)

For Lumiere de Dieu

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