“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”
These words are found on the lips of one Terry Pratchett’s characters in his Discworld books. They’re a perceptive nudge to get us to keep checking our bearings. Where am I? Where have I been, and where am I headed? Know thyself. And it’s this sentiment that captures the thinking behind the ‘2022 Life Audit’.
The initial idea for a ‘stock-take’ came from an online article by Melissa Kruger, ‘New Year, New Beginnings: The Importance of Considering Our Ways’, which I read way back in January 2018. Melissa’s questions were really helpful and prompted me to create a personal ‘audit’ worksheet of my own, which we used as a church. When I shared a sample of it on Twitter, a few people asked for a copy for their own use, so a few years back I figured it may be worth investing a bit of time to ‘upgrade’ it and create the ‘2019 Life Audit’. Since then it’s had some tweaks and calibrating and this year a few people encouraged me to put something out for 2022.
I think the whole ‘New Year Resolutions’ tradition can often become an exhausting exercise that ends up burdening people with guilt, but there’s undoubtedly great value in using the natural marker of a new year to ‘take stock’. As I’ve written about before, I think it can be very easy to ‘reason your season’ – to excuse the ‘state of affairs’ in which we find ourselves. Instead, it’s helpful to consider where we find ourselves and the trajectory we’re on.
Of course, in all this we need to be very mindful that we’re in the midst of a pandemic that has been the context of our lives for the last couple of years. We will be weary, disorientated, and reeling from a collective trauma, the likes of which hasn’t been experienced by most in their lifetimes. Perhaps more so than normal, we need to give space to reflecting on the impact of this season of turbulence. And in our hoping and dreaming about the future, let us be kind to ourselves – as well as to our spouses, families, friends and colleagues.
So why not make some space in your diary over the new year period? Print out the downloadable booklet (19 pages – you can see a couple of them on this post). Find somewhere you’ll be undisturbed. Put your favourite music on and grab a pen. Just use what’s helpful in the time you have.
And let’s pray that as we reflect on our lives, we’d be more conscious of his grace, more dependent upon his Spirit, more committed to his people, and more willing to ‘abound in the work of the Lord’, knowing our labour in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Download the 2022 Life Audit pdf here: