AN INTENTIONAL LOOK BACK ON 2016 BY PASTOR TRACY DAUGHERTY
“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”
As I close out 2016, I want to share a simple yet tried and true tip with The Daughters of TFH. This simple ritual started unintentionally but has become a very intentional habit and discipline I have put into practice for the last 20 years. I pray that it will help you wrap up 2016 with closure and intention.
Nearing the close of every year, customarily in the later parts of November, I start making an inventory of areas that need attention in order to help me finish the year well. Sounds serious, but our household is very organic—non-glamorous and pretty unstructured. This year, the conversation started with a long walk with Pastor Honey the day after Thanksgiving while in Palm Springs. I typically focus on two simple questions (just two so it’s not overwhelming but doable).
Here are the questions I ask:
- Do I owe anything but love? This question is taken from the Biblical text found in Romans 13:8.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NIV)
Typically, I ask myself that question in a prayerful posture and the Holy Spirit will quickly reveal areas that need some shoring up. Often my husband and I will compare notes, discuss and process what we are sensing is an “unpaid debt.” Checking in with a loved one helps prevent unnecessary guilt over the should-have-done parts of the year and helps bring clarity as well as accountability to any actual “debt” owed. I encourage you to involve a loved one or a friend to help provide outside perspective and reveal any blind spots.
This year we came into agreement rather quickly, jotting down a short list with a simple plan to take care of each item by the year’s end. If you are like me, it’s helpful to have practical examples. Here are a few from my list this year:
- An unpaid debt to Hudson’s tutor. I had run out of checks and simply forgot to follow up.
- An unpaid debt to my son Dawson who has patiently slept on a mattress on the floor for six months waiting for the promise of his new bed frame. Perhaps that debt was easily unpaid because of my son’s easygoing nature. Nevertheless, a plan was made to weather the crowds of the dreaded IKEA store to clear out the debt I owed.
- A debt to a friend and her daughter on a well-intended invitation of time still not redeemed.
- Unpaid debts to my immediate family. I find these go easily unpaid because I am secure in my love with them. Consequently, they don’t appear as loud or as pressing. This year, unpaid debts meant small things like finally buying an ink cartridge for my kid’s computer after months and months of excuses. It meant finally choosing to not ignore the picture frames at the top of the stairs waiting to express the tangible love of family through displays of my daughter’s beautiful wedding in May.
All of these things may seem like small and even insignificant debts, however, left unpaid and brought into a new year would weigh me down in my journey. I think it is prudent to travel light. I love the old Irish saying:
“Don’t look back unless you can smile; don’t look ahead unless you can dream.”
Clearing up clutter and paying debts provide me clarity and opportunity to walk into the New Year ready to dream. The second and most significant question is this:
- Am I at peace with everyone?
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)
IF POSSIBLE—that is the challenge. Unfinished relational business is a big deal! I highly encourage you to think and pray through this piece. Is there a conversation that you need to have? A phone call that needs to be made? Encouragement that needs to be given? Someone you need to forgive or something you need to ask forgiveness from?
This year, my list had a few of each of these. It required effort on my part, such as setting up meetings and having uncomfortable conversations that might have been easily misunderstood. Such acts required me to speak the truth, clarify my intentions and share from my heart. In one case, it required an apology for words I had spoken. Ladies, if we are looking for more freedom in this next year, obeying this verse is imperative. However, one thing to note in verse 18 is this: “as far as it depends on you.” This requires an honest assessment with yourself and God. There are times that a conversation or a resolution cannot be had because someone has passed away, moved away or for whatever reason is not accessible or willing. If that is the case, it will require a more creative peacemaking resolution. There have been situations through the years that I have had private ceremonies, activities and even pilgrimages that have helped me release situations or people. In participating in these kinds of endeavors, the unresolved is left in the lap of the One who can and will resolve all things. This release of power can be challenging and faith-stretching. However, it is as equally rewarding when you walk into the New Year free and unchained from burdens and bitterness, which can weigh down the soul. There is a saying that says this:
“Don’t look back you’re not going that way.”
Remember, these simple and humble efforts will keep you moving forward into the bright tomorrows God has for you. My encouragement for you this week is to take the time and ask yourself these two questions:
- Do I owe any debt except to love? Pay it, clear it up and wrap it up.
- As far as it depends on me, am I at peace with all men? Make the effort, do the awkward, be the humble and make the peace.
I love you fellow daughters and I am committed to walk out my tomorrows alongside each of you so we may all share greater freedom and greater joy in the New Year! Hip-hip hooray for 2017! New start, New day, New beginnings and New mercy for a New year.
That’s a wrap, 2016!
– Pastor Tracy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Native to Southern California, Pastor Tracy Daugherty heard the Lord call her to full-time ministry at age 15. She and her husband, Pastor Dan Daugherty, met in 1991 and have partnered in ministry for over 20 years. Together, they have pastored in Olympia, Washington and Fairfield, California. They now shepherd The Father’s House Church which they planted in 2003 in San Marcos, California. Their family includes their daughter Drew and husband Ryan, their son Dawson and their son Hudson.