I have to be honest. I have stayed up late on many a New Year’s Eve and joined in with the crowd in singing Auld Lang Syne as the clock struck midnight, but only recently have I learned its background and meaning.
Auld Lang Syne was written first as a poem by a Scottish poet named Robert Burns. The poem commemorates how he and some of his friends would gather at a pub each year to see the old year out and the birth of a new year. Look carefully at the lyrics.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
Auld Lang Syne means = “For days in the Past.” The poem was written as a reminder of two great questions.
- What should be remembered?
- What should be left behind?
Two great questions that all of us need to stop and ponder and I would argue that we need to ponder these questions more frequently than just at the beginning of a new year. Life doesn’t slow down for anyone. If you allow it, life will heap it’s array of experiences, both good and bad, upon you without giving you the time needed to process any one of them individually. Before long, you are left feeling overwhelmed. After a while, you may even realize that life has taken you completely off the path you thought you were on.
Here is the hard truth.Tweet
You are the only authority in your life who can take your foot off of the accelerator and pull away from life’s fast-paced highway for a few minutes to periodically evaluate, refresh and refocus.
As I write this blog, our world is coming out of two very difficult years. We have gotten up every day and been invaded by the barrage of information of political turmoil, the fear of the coronavirus, division over the vaccine, riots, injustices, food shortages and the like. All of this in addition to the daily struggles that are the norm with life. So how are you going to keep your sanity and continue to move forward? You must learn to take a pause and ask yourself some vital reflective questions.
If you need some help in this area, here are some questions I recently developed and shared with our congregation at Connection Point Church.
Personal evaluation questions:
- How is my relationship with God?
- Do I understand my God-given purpose?
- What steps do I need to take to grow closer to God and fulfill my purpose?
- How are my relationships?
- with my spouse/date? …my family? …my friends?
- How is my mind?
- …my thought life?….my attitude?…my creativity?
- How am I managing my time?
- …my schedule?…my time with digital devices?
- How am I managing my finances?
- How is my health?
- How is my diet?
- Am I getting enough exercise?
- Am I getting enough rest?
This discipline actually falls into alignment with how Jesus Himself has taught us by His own example.
In Mark chapter 1, Jesus was in the house of Simon Peter. The people of Capernaum had learned where he was and brought out all their sick and demon-possessed and stood in the doorway waiting for Jesus to come to their aid. He spent the day healing and ministering to everyone present. The next morning, the crowds gathered again at the house, but Jesus was nowhere to be found. Finally, the disciples found Him alone, in a deserted place, praying.
When they found him, they immediately went to the urgent demands of the moment. “Everyone is looking for you,” they said. I love Jesus’ response. He doesn’t even acknowledge the frantic, heavy weight of their question. He directly says, “Let’s go to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come” (Mark 1: 37-38).
How did Jesus know it was time to leave? Another great question is, why didn’t the disciples recognize it?
The disciples were caught up with the urgent. All they saw was that there was a yard full of people with needs. Did God care? Absolutely. Jesus cared enough that He knew He had to take time away from the urgent and get alone with His Father in order to stay focused on the real need of the people, their eternal salvation. The real purpose of His coming was to heal the physical, but the spiritual. He came to preach the Good News of the Kingdom and give His life so that those who follow Him may receive grace and eternal life.
God is not done with you, nor His church. With our fast-paced life, it is imperative that we learn to pull away from the chaos and pause in the presence of our Heavenly Father. It is there we must ask those important reflective questions so we can stay on course with His plan and purpose.
Through the Prophet Jeremiah God said,
“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29: 11-13 (CSB).