The first days of January are always full of so much life, excitement, and motivation! It begins with bright colors of confetti, selfies with the ones we love, champagne bubbles, and the delicious salty and sweet foods in which we don’t typically indulge. All this jolts our senses and tells us we’re celebrating something big: a new year with new promise!
It’s a stereotypical time to examine our lives to see if we’re really where we want to be. We take a good long look at whether or not we like the direction we’re heading. We look at our weight, our closets, our workload, and the make and year of our car. We think of ways we can do better and achieve more. After all, when we look at the new year before us, it holds few limitations and glows of hope.
A Daily Examination of Your Life and Conscience
If you’re a person of faith, it’s an opportune time to ask yourself the hard question we should get in a routine of asking ourselves daily: “Today, did I become more of the person God is calling me to be?” “If so, what steps did I take to become that person?” “If not, what steps did I take today that harmed me, my relationships with others, and most importantly my relationship with God?”
Each year, each day, each second is a gift from God–a God who has given us a mission to build the Kingdom of God on earth. Our little and big actions play a part in this construction. When we seek to become more the person God calls us and designed us to be, we participate in the Kingdom of God and spread the Gospel.
Here are a few tips to help you with a daily examination of life and conscience:
Establish a comfy prayer space in your home where you can take time for silence in the evening before you go to bed. Be sure to have a side table where you can place a stack of notecards or recycled scrap paper, pens and pencils (and don’t forget a spot for your favorite bedtime drink).
Make the space beautiful and surround yourself with wholesome, inspiring, or sacred images.
Spend 5-10 minutes in silence. Pure silence.
After your time in silence, enter into a time of prayer, thanking God for the day and for His love and mercy, and asking Him to help you know the ways you succeeded and failed in love today.
On your paper, write out “Becoming Who God Is Calling Me to Be” at the top and then answer the following questions underneath:
Today, did I become more of the man or woman God is calling me to be? If yes, write out examples.
Today, what steps did I take to become more of the man or woman God is calling me to be?
Today, did I fail in any way in my pursuit to become the man or woman God is calling me to be?
Your answers will affect what you do tomorrow and how you approach the day. You will be more attentive to the ways you are living virtuously and the ways you are failing in love and not living up to the Christian life. Again, this is a great routine to get into! It will help you become more honest about your daily choices, successes, and failures with yourself, a friend, your accountability partner, or your spiritual director or mentor. By writing this down, you begin to acknowledge what actions both help and hinder you on your way to becoming the man or woman God has designed you to be.
If you open yourself up to honesty in this examination of life, you may notice things standing in the way of you thriving as the son or daughter God wants you to be. Maybe pornography or other sexual habits or addictions are holding you back from a life of service. You are made for more. If you didn’t know that, I hope this is your moment to know how special you are and how special the mission is you have been given. Take the opportunity of this new year to start examining your life and conscience, which will lead to a path of healing and a life of joy and freedom!