My wife and I took a few days off last week and visited the Amana Colonies, the historic German settlement in Iowa. It was a nice break to leave the laptops behind and see unique things that we hadn’t seen before.
And then we wandered into one of the shops and I spotted a sign by the front door…
“You’re Halfway Through the Year”
Right. It kinda stopped me in my tracks. In fact, when the shopkeeper greeted us and asked how we’re doing, I replied, “Great until I noticed your reminder there!”
When I saw this shop’s greeting, it caught me off guard because we’ve been in a season of waiting for quite a long time. We should have been at our next ministry assignment 14 months ago (by our own calculation). Plus, we’ve been waiting on new residence visas for a little over 7 months.
So yeah, I was taken aback for a moment at the realization that this year is halfway gone!
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Need a Mid Year Checkup?
Maybe you’ve had an awesome year. Or maybe everything that could go wrong has done just that. Or has it been something in between those 2 extremes for you?
Whatever the case, a personal mid year review is never a bad thing. In fact, these principles can be applied as often as quarterly, but at least once every 6 months will serve you in becoming a lean, mean, effective and growing machine.
Besides, reflection is a healthy practice. It’s far too easy to just drift through the weeks and the months and wonder where the time went. And however frequently you decide to do a personal mid year review, it’s a great time to make adjustments to your goals.
3 Things to Look at in Your Personal Mid Year Review
A word of caution: resist 2 temptations if you do apply this or any other mid year review, alright? First, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and second, don’t beat yourself up. A personal quarterly or mid year review is simply a gauge to determine where you’re personally at, and where you desire to focus and grow.
Also remember this particular mid year review is to help you focus on your spiritual health and to become more like Jesus, not to get you promoted at work. That’s an entirely different review!
1. What has been your 3 greatest successes in the last 6 months in your spiritual life? Big or small, it doesn’t matter. List them out.
2. How satisfied are you with your prayer life? Are you spending more or less time in prayer than before? Is there anything you need to do to increase your time spent with the Lord in prayer?
3. Are you spending quality time in the word? Not necessarily more time, or a specific amount of time. Is your Bible reading more or less consistent and fruitful than it was 6 months ago? Are you following a Bible reading plan this year? What steps do you need to take to increase the quality of the time you’re spending in your Bible for the next 6 months?
1. What goals did you set last New Year? Are they still relevant? It’s ok to refine your goals to keep them updated.
By the way, how are you tracking them? I’ve found that keeping a spreadsheet with my goals and tracking my results each week and month is extremely helpful.
2. Reading books is an extremely healthy practice and completely belongs in your personal reviews. It strengthens your imagination, increases knowledge, and could actually boost your mental functions. I recently learned from Andrew at He Inspired Me that,
“the average American spends 19 minutes per day reading while the average 15-19 year old spends only 4.2 minutes per day reading.”
Are you spending any time reading for leisure or for learning? If your answer is no, set a goal to spend a certain amount of time doing that. Even better, read 3 to 4 books in the next 6 months. That’s totally achievable and way more rewarding than spending hundreds of hours in front of the television or on your phone.
Here’s a few books I’ve reviewed!
1. What new relationships have you developed since your last mid year review? Which of your existing relationships are you going to focus on for the next 6 months? Are there any relationships that you’ve neglected, or how about any that you need to sever?
2. How are you impacting the people that God has brought into your life this year? Is there a person you can and should be praying for regularly, or spending more time with?
Discipleship is an amazing process when it’s happening naturally, and aside from a prescribed discipleship program, many times you won’t realize you’ve been discipling someone or that you have been discipled until you’re well into a meaningful relationship.
In Making Disciples One Conversation at a Time, D. Michael Henderson talks about discipleship as modeled by Jesus as “intimate, personal conversations on a friend-to-friend basis.” I much prefer that Biblical model over programs, proselytizing, and public proclamations.
You can find Making Disciples One Conversation at a Time at ChristianBook.com:
3. Are you in relationship with the people in your church? Small groups, home groups, life groups, Bible study groups, or whatever you want to call them, are critical. This is where “real church” happens. One of my mentor pastors once said,
“If you have to choose between being at church Sunday morning or being in a life group, choose the life group.”
No, he was not giving a free pass to skip church for playtime, but you get the point of how important deeper relationships with other Christians are.
If you are involved with a small group, how are you growing in relationship with your peers? If you’re not in a small group, may I suggest that you start visiting some within your church? Set a goal to visit them and don’t settle on one until you’ve visited at least 3.
The Next 6 Months
Now that you’ve got some things to think about and hopefully some notes to go back and read, it’s time to look forward.
Your next step is to set a date on your next quarterly or mid year review. Schedule it on your calendar and show up to that appointment! Then, identify just one thing from spiritual, personal, and relational that you’ll really focus on.
So, How Is Your Year Going?
After I saw that halfway through the year sign during our outing, I naturally followed a few mental rabbit trails. I ended up in a spot thinking about you, my reader. I want to know,
How is your year going?
What have been your biggest struggles, trials, and your victories? How has God led you and met you along this year’s path? Has He met you, or do you feel like you’re in the wilderness? What have been your disappointments and your celebrations?