Most of us will agree that we see and understand things in hindsight much better than we do into the future or even the present. While it is not healthy to live entirely in the past, contemplating events that have occurred and our reaction to them can help greatly as we move forward trying to become more like Jesus. This time of the year is perfect for an intentional look back over 2019. While New Year’s Resolutions are popular and may be useful to an extent, they are most often generated out of societal or cultural influences rather than spiritual ones. I’m going to suggest that we all apply a Prayer of Examen to our self-improvement process this year. The Prayer of Examen is a spiritual practice used by St. Ignatius Loyola and many other Christians as part of their daily walk with God. The time period “examen”ed is often one day, but any time period works. Before I lose you, let me stress that this process can be as formal or informal as you like. Journal or not – your choice. This is an exercise WITH God, so the first thing we need to do is take a moment to acknowledge God’s presence with us. We know in our heads that God is always present, but we often aren’t really present with God heart to heart. Enjoy that connection for as long as you want and bring it with you into the process. Second, think over the events of the past year with gratitude. Obviously, our lives aren’t always rainbows and roses, so try to be grateful for even the difficulties that you experienced in 2019, especially if you have already realized the associated blessings. Let God bring things to your mind that need to be acknowledged. This isn’t about guilt – it is about AWARENESS. Everyone makes less than stellar choices or handles difficult situations badly sometimes. Often, we don’t even realize when our actions have been damaging to others or the world around us. As you become aware, converse with God about how those situations could have been more Christlike. Be prepared for God to point out gifts that you may not have been aware of as well. Lastly, accept God’s grace and look forward to 2020 with new perspective and intention. Christ’s mission is OUR mission! May we continually improve our ability to see our world through God’s eyes.