What’s On Your Plate?
What’s On Your Plate?
We do something unique at the end of every year. We call it doing our “plates”. This tradition has been a part of our life since 2000, and is now vigorously anticipated by our adult children. In fact, the discussion about the end of the year always has the question, “When are we doing our plates?”
As parents of adults and one grandboy we’re thrilled to see an activity we began when our children were 11 and 15 still being embraced and now passed along to the next generation.
What is a plate? And how do you “do” one?
It’s not as mysterious as you’d imagine. In fact, it’s pretty ordinary when you’re a family that has little artistic talent.
Robert began the activity. It was his idea, which surprised all of us because he’s not known to be particularly artsy. In 2000 he brought some markers and paper plates to our Christmas Eve celebration and suggested we look back at our year and draw a representation of what that year held. This was important, as it was the first year we had spent away from our extended family. It was a year of new experiences – both good and challenging.
And so a tradition was born.
We now have a collection of 17 years’ worth of “plates”. We’ve detailed this exercise in reflection on EncourageYourSpouse.com. See the pictures of our collection of plates!
Each year, before we complete our new “plate”, we look back at all the other years. It’s a time of exclamations over past experiences and blessings. Through what is recorded on those plates we view our children’s passage from teens to adulthood, and all our life and leadership learning and experiences. (Yes, Lead Like Jesus is recorded on a few of those plates!)
Reflecting on what God has done for and with you
When you come to the end of a calendar year, do you spend time reflecting? Or maybe the end of a year isn’t when you reflect – perhaps it’s on your birthday, anniversary, or other important milestone.
What questions do you ask yourself when you’re reflecting?
On Instagram we follow the Lead Like Jesus posts. Many of the photos shared on Instagram have a question or statement that would make great reflection questions, including:
- To whom do you look for accountability, clarification and support? This question for reflection can hone in on those who influence you.
- Many people give advice while others are sources of wisdom. How can you tell one from the other? From where are you gathering your wisdom?
- Seasons of influence – of those God brings across your path, whom are you building into? Are you leading even when position isn’t a part of the equation?
- What leadership roles has God given you? And if you do have a leadership role, how is that working for you?
- “Make time for what matters.” How are you making time for what matters?
Take a look at Lead Like Jesus posts on Instagram to see other ideas on which to reflect. (You don’t need an account to view the posts! Start by clicking on the questions above.)
Finish the year well
Taking time to reflect is important. It allows all of us to be thankful (or grateful) for everything God is doing in us, for us, and through us. We can see how God loves us – regardless. And how He forgives us.
We can also be reminded, especially at the end of a calendar year, that God fulfills His promises. He promised a Savior. Jesus. And Jesus promised that He would return.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:3
As we wait on that promise, take time to reflect on the impact Jesus has already made, all around us!