Links Daily Devotional

Refection: A Time for Growth

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35, ESV)

At Vanderbilt, we commonly have our team journal at the end of the day.

While we may not always understand what Jesus is teaching us, we can trust that the Great Teacher will not waste any teachable moments!When we first started having them journal it would be after practice, a round or a tournament. We would have them write what went well, what they wanted to be better at, and how they planned to work on improving in those areas. While we thought this was a wise practice because studies and research show that reflection aids learning and performance, it was suggested to us to take it one step further.

Now when the team arrives for practice, we are working to implement journaling at the start by asking them to write down their intentions for practice. In the words of our men’s head coach, we want to “get our minds right.” In getting our minds right, we believe we can maximize our productivity. Additionally, by taking the time to reflect at the end of practice or competition helps players take ownership of their games and reminds them what kind of golfers they are and would like to be.

The reason we emphasize writing down intentions and reflections is to have players accumulate a memory book that we can look back on and draw from when they face difficult stretches—days, months, years! It is also good when we are celebrating accomplishments to see that there were times when it wasn’t always as easy. We can chart our growth through intentionality and reflection.

Forgetfulness is quite the common human trait and even the best players in the world need to be reminded of the basic fundamentals: posture, grip, alignment, takeaway. By taking time to selah—a word from Psalms meaning to pause, reflect or praise—we create space to remember God’s greatness and who we are as new creations in Christ.

As believers, it is wise to take the time to be intentional and reflective about our time with the Lord and what he is teaching us. Excellent teachers waste no moments. While we may not always understand what Jesus is teaching us, we can trust that the Great Teacher will not waste any teachable moments!

As simple a concept as it may seem to verbalize or internally set clear intentions of preparing our hearts and minds for the Lord, it does take effort! In the Gospels, we see several episodes where Jesus withdraws and spends time alone in prayer. My encouragement for you today and each day is to:

– Take the time to prioritize the desires of your heart
– Pray and/or write them down
– Spend time in the Word
– Be mindful to reflect on what God is teaching you—about him, yourself and others

Selah, dear brothers and sisters.

Aimee Neff
September 22, 2016
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