Growing up in the suburbs of Lagos, my mum had a shop – not as big as a supermarket but big enough to cater for the house and provide for normal expenses associated with kids. There was a culture I grew up to learn from my mum and that culture is STOCK TAKING.
I resolve for 1920 to sit down all by myself and take a personal stock-taking once a month. To be no more charitable in viewing my own faults than I am at viewing the faults of others. To face the facts candidly and courageously. To address myself carefully, prayerfully, to remedying effects. – B. C. Forbes
After the noisy crossover nights, infested with loud firecrackers and “Happy New Year” shouts, my mum took to the solace of the quietening environment to look back at her shop and make preparations for the New Year. She would take me and any other member of the house and we would assist her in taking stock in her shop. She needed “actuals” and not mere assumptions, generalizations nor sight deceptions.
Galatians 6:3-5 – For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load.
It was a very serious exercise for her because it gave her the opportunity to know how much goods she had and which of these goods will expire in the next 365 days and the actions thereof to eliminate them. We had our pens and papers and we divided the shop into various sections. Expired goods were disposed. Those that had 30-60 days validity period were marked out for immediate consumption while records were kept and made reference to.
As Christians, it is expected that we take time out to examine our lives and deeds with the objective of running The Race lighter, earnestly contending for The Faith, achieving the divine goal and making improvements where needed. This is usually achieved if we look at our lives into three phases: Past, Present and Future.
II Corinthians 13:5 – Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Without the past there will be no lesson learnt. Within the walls of the higher institution, the availability of my result after every session was a catalyst to taking stock of my academic life. Every present result emanated from actions in the past. These past actions have to be closely dissected to draw out lessons learnt in order to make appropriate improvements for the present and the future. If we must change, we must first recognize what is wrong. It requires deep and fearless personal searches without meandering away from the “dark spots”. This inventory has to be done accurately else the result will be skewed wrongly.
Lamentations 3:40 – Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
We are in the month of December and it sends different signals to different people. To many, it is the end of the year and a period to round off plans for the year. To others, it is just another month with nothing special other than what we decide to make of it. Make December a month for you to take stock of your life so that the New Year will kick-start on a positive note.
Press the pause button and take stock of your life. Are you on the downslide or on the rise? Take an inventory of your relationship with God, relationship with man, academic pursuit, personal goals, collective goals, family etc. No one knows you better than yourself. Put it down in black and white. It is one of those vital steps to excelling in the nearest future.
What next after taking stock? We would talk about that in the next post. For now, just take stock. Pray for the courage to take an honest assessment of your life.