What a year! From the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant to a global pandemic to a renewed movement for equality - it's been full! And 2020 is only halfway done!
While so much of this year has been negative & heavy, my goal is to look back & find the sunshine that has fostered growth in my life. And the sunshine that's lighting up the places where I need to grow. Because I know that God is always at work.
I love reading about the lessons other people are learning & goals they're setting, but I'm fairly new to this whole thing. I want to get better about evaluating my progress & setting new goals. So here goes my first attempt at this...
5 Lessons I'm Learning in 2020:
It's fun to learn new things, but some of these lessons aren't necessarily what I would call "fun." I am so thankful that God patiently teaches us more about Himself & more about ourselves.
- I know much less than I thought I did. I make a lot of assumptions. One assumption was that the Gospels were mostly for Sunday school lessons & Christmas & Easter. As I've read the Gospels recently, God has reminded me that the account of the life of Jesus is more than a flannel graph or a picture in a children's Bible. His sinless life, His earthly ministry, His miracles - all of it are crucial in seeing Him as the Messiah, the Son of God. Thank you, God, for opening my eyes!
- My family will not go hungry if I don't have a meticulously planned weekly menu. When this pandemic hit the US & the food supply was having trouble keeping up with the panic, I worried about getting the necessary supplies & food to keep our household running. With every grocery delivery, vital ingredients (like meat, milk, eggs, flour) would be out of stock, crumpling up my meal plan & throwing it out of the nearest window. But, you know what? God always provided. And He is still providing. And I haven't made a meal plan in months!
- Even introverts need community. Even though I dread most social situations, God has used this time to remind me that we weren't meant to do this Christian life on our own. I can't live in isolation & think that I'm going to be spiritually healthy. Christians were made to live in unity & love within the body of Christ. During this time, that's meant Zoom meetings & texts from friends. But, as a member of the Body of Christ, I should eagerly look forward to the day when we will be together again.
- My kids don't need perfection. I made a beautiful summer board complete with chores chart & routines. It was full of hopes & dreams. Have we completed every daily task? Nope! Have we done most of them? Usually! I'm calling "mostly done" a win. I never want my kids to stop learning, so I want to make it a natural part of our family life - not something they check off a list. I want them to see helping around the house as an organic part of doing life together. So, I've tried to put less stress on the checklist & more emphasis on grace. For me & for them!
- Loving others isn't always easy. Whether it's wearing a mask or speaking up for justice, loving others well tends to involve discomfort & inconvenience on my part. These words are from Jesus Himself: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." (John 15: 12-14) Let me be clear, my discomforts are very small in light of the sacrifices of others & the ultimate sacrifice of my Savior. But in the mundane tasks of changing diapers & cooking dinner, I am practicing this loving habit & following the example of Jesus.
Goals for the Rest of 2020:
Using the lessons as a starting point, I want to "continue in what [I] have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom [I] have learned it." (2 Timothy 3:14) So, here are some goals I'm setting for myself.
- Don't forget what I've learned. Humans are forgetful creatures. I am human. Therefore, I am a forgetful creature. Hopefully, this blog post reminds me that even when I think I know it all, I don't. May I humbly remember that I am not the expert nor the authority.
- Rest in God's provision. "And He said to His disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about you life, what you will eat, nor about you body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the raven: they neither sow nor reap. They have neither storehouses nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!'" (Luke 12:22-24) Just as God has provided work for my husband & food for my children, He will continue to give good things. Through no merit of my own, He continually provides such good things.
- Be a little more extroverted when it comes to the Body of Christ. I need to push myself. In this time of social distancing & masks, I should still reach out to others. Vulnerability is scary but worth the risk when it encourages others & brings glory to God.
- Remember to be present over perfect. My husband & my kids deserve more of my time. They are such precious gifts & I want them to know that! So I want fewer distractions, more margin - creating space for them.
- Love God; love others. Even when it's not what I want to do. Even when it means getting up early to read God's Word. Even when it means responding with grace when I disagree with a brother or sister in Christ. Even when it means sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever. Even when it means interrupting this blog post to read one more bedtime story to my little girl. God's love compels me to love Him & love others. "We love because He first loved us." (I John 4:19)
What lessons has God been teaching you in this season? It's been a heavy, weary time, but times like these are ones that God uses so well to grow us!
How are you feeling as we head into the second half of this unprecedented year? Is there a goal you have in mind to reach by the end of the year?