Maybe 2020 Will Be The Year.
2020 has not gone how any of us had planned. I'm pretty confident in the accuracy of that statement. That is unless you were planning for a global pandemic that would halt us all in our tracks. But I don't know who would have personally planned for that...before now anyway.
It's been hard. It's been scary. We all just want it to be over. There are already jokes about 2020 becoming the year we won't talk about. Like it will be the dark period we only refer to in whispers and cautionary tales about toilet paper hoarding and hand-washing.
Oh we see some of the good. Pictures of cleaner air and clearer water. Stories of human connection that breaks the bonds of space. Communities coming together. (And all of those things are wonderful.) But the undercurrent still suggests this is all just something we are ready to get out of, a season to escape and to forget about.
But what if, when this all ends, we find that it was a glorious pause. What if we look fondly on 2020 because it was the year we hit the reset button on our lives and took stock of what was really valuable? What if it's the year our faith in humanity was truly restored and our faith in God deepened?
I'm not talking communally so much as personally. Because I think it can be easy to keep it external and distanced and impersonal, but neglect the good happening right in our own homes and hearts. Maybe because it stings too much so it doesn't feel good, maybe because we don't recognize some of our own needs.
We don't see how we haven't done the work to deal with stress, mental illness, and unhealthy emotions. We've been able to distract ourselves or ignore pain and bitterness and fear that have been gnawing at us. We can't ignore it now and it hurts, but maybe it's a good thing because it forces us to do something about it. (That includes recognizing the need for counseling/therapy.) Maybe 2020 will make us intentional about getting and using the tools we need to move forward even stronger.
We don't see how busy-ness has stolen our joy and peace, and given us a false sense of fulfillment. So maybe we are learning that busy does not mean better. That slowing down and taking stock of priorities, and how we spend our time, and what is truly important will actually be the thing that gives us what we've been frantically looking for. Maybe simplifying our lives will lead us to our greatest passions and purpose.
We don't see how we have neglected community. We go to church each week but we don't develop relationships that sharpen us. We make small talk and grab a coffee but we don't find people to do life with. Maybe now we can see that the Church is, and should
be, more than one big Sunday service where we shake a couple of hands and then go on about our week. Maybe we will see the value in getting a little uncomfortable and vulnerable because those people we allow in will grow us as we help them grow.
We don't see how we have put God in a box that we only open on Sunday mornings or when we need something. We have compartmentalized Him and neglected time with Him, neglected building the most important relationship in our lives. Maybe God is using this time to clear away the clutter so we can see Him, arms open, waiting for us to get close again. Maybe He is reigniting our hunger for worship and the Word. Maybe He is wanting to help us move from being fed to feeding ourselves, from being hearers of the Word to doers also. Maybe He wants to use this pause to speak to us, to lead us, to grow us up.
This year so far has been hard and scary and frustrating and sad...and it's okay to feel it, to feel the hardship in it. But don't be so quick to just want to leave it behind. Instead, let's be quick to learn from it, to let it be the year that taught us something we may not have known but desperately needed. Let's savor the lesson even as we wait for the sunrise.
PS: And don't stop looking for the good out in the world too. It keeps us sane. It keeps us hopeful. And we need sanity and hope. And work to put some of that good out into the world too. The good, the love, the hope...those are the things that will make the difference.