How can we look back at 2020 with hope? If we could only reset this tumultuous year, right? But we can’t. The most Googled word of the year crippled the world. This COVID-19 virus took millions of lives, shut down businesses, and locked us at home. The quarantine tested our relationships, challenged our sanity, and doubted our faith.
But by the grace of the Lord, you and I are still here.
Recognize your negative emotions
Raise your hand if you have felt anger, fear, doubt, anxiety, and frustration this year. I’m sure we all did, in varying degrees and manifestations. Of course, you will feel all that. You are a human being, for crying out loud.
However, some well-meaning friends respond to our negative emotions by throwing Bible verses or say things like, “God will see you through this”. We know that already. At that moment, we need someone who will empathize, someone who will SHOW Christ’s love rather than a give us a Bible verse like a pill to make us feel better.
God created us with emotions because He has feelings too. He gets angry, frustrated and indignant. The apostle Paul recognizes anger too in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin.” We WILL get angry, frustrated and resentful. But Paul warns us not to act upon that negative emotion by sinning against God.
When you look back at 2020, recognize the negative emotions can become a tool to your healing and transformation. Acknowledge it but don’t wallow. Admit that you are not okay but you will be. And that is something to look forward to.
Look for the Good
We can look back at 2020 and conclude that it is not a good year for most people. The bread and butter that we depended on became unstable. We were on shaky grounds for a while. Will I still have my job next month? Will I be able to sustain this lifestyle in the coming weeks?
Working from home have its challenges, but we still get to put food on the table. Isn’t that a good thing?
We love our families, but being stuck at home for 9 months can be challenging. Yes, we are too exhausted watching over our children’s online classes and managing the home. But we are safe at home. Isn’t that a good thing?
The restrictions kept us home 24/7, and we have more time. You discovered that you can bake, cook, sew, do crafts and sell them online. Did you complete a short course or class online? I did. Isn’t that a good thing? Oh, and the book I shelved for many years—it’s almost done. I would not have done that if not for the lockdown.
We could not gather and I feel for the social extroverts. It must be very difficult for them to adjust, but they did. To those who don’t like technology, could do nothing but adapt as well. We all learned how to do virtual meetings, and we had a lot of them. Technology helped us communicate. Isn’t that a good thing?
Remember the Lessons of 2020
I look back at 2020 and see how the Lord’s finger on His giant pause button. The things that mattered to most of us became insignificant. Why did the Lord do that? No one can answer that. But I know He is telling us something. It may sound cliche but the Lord has a message to the world, to you and to me.
In times of crisis, true leadership is revealed. And I am not just talking about national leaders but local and community leaders too. The pandemic opened our eyes to the reality of the leadership or lack thereof of our elected officials. It is an unfortunate revelation and I am speaking of my community and city. Don’t get me started on the national level, please.
Before you care for others, care for yourself first. Self-care is not about an hour at the spa or drinking pink moscato in a posh place. Self-care is putting one’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being first before others. It means taking a break from it all (yes, mom, even from the kids and husband) for an hour or a day to breathe. Self-care is not selfish.
Set boundaries on relationships. You determine what you allow in your life. Relationships can be tricky, especially in the Filipino culture. But drawing the line is important for our mental and emotional well-being.
When I look back at 2020, prayer was my armor. Having a personal conversation with the Lord is so important. It’s not about the length of my prayer, the eloquence of my words, or even the sincerity of my heart. Prayer is about who the object of my prayer. It is THE God who listens to the prayer. Prayer will be my tool in 2021. Let me quote Dalmi of the Start-Up Series who says, “Pray first, and make it happen.” If I may add that, the Lord will make it happen.