2020 is over, and many are claiming, “Good riddance!” 2020 was a year of disappointment, frustration, hardship, and anger. Needless to say, none of us want to take these feelings into a new year. We all had to come to a place of acceptance, acknowledging (but not liking) the current situation and doing what we could to make the best of it. I would venture to say most of us did not feel like we were in a place of thriving these past nine months. There might be a tendency to try and block out everything from 2020. However, I am here to tell you, amidst all of the turmoil, there has been good in my life, and I want to hold on to that good.
From the moment everything came crashing down, God has given me peace. Despite the job ramifications, the isolation, the threat of the virus, and broken relationships, I have been at peace. I really can’t explain it in words. My husband and I have diligently prayed together throughout this pandemic, and I believe with all my heart God that has answered our prayers. He has drawn near us. It is times like these I know God’s Word is true. Over the past nine months these verses have literally jumped off the page and into my innermost being.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I can’t deny there is much of 2020 I want to let go of, but in 2021 I will hold on to God’s peace. As I mentioned earlier, God’s Word has literally been my lifeline. Throughout this pandemic I have been committed to my time with the Lord and His Word. I have been faithful to my quiet time for a while now, but there is something that has happened in my heart this past year. God has given me a yearning and a desire for His Word. He has made His Word come alive, and my heart is changing one day at a time. God has brought His Word to my mind throughout the day, and I catch myself quoting Scripture in response to my thoughts and circumstances. God is so good and has so much in store for us when we seek Him through His Word. In 2021 I will hold on to God’s word.
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2020 has been a year of God’s provision. Like many, our lives have changed significantly. Some of the changes have been tolerable, but when your livelihood is in jeopardy, fear comes calling. “What ifs” can plague our minds as we seek to understand what is happening around us. What if I lose my job? What if my job changes? What if I can’t teach this way? What if I don’t want to teach this way? What if I get the virus? I have pretty much had all of these thoughts at one time or another. However, through it all God has provided just what I needed when I needed it. My faith has been renewed and strengthened as He continues to be faithful to His promises. In 2021 I will hold on to and trust God’s provision.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”. Matthew 6:31-33
I know that self-care doesn’t sound as spiritual as the three previous ideas, but I have to tell you it has made a big difference for me. Over these last nine months I have taken time to exercise, eat well (most of the time), rest, and spend time with family. I have been reminded that everything we have, including our bodies, have been given to us by the Lord. He wants us to take good care of what He has given us. I have been such a workhorse my whole life that I think I have fallen into the trap of feeling guilty about taking care of myself. I realize now that wasn’t good for me or those around me. Self-care looks different in different seasons of our lives, but self-care is a spiritual matter and needs to be a priority. If you are an educator, I am sure you can relate! In 2021 I will hold on to self-care.
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:2-3
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20 Finally I will hold on to relationship (i.e., my deepening relationship with the Lord). Relationships take time and effort. The good news for a believer is one partner in the relationship (Jesus) is all in. God’s unconditional love paved the way for us to be in relationship with the only true God. During the long months of the pandemic, my relationship with the Lord has become a greater priority. As a result my relationship with Him is sweeter, more honest, more empowering, and (at times) more convicting. In 2021 I must hold on to my relationship with the Lord.
Some things from 2020 we need to give the boot. No question! But there is so much we need to hold on to. For me, I desire to hold on to God’s peace, Word, and provision. I want to continue to make self-care a priority, and most importantly, I want my relationship with the Lord to grow deeper.
As you begin a new year, what will you let go of?
What will you hold on to?