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There’s a meme going around that says something like, “Funny how all of you are expecting all this to go away just because it’s a new calendar year!” Although there a “tongue in cheek” tone to it, I find myself feeling that way. The year 2020 has contained more chaos and discontent than I could have imagined. And yes, I am looking forward to 2021! I DO have hope that things will be different! But I don’t want to forget the lessons that I have learned in 2020 because I think it’s part of what’s going to make 2021 (and the rest of my life) better!

Lesson #1  WAIT FOR IT

Ok, yes, maybe this is a line from Hamilton. Honestly, I’ve watched it every week since it came out. But in 2020, there’s been a lot of waiting. I waited for a lot of things; a sense of normalcy, healed relationships, health, strength/energy, growth, joy, and peace. Some of those things I’m still waiting for, and as I waited, I had to trust that God was at work. In the waiting, I found Hope, new and deeper friendships, grit, patience, new sources of strength, and a need to abide in Christ. I learned that God has something for me in the “waiting”. Waiting is not the dead space in-between. God IS there, and He wants to work on me. There is a lot that He shows me in the waiting! I’m sure that there will be more waiting in 2021, but I don’t want to miss what God has for me! He is always at work!

Lesson #2  MAINTAINING HABITS

When my routines were disrupted due to quarantines and shutdowns, I found that I needed to prioritize my habits and even gain some new ones. I wish I could say I found exercise as a new habit during 2020 (but I didn’t. HaHa). Habits are interesting things. Some are good (going to bed on time, healthy eating, devotions and prayer etc.) and some are bad (negative thoughts, gossip, binging, overspending, etc.). The year of 2020 opened up windows of time that lead to the development of some bad habits and I had to really evaluate and adjust. When life got really hard, I had to modify my habits to stay healthy, like extended time of prayer and worship, earlier bedtimes, and deeper study in the Word. As life and circumstances pulled energy from me, I had to make sure that I had healthy habits that filled me up! Heading in to 2021, I want to make sure that I keep watch over my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical “tanks”... and make sure that I maintain healthy habits to keep those tanks filled.

Lesson #3  CONNECTION IS NOT OPTIONAL

We all know that this has changed a ton in 2020. It’s been so hard to be separated from loved ones, especially around the holidays and special events. I definitely did my part with social distancing, but I realized pretty early on that I needed a “bubble” of people that I could be around. This wasn’t just for fun; it was for health. I needed to talk to people, process all that was happening, and be encouraged. I also wanted to BE all of those things for others! Yes, Zoom was different, but it was necessary and such a gift to be able to stay connected. I found that I had to prioritize these interactions in order to be healthy.  We are wired for connection; whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you need connection! As we have restrictions put on us again, I don’t want to forget the lesson that I learned. I still need to be connected, and I have to be ok with doing it safely, and creatively (yes, Zoom or Facetime) but it is NOT optional.

I do have a lot of hope for 2021, but I also have a lot of work to do to maintain habits and remember the lessons learned that will help me be healthy. I hope that you can evaluate some of the things that you learned in 2020. If we can’t apply them as we go through life, then did we really learn them? This last year has been hard, but we CAN go into 2021 with FULL tanks. So, what lessons did you learn? And how will they help you be stronger in 2021?

We got this (air high-five)!