2020 has been a ‘different’ year for so many of us.
Usually at this time of year, I’d do a ‘Year in Review’ post. While I’m grateful that this year for me, personally, has had many more highs than lows by God’s grace, I feel my posts from throughout this year really sum it all up, and I’m also keenly aware that it has been, for many if not all of us, a year coloured somewhat by sadness.
Sadness at the tragic loss of life due to COVID-19. Sadness at the tragedy surrounding the murder of George Floyd — which, yes, happened this year, even though it can feel now like it happened a year ago or more. Sadness at the various explosions, floodings, fires, and effects of global warming on our planet. Sadness at the tyranny and behaviour of some of our global political leaders — and I say ‘leaders’ loosely.
3 Encouragements for your End-of-Year Reflections
There’s been a lot of sad news this year generally — and no doubt everyone has faced some sort of sadness personally. Maybe it’s been the grieving of freedom, or, more recently, of a Christmas spent with lots of family and friends — freedoms made difficult due to this virus. Maybe it’s close family connection, the loss of a loved one, a dream you had for 2020 that couldn’t be realised. Maybe you don’t know what you’re grieving but you know you feel sad, exhausted and depleted.
With that in mind, as we head into these final few days of the year, I wanted to encourage you with 3 tips for this time of the year — this strange year.
First, to take time out to reflect on this year. What’s been the colour and tone of this year for you? Importantly, what — if anything — are you grieving?
Take time to rest and reflect this season. Please don’t rush into 2021 without having taken stock of 2020. Speak to someone you love and trust if the sadness runs deep — maybe even a therapist. We all need time to reflect on this pretty unprecedented year — whether that’s heal from the trauma of it, or simply to just acknowledge and accept its impact on us and those around us.
Second, I wanted to encourage you to let go. Of any pain, shame, guilt or anything else not of God that you are holding onto from this year. To forgive who you need to forgive. To make peace where peace needs to be made. To put boundaries in place where new boundaries are needed. To really do the raw heart work that allows us to make proper — not fake — fresh starts. Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG) reads: ‘”Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.’ Be encouraged. Let it go.
And third, I want to encourage you to dream again. Ephesians 3:20 says ‘Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.’ (TPT). If you’re feeling down at the end of this year, be encouraged that it’s important not to let what happened this year — or elsewhere in your past — cloud your hopefulness for next year. Let’s be realistic, of course — some freedoms may be less likely because of the current situation, but that doesn’t mean you’re not free, or don’t have choice.
Life is a series of problems; happiness comes from solving them and from perspective. Seeing the glass as half-full where you can. Which dreams are ideal to pursue at a time like this when you’re at home more — is it writing that book? Writing that song? Releasing that music? Starting that online business?
Which dreams does this new lifestyle of ours make more possible than would have been in our old one? What endeavour have you been saying you’d do for ages, yet still haven’t done because you didn’t have the time — but now maybe you’ve got a lot more time?
I encourage you to spend some time vision-boarding before the year is out; I’ve got a guide here on how to do so. Dream into every area of your life — your ministry, your calling, your career, your family, your health and fitness. Prayerfully dare to dream, remembering always that God is not limited by lockdown.
I’m grateful for 2020. From starting running in January and eventually a couple of half-marathons, walking in my musical calling more than ever and becoming a signed artist, to founding and running a mentorship scheme with over 40 students, I’m grateful. But it wasn’t a year without sadness, and each of those ‘wins’ started as dreams, came at a cost, and demanded I let go of fear and embrace the unknown. I encourage you, no matter what your 2020 looked like, to do the same into 2021.
See what God will do — and remember, He’s not limited by lockdowns.
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