If I’m honest…
I’m disheartened that 2020 has become a reference point for all that has gone wrong. It gets mentioned in a conversation, in a speech…in this post I’m writing now…and it truly bothers me. Why? Because it’s now the definition of a bad year and to be fair…it’s not entirely untrue. And personally, beyond the effects of the pandemic that we all experienced, my family experienced the loss of my wife’s dad and I received a lay-off notice all within a couple weeks of each other. So this year carries the weight of those events as well and I know there are many who have had major life events that added to the grieving of 2020.
Honestly, I’m tempted to tune out when others write or speak of it simply because I want to move on…yet I find myself writing about it…not because I want to focus on it…but simply because I can’t deny all that I feel and am honestly looking for a way forward.
Scars – not ‘forever wounds’
And it’s on that note that I say this – it’s not bad to talk about it…in fact, it is necessary and important for us to grieve our losses. Yet this tension exists about what to do with 2020 because it will soon turn into 2021 and I find my heart longs for much more than simple resolve. I know that circumstances don’t respect the boundaries of time and decide to change when the calendar flips to a new year. Therefore, when things don’t ‘go my way’, the temptation is to play the part of victim, almost like one is trying to protect a wound from healing. I don’t want that posture and don’t want to be shaped into the mold of 2020 as its reputation stands.
It is undeniable that we will all bear the scars of what we lost…as is normal with pain and suffering. However, I want to bear those scars and grow from them…even with a sense of pride…but I don’t want to actively live with last year’s wounds that continue to falsely pronounce their victory.
More than my heart aches over all that has been, my heart yearns for what could be…I think that’s a picture of what hope is. So, I will plunder 2020 for all that it does have to offer me in the form of life-lessons, perspective shifts, understanding, wisdom, humility, the opportunity to evaluate what is truly valuable, and the clarity for which 2020 offers me about who God is and who He has called me to be…because ‘Hindsight is 20/20’. It may be cheesy, but didn’t many of us believe that 2020 would be a year of vision? Well it still can be…but it will require that we look at 2020 with both humility and hope asking the question…how can I grow from here?
A good kind of discontent
I can’t speak for you, but there’s a certain level of discontent that’s been stirred up in me and it’s not just discontent about the circumstances of this year…but a discontent that lay hidden beneath…dare I say even oppressed by my own desire for comfort and control. A discontent at my lack of action to live life more fully…saying the things I should have said when I had time to say them. Being fully present in moments with people, especially my kids, realizing those moments don’t have retakes. For me, it boils down to this: living less than what I was created for. But at what cost? Ironically the cost of living freely, fully and with a sense of adventure and living an abundant life that ought to be shared with others.
But I believe this year will still produce in us great vision for the future when we approach our discontent with the posture of a student who is ready to take responsibility for our own growth. And maybe, just maybe when we hear someone speak of 2020 we can replace our cringe with a look of determined courage amidst the tear that streaks down our face. (I think the tension between courage and grief is part of the journey)
The following are four reflection points from which I did my own review of this past year. They aren’t new or some special formula, but just a simple process and I offer it as a spark for some personal reflection that hopefully leads towards transformative action.
A Year in Review
What experiences or life-events are worth celebrating? These could span a few moments or moments that span over months. It could be a relationship, a gift, an opportunity, or a maybe even something worth celebrating on someone else’s behalf.
What changed this past year? This is a very wide open question and your answers may reflect changes from the stand point of either things that you are grieving or even what you gained. Maybe some changes were not all that bad…like having a simpler schedule…and maybe some changes were not all that good…as an introvert I can say that too much time alone isn’t always good. Evaluate those changes…were they external factors or internal decisions that led to the change? (Please don’t look for blame but rather look for understanding because understanding breeds empathy for others and ourselves)
What connections can you make between your celebrations, changes and challenges that brought clarity to your values, your desires, your vision? Essentially what were your life lessons that you learned by observing all that you’ve experienced this year? What wisdom have you gained that you would you remind yourself of 5 years from now?
4. Creative Growth
What is the mental picture you’re forming around who you want to be? What is your reason for becoming that person and how important is it to you? What are the areas of growth that you need to experience to move towards that mental picture? What change do you need to create to make it happen? What steps will take you towards that change?
How Can I Help?
Sometimes talking things through with someone can help bring clarity to what you’ve learned and the direction you want to move towards. I’m offering a complimentary Year In Review Coaching Session as we head into the 2021 and I’d love to hear your story and be a small part of your journey towards developing your potential! Schedule here!