I intend for my posts to be something that transcends time, but if we are being realistic, I believe 2020 will remain with us for some time to come. This past year left me with a variety of lessons to hold onto for years to come. It’s been personally and spiritually eye-opening. Things that once seemed urgent and important suddenly hold less value.
So, let’s start with the elephant in the room. I consider myself a conservative. *budum chhh* I didn’t set out to make a political mom joke; it basically set itself up. Please don’t leave me!
Why is this information important? Well, that’s kind of my point. It’s not! By the time election season rolled around, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to get another text, hear another ad, or get another piece of mail to toss in the trash.
I found myself constantly repeating that it’s not our job as believers to make more conservatives or liberals. It’s our job to go and make disciples . It felt like so many people lost sight of that along the way. It didn’t start in 2020, but it was felt deeply.
Learning to stand on my principles, even if it felt like I was in isolation, was not easy. My salvation is not found in the world’s longest running reality show, also called politics. God is sovereign no matter who is president, who sits in the House or Senate. We should love and pray for our political leaders no matter if we stand by their ideas or not. Understanding how God’s authority plays into that makes the difference. My alliance is no more with Donald Trump than any other president that’s held the title. I can see the good and the bad. I can tell you things I disliked about his presidency just like I can about Obama’s, and just like I will for Biden’s.
But guess who never stopped and never will stop leading or being sovereign during any one’s time in office. God. Guess who allowed those people to be in office. God. (This doesn’t mean he is in agreement with how they are managing that role, no more than he agrees with any decisions we make that are outside of his established desire and will for us.) Guess who will judge me based on how I loved all 3 of those people. God. It’s seems like there’s only one person in all this who really matter. I’ll give you a hint the answer isn’t Obama, Trump, or Biden!
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together .Col 1:15-17 (NIV)
Our value nor our wellbeing is ever going to be determined in an election cycle, but our thoughts, words, and actions will be judged based on that time. That was brought clearly into perspective in 2020 not only in the context of politics.
I learned there’s a difference between going to church and being the church and the number of people who applied both shrank greatly this year. This is not a criticism of mask mandates, social distancing, or responsibly managing the health & wellbeing of those at risk. This is about those that used the pandemic to simply excuse themselves from being kind, looking out for one another, and as 1 Thessalonians 4:11 reminds us, leading a quiet life and minding your own business. People were louder and more nosy than ever, and seemed to forget that the church is a body not a building. It wasn’t and still isn’t our job to ensure that everyone does what we believe to be right. Everyone has different convictions for different reasons, but that doesn’t negate our duty as believers to be the church and walk it out in how we live with each other and example it to others. We should be helping those that we can, because so many are hurting with needs that we can assist with. Policing and self-righteously judging, is not loving others. It’s just being a busybody. Even when you think you know someone’s motives, you probably don’t. And a lack of impact and hurt for one doesn’t mean that it’s not felt by another. We gotta remember to extend love & grace even to the circumstances we don’t understand.
I learned that slowing down is good (and that the 2 weeks I needed in the house to just get organized was apparently a complete lie! DANGIT!) I have children transitioning to adulthood and this gave me time to cherish what little time I have left before they start making their independent lives. This will always be home, but once they leave it will change forever. So we enjoyed more carefree days and movie nights. We enjoyed random trips for slushies and board games around the table. Because one day these moments will be far and few between, but 2020 gave me an opportunity to relish in them a little more.
It taught me that time, words, relationships and energy are all currency that can either be mishandled or managed well. There’s no need to accept the invitation to every argument. It’s better to ask thoughtful questions, even if you think you understand, and everything doesn’t demand an immediate response, even in an in the moment conversation. You get the most value out of time, words, relationships, and energy where there is give and take. Honoring others doesn’t mean agreeing with them.
God beautifully wrapped up these lessons of 2020, by helping me realize that inviting the Holy Spirit into all these spaces made my understanding deeper, my words more intentional, and made me more considerate about who or what I invested in. So much happened in the last year, for better or worse. I hope you can take some things from what I learned and apply them to make 2021 and beyond more internally peaceful. We can’t control the outside world, but we can control our response to it and our influence on it.
I didn’t start this year with all of this in place, but I am sure glad I got the message by the end. Thanks for sitting at my table, friend, and hearing my heart. Tell me what lessons you learned in 2020.