“Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see” - unknown
As the year comes to a close, I know it is important to reflect on my experiences and identify what I learned in this unique, challenging, weird, overwhelming, unprecedented year. Below are my top lessons from 2020.
Uno Prospone y Dios Dispone.
There is a Spanish proverb that translates to ‘a person plans, yet God put things in order’. Like I do every year, I started 2020 with clear aspirations and goals for me, my marriage, my kids, and my business. I had a plan of how I would elevate every area of my life. My year started with great intention, purpose, and momentum, and quickly halted. At the start of the pandemic I had no capacity to pursue my goals. It was a vivid example that all of my human efforts are submitted to God’s timing.
Trust in a verb.
WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, our kid’s school announced it was closing, I was in a long line at the grocery store, and my husband was across the country on a business trip. Seven days later, my husband was laid off from his job. I can recall my response, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’. Almost immediately, his faith surfaced and he began to paint the positive picture of our scenario. I realized, that to say “I trust God” is more than a verbal exercise. I learned that trust is an expression of my emotions, my words, and my conversations. Grace goes a long way.
When my kids began distance learning, I was desperate for structure and created a spreadsheet to manage my their daily schedule. I color-coded it and shared it with my husband so that together we would manage our household with structure and purpose. Day-after-day the spreadsheet failed and I was increasingly overwhelmed attempting to maintain structure. I learned that I needed to extend grace to myself, my husband, and my children, and the spreadsheet was rendered useless. The peace that I experienced from extending grace far exceeded the benefit any spreadsheet could provide.
I am responsible for my faith.
I absolutely love to worship with my church family and experience His presence corporately. But when a pandemic closed the physical church building and prevented us from physically gathering, it magnified what I already knew; I needed to experience God on my own, without a worship team or a pastor. I can remember the overwhelming anxiety I experienced as our city declared its ‘shelter-in-place’. It was suffocating, I was fearful of the unknown, my thoughts were running rampant, and my husband, who I often lean on, didn’t have the answers I needed. That evening I was on my knees, singing, praying, and worshiping; no music, just me and God. When I stood up I knew that God had met me and assured me. My heart was still and calm. I am responsible for deepening my relationship with Jesus, and my pursuit of him must continue outside of the church building.
Respect other’s convictions.
This year has surfaced strong convictions across the country. Spiritual, political, social, and economic; I saw varying and often opposing convictions. I have the honor of working with entrepreneurs and business leaders across the country, who experienced the sorrow of losing their business or making the onerous decision of laying off employees. For many, their livelihood depends on the economic movement of our country. I also have friends who are considered vulnerable; who cannot risk exposure to the virus. They are individuals whose livelihood depends on the prudent responsibility of their community. I learned that each conviction while conflicting is accurate and valid. Our convictions are a result of our experiences and our perspectives. I learned that I need to be curious; to understand the experience and perspective of others, especially those with opposing spiritual, political, social, and economic convictions than mine.
My Team is incredibly important.
As I think about my team in 2020, I’m grateful for the individuals that are in my personal and professional life who have extended grace, encouragement, and love. It reinforced how essential it is to have a strong team. Grateful for my colleagues, Mark and Elian, who are extremely flexible and understanding, my mentor, Raj, who encouraged, supported, and challenged me. My friends that accompanied me on walks or bike rides, who responded to my crazy texts, who prayed with me, my pastors who pray for us, my parents who show unconditional love and support, and my husband who loves endlessly. What a blessing to have my 2020 Team! Trust is a verb.
I mentioned my husband was laid off in March, and I assumed a few months later he would have a new job with a similar salary. To my surprise, he found a start-up company (pre-revenue), which he is excitedly pursuing, which means 9-months later we are still living without his salary. Trust. It is this word that continues to surface for me. In my mind, I know that God is trustworthy. I know he is my provider, I know that he knows our financial needs, I know that he is faithful. This year he is expanding the boundaries of my trust. I am learning to let trust resonate in my heart. I can’t plan, I can’t project, I can only trust.
The year will come to a close, yet much of what we experienced in 2020 will carry over to 2020. I want my perspective in the coming year to have the experience and wisdom gained in 2020. Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!