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Lessons Learned

About now, you may be thinking of what your New Year’s resolutions should be. With 2020 almost finished, this is the time we think forward and hope for a better future. It’s time to tuck away this year and get optimism charged up for 2021.

I’m going to challenge you to do something a little different this year. We are not going into the new year in a “normal” way since we are still in the midst of the pandemic and all the havoc it has created. We wonder if we will see friends and family again freely, and we worry about paying rent and bills.

Instead of focusing on our troubles, though, let’s take a moment to explore the lessons from 2020. Why? So that we can be better prepared for 2021. Let’s leave behind the “gunky stuff” and find the lessons that will position us better. We can’t change all that has happened, but we can change how we respond to our trials going forward. If there is anything we should have learned from 2020, it’s how to manage through tough times.

Here are just a few lessons to think about.

The importance of truth. We were bombarded with false narratives, untruths, and even lies over and over. It was often hard to separate out the truth from falsehoods. Some of us are still struggling with that now. Here’s the lesson: We look for truth in the Lord. We ask Him for guidance in sorting out truth from fiction. We’ve learned that neighbors, social media, and news outlets are no substitute for the Word and prayer. Put them both as high priorities for 2021.

The importance of having only one God and no idols. We learned how hard life can be when we put others or other things before God; when we listen to the world’s story instead of listening for the voice of the Lord. I know this is a hard lesson, but it may be the most important one of all. In 2021, let the Lord’s voice be the only voice you seek and the only voice that guides you.

The importance of hope. 2020 felt like huge waves crashing over us one after another. Sometimes it was hard to catch our breath. Keeping hope in our sight was a struggle, but that hope is what brought us through. That Hope is Jesus. He never wavered, He never left us. We are blessed because we can take the lesson of Hope into the new year knowing that Jesus is walking right into the year with us.

The importance of loving our brothers and sisters. Many relationships were broken and many hurts resulted because we forgot how to love each other. And it happened right when we needed each other the most. We let politics, opinions, and racial tensions dictate how we loved or didn’t love one another. As we enter 2021, I pray we don’t take those hurts with us, but instead learn the lesson of love. Take the broken pieces and turn them into moments for healing relationships. We will continue to need each other, and Jesus who is love, is ready to show us how.

You may have other lessons to add to this list, and that’s good. We can walk into 2021 with hope, truth, Jesus and love, and do our part to make it a better year than the one we had. These are better than resolutions that we simply forget after a few weeks. Hope and salvation should be our focus and we will see Jesus open doors we never thought could.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18

Prayer

Lord,

You will keep me from all harm—You will watch over my life; You will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore. May You, my God of hope, fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in You, so that I may overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I wait for You, my whole being waits, and in Your Word I put my hope. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. Amen!


Photograph 📷: Bud Helisson

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