2020 has been a seemingly crazy year: one of extreme highs and seeming lows. I use the word ‘seeming’ because – for a child of God – everything actually works together for good.
It has also been one packed with highlighted and underlined lessons. The major ones I will take into 2021 and beyond are:
Courage: This, for me, has been the biggest lesson this year. I’ve done things, said things and dared things I never thought I could. I learnt how to overcome personal fears – especially the ‘What Will People Say (WWPS)’ fear, the ‘What If I Fail?’ fear, the ‘What If It Doesn’t Work Out?’ fear, and the ‘What If They Say No’ fear?
Getting Up When You Fall: I’ve made a lot of mistakes this year. A lot. Formerly, I would have beaten myself over and over and over gain, rehashing the “why” and “how” and “what” – then mentally crawling into a ‘safe’ cocoon, afraid to try again.
Not this year.
I learnt to say, “Wow. That was wrong, Deborah. That was the wrong action/reaction/time – or whatever. Lesson learnt. It won’t happen again.’ Then I mentally shrug, dust it off, and continue. No time anymore for regrets or beating myself up.
I simply Learn, Move on, and Get better.
Relationships: This comes a very close second to ‘Courage’. I learnt:
-You can only go so far alone. Harness the power in divine relationships. A minister once said, “One will go fast, two will go far.” The Bible says, “One will chase a thousand, two will chase ten thousand, three…” (calculate it yourself).
-Managing relationships is very key. It’s not just getting – but also sustaining – them.
-Not all relationships are meant for you – which is perfectly fine. Ask the Lord to lead you to your tribe(s). He ‘sets the solitary in families…’
-Assumptions can be deadly. Communication is mega-crucial.
-If your heart is genuine, and you are still misunderstood, it’s okay. God sees your heart, and He – and time – are powerful revealers of truth.
Focus: Distractions abound everywhere and anywhere. Focusing on (a) goal(s) set before you helps you avoid them. One of my personal sayings this year has been, “Focus makes you blind – and deaf.” When you are focused, you easily discern and do away with distractions – whether physical, emotional, mental, psychological, or social.
Prioritizing: I realised this year that you can get so busy, that the seemingly ‘urgent’ takes precedence over the ‘important’. It’s easy to postpone/ignore Important things because they are usually long-term and don’t show immediate consequences/results – until you wake up one day and discover that area of your life is in shambles. This is especially dangerous when it comes to your spiritual life.
Put first things first. Prioritize the important – and things will still fall into place.
Gratitude: One of the blessings of starting anything small or from scratch is the gift of gratitude. You notice every tiny increase or growth – and you are truly thankful for it. This year, I have appreciated every ‘little’ progress made in my life and in my field(s), and I am truly, truly thankful for every one.
Leaving Your Comfort Zone: As someone once said, “The magic happens outside your comfort zone”. Your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical place. For me this year, it was more in personal interactions, self-development and spiritual activities. I really had to stretch in certain areas I hated – and I made blunders as I did so. However, despite all the mistakes I made, one thing is certain: I would rather, most definitely, choose the pain of growth over the cocoon of familiarity and ease.
The Importance Of Waiting: Sometimes, it seems the Bible gives advice that contradicts common sense:
When offended, forgive.
When in lack, give.
When someone slaps you, turn the other cheek…
…and if you want to run or fly, wait.
The image that comes to mind is that of a bow and arrow. To achieve maximum impact, the arrow has to be pulled back before being released. In fact, the farther back it is pulled, the further it goes – and the more deadly the impact.
It’s the same with taking time to wait on God. It might seem like you are being pulled backwards, but it is actually meant to launch you farther and more forcefully than if you merely shot yourself.
This year, I learnt that you run faster when you are still.
God Is Good – Even In The Seeming Darkness: We recently lost someone close to the family. It was shocking. Still is. He was an amazing, amazing person. The painful thing was that he had been coming to mind for quite a while, and I had made plans in my head – for sometime in the future.
The incidence reinforced the fact that life can happen unexpectedly – and will continue to go on as if nothing happened. Therefore,
Live life to the fullest. Take the risks. Jump out. Dare.
Do it while you can. Better yet, do it now.
More than anything, be firmly hitched to God.
A beautiful lining in this painful cloud was when the youngest sibling consoled me, “Don’t cry, Sister Debby. He has gone to be with the Lord”, and his sister said, “Debsco (that’s what she calls me), no matter what happened, God is good.”
…and that, right there, is the biggest lesson of 2020: Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the #ENDSARS massacre, financial losses, personal deaths, or seemingly unachieved goals…
GOD. IS. GOOD.
(In Loving Memory Of Isaiah Umanah who passed away on 27th November, 2020)