It’s 2020. The first story I woke up to on January 1st was that of a mother whose son had been killed by police (I wasn't home so I’m not sure where that story originated). It's 2020. There is still violence and injustice in our world. There is still political unrest and discontent. There are still people being persecuted for their faith, their skin color, their viewpoints, and whatever else doesn't match. This is the world we live in. It's 2020.
In 2020 there is also still you. You, full of dreams, ideas and the ability to bring them to pass, are still here. Your disappointments are still palpable. Your losses may be recent and fresh or fading like an old scar. Your vision may be clear or cloudy, but vision is still possible. It's 2020. What is in your hands that will impact what happens in your home, on your street, in your neighborhood or your world? Will you keep that vision safely hidden in your hands, or will you open hand and heart to the possibilities before you. Will your response be one of fear or faith? It's 2020 and the choice is still yours to make.
Most importantly, in 2020 there is still God. Before you react in anger, still your emotions and consider what He’s saying to you in that moment. Before you decide a situation is hopeless, stop and look inward for the thread of hope. It’s there. My pastor said earlier this year, “there are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people.” Be the carrier of hope to those around you. Endeavor to be the one who brings the solution and not the one who magnifies the problem.
It’s 2020. What will you do differently? Here are some ideas to help you respond to the new and old challenges you will face this year:
Sit with your feelings about 2019. If the year was difficult, identify why. Create a strategy to deal with your most likely distractions. If you analyze where you typically miss a goal or fall short in an area, you know what those distractions are. Prepare for them before they are throwing you off track. Don't forget to create accountability with a friend or a coach.
Consider your feelings about others – particularly those you feel conflicted with: Everyone has their own place…and you have yours. Ask yourself, "Am I feeling this way because I want what they have? Don't feel they deserve to be where they are?" If so, you need to deal with yourself -- neither of those questions are yours to decide. Pursue the place assigned to you as you consider the racehorse: those blinders are there, I imagine, to keep the horse focused on his race and not the horses around him/her.
Own your mistakes. What could you have done differently? Will you stay in denial about your part in last year's difficulties, or will you accept your role in what went wrong? Some of our anguish about mistakes can be remedied with two simple phrases spoken from a pure heart: "I'm sorry," and/or "Please help me." Pride will keep you from using either. We have all been on the "wrong side" of a situation at one time or another, yet we were created to live, work and rely upon each other. The humility needed to admit your mistakes is practice for honorable behavior with others when things are going well. Practice it daily.