What a year this has been! I’ve said 2020 has been trash, I’ve said it’s been the worst year of my life, I’ve also said it’s had some good moments. All of the above are true but 2020 has also taught me a lot.
It may sound crazy, but the quarantine was the blessing I never knew I needed. Even though I’m an introvert and having everything canceled was a dream, I operate like an extrovert. As my mom says, I “always have something going on”. Growing up my sister, cousins and I were always involved in extra curricular activities, church activities and throw in family gatherings and trips. We always had something going on, we’ve always been a busy family. So that lifestyle carried into my adulthood. Outside of my 9-5, I have a husband, we now have two dogs, I have a grip of friends who have become my family and if you follow any of us on social media, you know we are always celebrating something! In addition to that, I run my small business and I was leading a women’s empowerment non-profit that consisted of outreach activities and events. Oh and throw fertility treatments in the mix because that became a part of my life as well. At the beginning of the year I was planning for another year of busyness, but God was like “nah”. It wasn’t until we all were forced to sit at home for what went from two weeks to months, that I realized I needed that time to sit and listen to God and allow Him to clear some things out and make room for what’s to come.
The toughest year of my life has granted me such wisdom, strength, insight and purpose that I don’t think I would have gained to this extent, or realized, had it been I the midst of the busyness. God has a way of giving us just what we need at the most unimaginable times. As I mentioned earlier, I’m so accustomed to doing all the things that I don’t often take the time to take inventory of what’s on my plate to see what purpose it’s serving and/or if I’m operating in purpose in it. Sometimes we fear letting things go because we don’t want to disappoint others or we don’t want to appear weak for not being able to do everything. One of the hardest things for me to let go of this year was The Ladies Lounge, the non-profit that I co-founded. The decision to discontinue the Huntsville chapter was something I was considering for a while. The passion I once had for it was no longer there and I felt like I was no longer operating in purpose. I felt like I was doing so much to keep it going and the original desire for the organization was no longer being carried out. Being in the stillness of the quarantine helped me to realize that and God helped me to see that there is a season for everything and that season had come to an end.
This year I’ve learned how to experience peace in the midst of the storm. This has been the craziest year, but it has been the year where I’ve experienced more peace than ever before – imagine that. There have been times in the past where it felt like the difficult situation I was in had overtaken me. I was so deep in my emotions that not only could I not even think to ask for peace, but I never truly experienced it. But this year I learned to search God’s word like never before and I asked for peace, and clung to it like crazy. God has granted me that peace this year.
This year has taught me to find joy in things that I love and that has helped me a lot this year, especially during this time. It’s almost like I’ve rediscovered my love for creating, for writing, for dreaming. In the stillness of this quarantine I’ve been able to do all of that more and it’s like I’ve gained renewed purpose in it. One thing I’ve learned about purpose is that we don’t have to find it, it’s within us, God put it in us, we just have to recognize it and decide to walk in it. I feel like up until this year I’ve been trying to find it, doing all the things, looking for purpose in at least one of those things. All along it’s been within me. I just needed to look internally, recognize the gifts God has given me and make the decision to fully live in that purpose. I don’t know if this type of self-reflection would have come about in the busyness of life.
The last thing I’ve learned this year is that I don’t have to be strong. I don’t have to try to turn bad situations into good ones or try to find the silver lining in everything. We’re so accustomed to being “strong” through the difficult times that I don’t think we allow ourselves time to really feel our feelings, process them and heal. We just put on our “strength”, suppress our feelings and hurry through; I don’t think that’s true healing. I know I’m guilty of that. Strength is not in suppressing our feelings, appearing to be okay or have it all together, or in hurrying through pain. Strength is in acknowledging the bad in the situation, accepting what is, acknowledging our feelings, processing them and doing it again and again. There’s no timeframe on healing or a limit on the amount of time we feel sad. I’ve learned that my healing is completely up to me. Also, my strength comes from God so I don’t have to worry about or push myself to be strong. So, if I appear strong it’s because of God.
It’s been a wild year, I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve learned more. I’m praying that I can carry the lessons I learned this year into the new year and that everything that was lost is restored and I receive what God has promised ?