What else could possibly happen in 2020? Global pandemic, widespread civil unrest, natural disasters, life turned upside down—check, check, check, check! Giving up on 2020 seems like a viable option, but what if we choose to reboot 2020 instead? How this year ends is up to us. Before we start, let’s pause and reflect on where we are right now.
(a) quit, (b) charge ahead, (c) pause and reflect
Working from home full-time has been my goal for several years. Now, I’m doing it…while my 3 children are also at home full-time doing distance learning. Anyone else see the irony in an introverted writer finally working from home at the same time a global pandemic closes schools?
This is not what I planned for 2020! No one writes “endure global pandemic” on their goal list. You’re not the only one who feels overwhelmed, disappointed, frustrated, and guilty for feeling overwhelmed, disappointed, and frustrated.
Here are our options as I see them: (a) quit, give up on all the goals we had for the year, hope to survive, and hope next year is better (b) charge ahead even though there are obstacles we can’t imagine and potentially wear ourselves out (c) pause and reflect about how the year has been so far and how we want to spend the next few months.
Naturally, I tend towards option B. This year, I’ve given option A some fair consideration. The better part of me wants to believe option C is the healthiest choice for us to make.
A little reminder from the desert
Imagine this. God has given you a very clear message about the awesome work he has for you.
For me, he’s going to use my business experience to encourage and equip other women leaders. Sounds great, right? Until we get a glimpse of the challenges associated with said awesome work.
Forty years of walking, camping, tending animals, pulling up stakes (literally), walking, camping…that was the Israelites’ journey. Moses was about to cross over and claim his prize of the Promised Land when 10 doubters upended everything (Numbers 13:25-33). By the end of those 40 years, every adult male who had been alive when the 10 spies returned their doubtful reports was dead except Moses, Caleb, and Joshua.
At least ten times between leaving Egypt and getting to the Promised Land the second time, the Israelites suggest it would be better to die as slaves in Egypt instead of making the trip. Getting to the Promised Land was hard. Imagine millions of people walking through the desert. They have limited menu options. The smell of people and animal sacrifices was probably atrocious. And, they were doubtful and impatient, which feels and sounds familiar.
This year is part of our desert journey. I’m not a fan of this part, but nonetheless, options A, B, and C still apply. We have a choice in how we proceed.
Choosing to pause and reflect
Remember, 2020 is not a lost cause. No one, nothing, no time is worthless. All those years the Israelites spent in the desert prepared a new generation to experience life in the Promised Land. This year has the same potential for us.
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.” Deuteronomy 2:7
We get to choose how we will finish the year. Instead of missing out by quitting or struggling as we charge ahead, let’s intentionally pause and reflect before moving forward. Let’s start with just 3 questions.
Where are you right now?
Before we do anything, we need a starting point.
Where are you right now?
Physically—yes. Our surroundings make a difference, especially now. Where are you spending your days and how does that make you feel?
Mentally and emotionally—this matters too! Most likely, you don’t feel like the same person you did in February. How do you feel on your good days? How about your bad days? Be honest. If you’re feeling exhausted and all “peopled out”, it’s ok to say it.
Aspirationally—your goals still count. Guess what?! All my big plans for 2020 have been postponed. I’m behind on my goals and I don’t like it. When’s the last time you checked in on your goals?
What’s working and what’s not working?
We have a few options about how we handle the rest of 2020. Some will move us forward. Others are going to hold us back.
Having our lives turned upside down has the unique advantage of showing life from a different view. Maybe you found yourself with more free time and a new love of exercise, baking, or something else that didn’t fit in your schedule previously.
What’s not working?
For many of us, there’s also a long list of things that are not working well. What’s not working for me? Having my office in my bedroom and being home with my kids 24 hours a day. I need a little time and space for myself. On the other hand, one of my daughters is struggling because she’s not around more people. The same situation causes very different responses.
What can you change? Maybe you can add more of the things that are working to your schedule and adjust or eliminate some that aren’t working.
Who do you want to be?
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION.
Who do you want to be?
After 2020 is over and life starts to look “normal”, who do you want to be? We can do lots of things, have nice homes, and plan our schedules, but if we’re not working towards being the person we’re created to be, none of it matters.
With the maximum amount of grace you can give yourself, describe who you want to be. Write down what you want to do and how you want to do it. Describe the way you act and how others feel around you. Be honest about how you want to feel about yourself. Describe the best version of the person God created you to be.
Pause and reflect
Now is the time to pause and reflect. Get real. Be honest.
Start with these 3 questions. Where are you right now? What’s working and what’s not working? Who do you want to be?
2020 is not a lost cause. Neither of us wants to look back and regret wasting time on things we couldn’t change.