Every year during the week between Christmas and New Year I sort of take an inventory of the past year. Where am I spiritually? Did I learn any new skills? Do I have any new things I am dreaming of? I like to listen to a lot of podcasts and while I have fallen off of them lately, one of the podcasts I have listened to is Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing. It’s about 15-20 minutes long and it comes out every Tuesday. One of Emily’s practices is at the end of every season she will write out 10 things she learned during that season. I sort of took a page from her book and I have written out 10 things I learned this past year and I hope you won’t mind me sharing these this week.
2020 has sure been a rough year hasn’t it? The other day my son and I were riding somewhere and I commented to him that very thing. I was sort of lamenting like in a poor poor pitiful me way. He didn’t let me wallow for long as he looked at me and said “Mom, I think everyone would say that this year.” He was right. Nothing like your kids keeping you in line. So when I sat down to write out my 10 things I’ve learned I had to really reflect in my soul to begin with. And no I don’t think I would be alone in this. I know there were good things that happened to some people in 2020, there were marriages and births, there were people who fell in love, but we have also all had a lot missing from our life in 2020. We have had to learn new ways to do a lot of things. We are missing out on connections that were such a part of our every day lives. Some of the things we were so blessed to do and to have are just not readily available anymore. I went to church with my son yesterday and it was so sad to me that people walked in and sat and did church and then got up and walked out. We used to attend this church as a family and I could look down the corridor of the commons area and just remember faces and people who were hugging and laughing and talking and well, that’s not there anymore, at least not the way it was. But while this has been a very hard year for all of us. I don’t believe that one thing is ever wasted for the believer. I cling to that verse that says:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
So while I have thoroughly depressed you talking about what we have lost, I want to move on and talk about some of the things I learned.
- Even the best, well thought out plans won’t fly in the face of a pandemic.
- Don’t look too far out in the future.
Those two go hand in hand so I put them together. As I was thinking this idea of making plans way out in the future I had this verse come to mind.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
At the beginning of 2020 we were readying ourselves at our church to launch our new women’s ministry. We had an event in January, that went very well, even though we had to reschedule because of bad weather. We attended an event in February, we held a Ladies Bible Study but then March hit and we got put on lockdown because of the pandemic. We had big plans for the year that just didn’t happen.
But on another note, if the pandemic had not hit, I may never have had the courage to step out and start writing these devotionals. I feel I have learned so much about God and about myself because of spending time studying and writing something down. I hope and I think ,only because you tell me, that it blesses your heart as well. I want you to know every time someone writes out a thank you or shares a post I am overwhelmed and humbled. Thank you for your encouragement.
3. I learned to sketch.
This one may not seem super spiritual to you but to me it was huge. I believe that God wants us to use the gifts and talents that He gives us. While I have always enjoyed crafts and creating, there are a lot of things I have not been the best at. It’s kind of like the tapestry that may be beautiful on the outside but if you look on the inside or underside of it, it looks like a big mess. Well sometimes what I create also looks like a big mess on the outside. But at times I have actually stood back and thought “did I do that?” I have been painting for about 4 years now and I am not the best but I am not the worst either. I joined a class this year and one of the things that I learned in the class was sketching out a drawing for the painting. I believe that God wants us to continue to learn until the last breath comes out of our bodies and I believe that God wants us to do our best at it. In Proverbs the Proverbs 31 woman is working with her hands.
“She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.” Proverbs 31:19
What are you learning? What would your list consist of if you did a list of things you’ve learned this year. We will talk about more tomorrow but won’t you join me on this journey this week. Start a list of what 2020 taught you. Share if you like. Have a beautiful day today.
Thank you for reading. More on my list tomorrow.