The past few days I have been reflecting on this year, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say what a year 2020 has been! While contemplating everything that has happened, I started writing down the lessons I learnt from it all, either from my own journey or just from observing people and circumstances around me. I have heard many people say they just want to move on and forget this year ever happened, but somebody once told to me that if we don't learn from history, history will repeat itself and that rings very true to me. So here are the 7 lessons I have learned from 2020, I do really hope that these will speak to you.
1) We should not be arrogant enough to plan our futures as if we control the outcome.
I'm sure that most of you did not expect 2020 to turn out this way. I'm sure that at the beginning of the year most of you may had already started planning things, schedules, booking flights, making arrangements and yet things probably did not turn out the way you expected. James 4:13-15 says this, “come now you who say today or tomorrow? We will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit, yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. But as it is you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
It’s not that planning is a bad thing, we should plan (and I especially love to plan things out in advance) but we should do it carefully, humbly and prayerfully, and with the awareness that we cannot control everything.
Many of us have had an arrogance (including myself) in thinking we have complete control over the outcomes of our lives. Referring back to the Bible it says in Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 139:16 that God has a good plan for our lives, but its up to us if we want to follow and align ourselves to those plans, or attempt to take our life and its outcomes into our own hands, which is risky at best. If we humbly surrender to our loving heavenly Father, standing firm in the knowledge that whatever happens, He has a plan for our good, and not our destruction we can face all things head on.
2) Check your foundations
What does the foundations of your life look like? Those things we put our security and our trust, and hope into. Is it in your job? Is it in your finances? Is it in your family? Is it in your relationship/s? It could even be in the false semblance of control you have of the smaller things in your life, like how clean your house is, or how rigorous your routine is, or what you look like….
What are those things that make you feel secure and in control? Matthew 7:24-27 to 27 says this, “therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house and yet it did not fall for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house and it fell and great was the fall”.
If you have your trust in anything else besides God, the Bible says that you’re are on shaky ground when life’s storms come around - and they will come. Ask yourself the question, did you discover in 2020 that your life and your security are built on the wrong foundations? Did you discover that your foundations are on shaky ground?
3) Check your company
Who do you keep company with or spend most of your time with? Because let me tell you this, just by looking at the people you spend time with and the people you surround yourself with, I can get a good sense of where you're heading and what your life will turn out to be like. There is a very good scripture in 1 Corinthians 15: 33 which says, “Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character. Who are those people in your inner circle? Who are you spending your time with? They have a greater influence over you than you may realize, and they will impact the outcome of your life. When you have a year like 2020, it really helps to have the right people, advice and voices around you.
4) Walk in gratitude.
During 2020 I realized that we have taken so many things for granted, the freedom that we have to move around, the freedom that we have to meet each other - just for a cup of coffee, even the freedom we have to socialize and spend time with our families, to hug one another etc. - all these things we can take so for granted. This year I learned to appreciate all those little things. Even the very air that we breathe has been given very generously to us by God. Let us not take it for granted. Often, we feel like we are entitled to certain things and we deserve them, but in Romans 6:23, says, “for the wages of sin are death”. All of us have sinned and fallen short, the Bible says, but God was gracious to us and provided a way for us to receive a new start and a new life. What we actually deserve is punishment and judgment. When we find ourselves feeling indignant that life is not going quite how we want it to, let us remind ourselves that on our own, we deserve nothing, every good thing we have comes from the Lord, and in remembering this we keep ourselves in a position of humility and gratitude, to the One who gave it all.
5) Stop looking around, look up
There are many terrible things that happened this year from pandemics to fires to violence in and other various things. The world is really escalating out of control and the more we try and fix it, the worse it seems to get. I think it’s time for us to stop looking around and instead look up, because 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “and if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land. How much are we in need of healing of our land? How much are you in need of healing of your life? How much do we need restoration? How much do we need the peace in our lives and our cities and our countries and our politics? We are not making things any better. At a time when focusing our attention on everything that is going on around us, which makes us feel despondent and hopeless, it’s time to look up, to the One who restores our hope.
6) Stop chasing and flirting with things that leave you feeling empty
Experiences, romance, friends, jobs, comforts and things in general will provide you with limited satisfaction, but will leave you in want at the end of the day. You can find true delight for your soul in God. Psalm 37:4 says this, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. We often look for happiness, contentment, peace, direction, identity and purpose in many different things, but they only provide a limited amount of satisfaction because what you were created for first and foremost, was to have a relationship with God, and anything outside of that may bring you some satisfaction for a while - but will ultimately leave you wanting. We have access to a relationship with Him, where we can find true peace, contentment, identity, purpose, direction and all those things we are all so desperately searching for. God promises us that if we put Him first in our lives, all these other things that we need, including our deepest desires, will be provided for by Him. Has everything you chased after this past year given you what you were looking for? Or were you left disappointed and empty?
7) “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him”
This is taken from my favorite pastor and teacher, Dr. Charles Stanley. “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him”, this is living life at its very best. Sometimes we don’t know what the future will hold or how things turn out (2020 proved that to us), but we can put our trust in God, and when we obey Him in every area of our life and make decisions according to what we feel He is telling us to do, we can have the peace of mind knowing that He will protect us and provide for all that we need. And coming back to my 2nd learning, if our foundations are in Him alone, we will be like the house that we built upon the rock. Matthew 6:33 reads, “but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you”.
These are the seven lessons that I learned from 2020, I want to encourage you to meditate on these things and where necessary to apply them, and if you do, I believe that 2021 and beyond will look very different from 2020, even if the circumstances we are surrounded with don’t change or improve at all.
If you are not sure how to get started, we would like to invite you to join our Neogenesis program which will help you understand and apply the principles and truths to your life that will help you grow and flourish. You can sign up on: https://www.jrevolution.net/program for our next quarterly face to face Zoom program. We hope you will consider re-writing your story and joining us on this journey.
Founder - Jrevolution