I initially thought 2020 was a bit of a wash as I could only recall falling short on all the goals I had set.
Leading up to 2020 I had made some huge shifts and changes. A completely new career was on the horizon in a completely new industry with a predictable schedule and vastly limited global travel in comparison to the past many years. I spent the whole month of December 2019 goal planning mapping out the coming year with great anticipation. I was ready to harness this “shift” and make some great strides towards some personal and family goals. I felt like heading into 2020 I turned out the lights on a lifetime in one “full time” career and business and shut the door behind me as I entered into a completely different world and as soon as the door shut behind me, March of 2020 hit and it felt like the “lights” got turned out on the world.
I kinda felt in these last few weeks as I looked back on 2020 that I was just now emerging from the ‘daze and confusion’ of a world flipped on it’s head. Time certainly, the older I have gotten, feels like a BLINK – but I am not even sure I blinked in 2020? Kinda felt like I have been standing jaw and eyes wide open staring in amazement at what has transpired in the last 10 months.
I had bought a countdown to Christmas 2020 calendar just after Christmas 2019 as a reminder that Christmas 2020 would be here again before I knew it and to not let the year pass without massive awareness and push towards the things I had determined I wanted to work towards. As I left my office the other day I folded the calendar up and did the walk of shame over to the trash and stuffed it in with a sigh and a huff under my breath. Shaking my head as I could only summon thoughts of how I had fallen so short.
As we sit on a new year I was contemplating if I wanted to spend the energy and time reflecting, planning, goal setting heading into 2021? or if I would be better served to just take some quick notes and “deal” with 2021 as it comes. I landed on the coles notes version – which basically consisted of a conversation in my head – yada yada yada – rub a dub dub thanks for the grub, so be it, lets get moving on.
So I kinda just dropped it and decided to move on, but God is so good and he “picked it up” and handed it right back to me. After a good healthy dose of dishevelled chaos amongst the holidays Jen and I found ourselves sporadically caught up in getting some order back in the house. Even the kids got in on it. As we all diligently worked away on different parts of the house, filling recycling bins, cleaning out shelves and rearranging dressers, a journal of mine somehow found it’s way onto my bedside dresser. At one point I glanced at it and thought – oh where did that come from – I thought I barely used that I should get at that later – and then hastily headed back to restoring the order around the house.
Later that day – you know – in one of those dreamy moments during the holidays when the house is tidy the kids are settled in and not arguing and you can find a corner in an open area of your house and actually sit peacefully undisturbed; I found myself cracking open the journal I spotted earlier – only to discover it contained all my work, notes, review and journalling I had done back as the clock flipped from 2019 to 2020.
Oh friend you probably need to hear this too!
How horribly good we are at discounting ourselves, at noticing not how far we have come but how far we fall short. I felt like God was whispering in my ear holding me tight and looking through that journal with me. You see I can fiercely and adamantly explain to you in great detail where I dropped the ball. But there in my notes amongst all the ball drops lived some “home runs” very specific and outlined goals with timelines on them that I had in fact accomplished. What became evident to me is I had doubled down on some of the things that were my highlights from the previous year. Some of the take away lessons had in fact been lived out this past year and I had barely noticed the significant shift as I was so distracted with my short comings.
I walked away from this moment with two thoughts.
(1) I must put my notes / thoughts somewhere close – where I am reminded of them and can see them frequently – I literally wrote them out and went through the exercise and did not “look” and them after that. Had I reviewed them more often throughout the year I would have noticed the progress and reminded myself of WHY it mattered.
(2) I must celebrate the victories – take time for review – reflecting on lessons passed and look ahead as I build on them. I was so hyper aware of where I missed the mark and I found myself choosing to partner with a lamenting and frankly grumbling, indifferent spirit, dragging a sense of discouragement into 2021. God showed me the highlights, the take aways, He impart me with some wisdom heading into 2021 and as always He revealed the power of forgiveness and took from me the burden and shame I was planning on holding on to. That is the difference of condemnation over conviction. With condemnation we choose to pull our short comings into the dark and suffocate under the weight of shame. God has shown me his way is conviction. Where short comings are shamelessly brought into the light where they can be forgiven and we can move forward in freedom with new found wisdom.
So maybe you need to hear this too – you have done better than you are allowing yourself to believe friend. God’s great plan did not require you to hold onto or succumb to the burden of your short comings. I am personally thankful for this season, where we celebrate the redemptive love of a baby born in a manger with the most powerful gift we can receive – forgiveness.
Psalm 86:5 “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”