I remember the early days of motherhood, when I’d gently place my young daughter in her crib, keep my hand on her until I felt her breathing fall into a slow pattern and her body relax into sleep. But I knew any sudden movement might wake her and restart the process. Only this time, she’d be a little more tired, a little more grumpy, and a lot more difficult to get her to relax. So, I would gingerly tiptoe across the floor and slowly—veerrryyy slowly—close the door.
It is the same way many have been backing out of the year 2020. Slow and easy. No sudden movements. Let’s make sure we don’t wake what we want to get a break from. Maybe some are running away as quickly as they can to put as much distance between themselves and the past year. I’m not sure if either approach to the transition between 2020 and 2021 is beneficial.
If we run or if we back out and try to leave it all behind a closed door, we miss many of the lessons we’ve learned. We miss the strength we’ve developed through the heavy lifting of struggles and challenges. We miss the gratitude of the moments we could appreciate even in the context of chaos and uncertainties. We might still be in a process of grief over family, friendships, finances, business, and more. We can’t simply cut that off. We might be in the process of forgiveness, and to abruptly walk away from it invites bitterness.
We will take pieces of the past year—and any year—with us. Will we take bitterness with us or healthy appreciation and lessons that become building blocks for our present and future?
We are not escaping 2020. We need pieces of it. It’s part of us. But it doesn’t define us.
We are transitioning into 2021. We might be tentative to embrace it, because we’re not sure what it will involve. I’d rather trust God’s preparation than sit on the edge with an anticipation of the next dropped ball. If we keep the “well, I’m not surprised because it’s just a crappy time” expectation, we’ll dismiss the challenges and miss the growth. We’ll minimize the invitations into gratitude.
Life is tough. For many, it’s had more challenges than seem reasonable lately. But there is hope. There is faith. There is joy. None of those things exist in a vacuum of our comfort. They are developed and revealed through the authenticity of life.
I am ready. I don’t know what’s ahead. I’m sure I won’t feel prepared or capable at times. But I will trust God each step of the way. I’ll give him the highs and the lows. I’ll filter my experiences through his perspective. I’m ready not because of who I am but because of who he says I am and who he has been, is, and will forever be.