2020 has been a different and challenging year for all of us. But, God never sends us challenges without also sending us the opportunity to learn more about Him and His plan for us.
As we close out this year and anticipate the new one, take a moment to think back over 2020 and what God has taught you and brought you through this year. Pause, reflect, and give thanks.
Now that you have thought about what God has taught you this year and thanked Him for His faithfulness and grace, are you ready to take a flying leap with me? Good! Because we are going to skip back even further than 2020 for just a minute and look at 2019. That will set the stage for my word of the year and what I learned in 2020. Let’s go!
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Hebrews 11:10 was the verse that I chose for 2020. It reflected my word of the year:
If you’re anything like me, you find yourself often tied down to earth, focused on what you are doing, forgetful of where you are going. It’s easy to do.
When I’m getting through my morning routine, eating my meals, or straightening my room, I find my thoughts going to things that relate to my life right now, often things that are not that important. Even worse, other times I become fearful about the future.
I picked perspective for my word of the year well before 2019 was over. Let me tell you a little story about where I got the idea.
I was really struggling with fear and anxiety about my family, my dog, and other things. The slightest little thing that happened would panic me. Then one day, I got some really sad news. A good friend of mine sent me a message letting me know that a girl I knew of had been tragically killed in a car wreck. This girl was only in her early twenties.
You’re probably thinking that this news only made my anxiety worse. Actually this news, although it saddened me deeply, helped to put things in perspective. It showed me that my worry comes from focusing only on this life.
When I realize that I have the hope of spending eternity in Heaven with my loved ones, why do I need to stress? I get stressed when I try to create Heaven on earth by always keeping everyone healthy and happy. This is not reality for earth and never will be, but it is for Heaven!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.
1 Peter 1:3-6
It was this experience and the things God was teaching me that helped me to choose perspective as my word of the year for 2020.
My verse of the year talked about Abraham and how he gave up his comfortable life because he viewed life from an eternal perspective. That is something we can all work on improving and implementing into our lives.
This brings us to 2020, the year that is closing!
Perspective was a really good word of the year for me. The year did not go as planned for me or anyone else. Amid disappointments, uncertainties, and fears, it has been such a blessing to know that we have hope outside of this fallen world. We may have missed out on things we hold dear, graduations, attending weddings, birthday parties, fill in the blank whatever it was for you, but what was all of that in light of the hope of eternity?
This year has made it more obvious just how short and fragile life is, but that’s no reason to be discouraged. We have hope: the hope of Heaven!
Now don’t take me wrong. I haven’t thought about all of this as much as I should have, and I have been very overwhelmed and discouraged at times this year. But this wasn’t because the promise of God’s faithfulness wasn’t there. It was because I had my eyes off of the Lord and on my circumstances.
Another thing that 2020 has made crystal clear to me and my family is the need to slow down.
Now slowing down is not exactly a new concept. It’s something we’ve probably all heard about a lot of times. But hearing about something and actually being forced into doing it are two different things.
I would like to leave you with 3 things slowing down taught us this year.
Busy isn’t always best.
What do I mean by this? In other words, just being busy doing things is not the goal of life. Sometimes it is better to empty our schedules and make time for the things that are truly important.
Running hither and thither makes us feel productive, but that doesn’t mean that we are. It is important that we don’t let busyness crowd out the important things in our lives such as being quiet before the Lord and spending quality time with our families.
Busy isn’t always progress.
It is possible for us to be busy all the time and still be missing out on what God wants us to be doing. You may be thinking, “But I’m already so overwhelmed and don’t have extra time, so I know that I can’t do anymore for God.”
I have felt about like this for a lot of my life. It’s quite possible that we have been doing things that seem good to us, but that may not be the very best God has for us. This is one reason that it is important to be still before Him and find out what HE wants us to be doing.
Even things that are ministry related can be a hindrance when our priorities are not straight. God doesn’t expect us to do everything, but He does have things He is calling us to do. We need to listen to Him and the authorities He has put in our lives to help us find out what those things are.
Busy is almost always possible.
Even when life is simplified and you are spending a lot of time at home, it’s still easy to fill your schedule and stay busy doing things. This is especially true when you figure in technology and that you can “go places” while you are sitting on the couch.
At times it is important to take some time and set aside some things that make life busy. This is something the Lord has been teaching me. I had filled my life up with busyness to the point of always feeling behind, and this is not the way God intends us to live. He does not give us more to do than what He gives us the time and strength for
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:”
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
As we say goodbye to 2020 and embrace a new year, let’s look to the Lord, seek His will for our lives and His strength each day to do His will. He is faithful!
I hope that you each have a happy celebration of New Year’s over the next couple of days!!
What lessons has God taught you in 2020? Did you have a verse or word of the year? If you are comfortable sharing, please leave them in the comments so that we can encourage each other!
What an encouraging post, Bethany! My word of the year was accomplish. While I didn’t get to accomplish everything I’d hoped to because of unforeseen events, it was still a good year for me, and the Lord gave me grace for the difficult times when things didn’t go as planned.
Thank you for commenting, Hannah! I’m really glad that you found this post encouraging. Yes, I think that this year has been a good reminder of how little control we have over our lives, but how safe we are resting in the security that God is in control!
I’ve never done this whole word-verse thing for the year, but it’s starting to sound like a good idea :D. My verse would probably Hebrews 12:3, and my word would be… “listen”. I loved Hebrews 12:3 when I was memorizing it and I want to be able to “consider Him” and not give up. I also REALLY want to learn how to listen to what God has to say to me. I know I am way too unproductively busy and I’m not in God’s Word enough or in quiet time with Him. I’m grateful you posted this and that I ignored the quiet nagging to get busy on what I had planned. <3
That’s a great verse, and I love how you paired it with the word listen. We really should meditate on Jesus and listen to Him, or we will find ourselves bogged down and weary with the cares of this world. It’s a blessing that we can learn and grow together! Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment!
I have never had a word of the year, either, but a two or three days ago, I chose the word “Listen” for my word of the year 2021. How much I need to listen! To listen to the still, small Voice of my Heavenly Father, to listen to my parents when they lovingly instruct me or ask me to do something. To listen to others when they tell me their woes and long for a listening ear. To listen to my siblings when they want to spend time with me or simply want me to listen to them, to listen to God’s Word, to listen to the lessons that God would teach me through Nature if I would but listen and pay attention. To listen, listen, listen…
Thank you, Grace, for your comment! I was so surprised when I read that you chose the word “listen”, too!
I’m not sure yet what my verse would be, but just now I am thinking about Psalm 32:8 “I will guide thee with Mine eye…” A good friend told me that this verse is talking about God’s desire to guide me with His eye, but the only way He can do that is if I LOOK into His eyes! He can’t guide me with His eye, if I am looking down or looking at other things/people. Oh that I would always have the childlike confidence to trustingly look into my Father’s eye, and… LISTEN!
Thank you so much for sharing about your word of the year! I think it’s so special that you and Grace were thinking about the same word. One of my goals for this blog was for it to be a place where we could encourage each other in the Lord and share with each other, and I’m so blessed to be seeing that happen. I like what you said about the verse of God guiding us with his eye. Another thing I’ve heard about that verse is that it means we know our Heavenly Father and respond to His gentle nudges. Just as we can read certain looks that our parents give us, so we should be sensitive to the gentle nudges of the Lord. That goes perfectly with the idea of listening and being attentive!
Wonderful, Agape! I sure struggle listening to God and even to others we love. It’s especially hard when I’m so fast-paced that I hear the wrong thing, and then feel defeat when it fails or I find out it was the wrong thing–even if I just need to wait a couple of years.
Love the verse you thought of and shared! Both how you and Bethany see it makes great sense! 🙂