Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Why 2020 is NOT a loss

When I first envisioned what I'd write about this week, God put on my heart tips for restarting your goals if the first quarter of 2020 wasn't all you envisioned it to be. Encouragement that it wasn't too late to begin and there was no shame in restarting.

That was before we knew what "social distancing" was. Before EVERYONE'S 2020 wasn't what they envisioned it would be.

So I wouldn't dream of sharing planning techniques and logistics when much of what we had planned for tomorrow is cancelled and our physical, mental, and emotional needs depend on focusing our attention to the present. When people need gentle arms around them right now so much more than a nudge toward the future.

I've been listening a lot, looking to the truth tellers who have never steered me wrong. We are ALL trying to navigate something new here, and it looks different for everyone. But there are a few truths God has put on my heart that stay the same no matter how much our world changes.

God's plans for us in 2020 are most certainly not cancelled. He is not surprised or taken off guard by this global pandemic. Even in the scary and uncertain and uncharted waters, he is unmoving. And he is working. He's still on the throne. (I've had to remind myself of that truth a lot.) The truth is that he has ordained a plan for your life in 2020. We just have to trust in his goodness and sovereignty more than usual.

"Am I being led by love or moved by fear?" One of my favorite Emily P. Freeman quotes is still an excellent guiding question to ask ourselves as we evaluate how we spend our time and what decisions we make. While it's important to be practical and follow our leaders' guidelines to keep ourselves and others safe, someone who is led by love will actively seek to love on and serve others (for example, checking in on a grandma or a single person home alone) opposed to fear for their own future (i.e. a scarcity mentality/hoarding a basement full of toilet paper).

Who we BECOME during this time is so much more important than what we do. If you look around, some people have shifted into action to make sure life looks as normal as possible and they stay on track to meet their goals. Ahem, I'm talking about a friend. They're creating the perfect productivity routine. Researching and crafting a successful homeschooling plan. Starting a side project. Reading the Kindle backlog in its entirety. Training for a marathon and doing all the fitness challenges people are posting on Instagram.

Filling their days with whatever they can in the hope that busyness will equate to purpose.

Sometimes we get so focused on hustle that we neglect our hearts and miss the fact that much of the time, God's direction looks more like moving one step at a time with HIM than sprinting so hard we can't hear anything over the sound of our own breath.

Yeah. Totally talking about "a friend."

The forced stillness, the change of scenery, and the threat to our livelihoods can tell us a lot about ourselves and where our values lie. Some of that will be ugly, hard to swallow. All of it is harder to discern when we're constantly moving, relatively safe, and going about a predictable routine.

But God can use that to reveal the important work he wants to do in us and through us and, most importantly, with us.

Let me leave you with this benediction for 2020, whatever it looks like for us: 

May we focus on who he is with us in the present when we're uncertain about the future.
May hope rise because this doesn't change who God has always been.
May we be led by love instead of moved by fear.
May we listen more than we speak and discern what's TRUE from what's distorted by fear.
May we be more focused on what our hearts and bodies are telling us about what we need today instead of hustling for what we want tomorrow.
May we draw closer to the Father and become more familiar with the sound of his voice.


Laurie Tomlinson is a wife, mom, future RN, and the award-winning contemporary romance author of That’s When I KnewWith No Reservations, and The Long Game, currently featured in the Once Upon a Laugh novella collection. 

She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.

You can connect with her on her WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram.


Caryl Kane said...

Laurie, Thank you for sharing your heart! I believe this is a time to cultivate our intimate relationship with the Lord. It's time to get our house in order for our King is returning soon.

May we, speaking also to myself, use this time wisely.


kaybee said...

Laurie, so much to think about here. And so many lessons to learn from this train wreck of everything we knew. I'm a control freak and someone (who I happen to be married to) is having a laugh over this because there is virtually nothing I can control. We do need to listen to the sound of His voice. And tune out everything else except the CDC

Beth K. Vogt said...

Perspective is everything, Laurie -- and I love your insights on 2020, the year no one expected. Thank you, friend.

Laurie Tomlinson said...

@Caryl - YES to that! I agree completely!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

@Kathy - Love that from a fellow control freak. Tune out everything else except the CDC is an excellent rule :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

@Beth - Thanks for reading <3