Every new year for the past five years instead of choosing a resolution, I have chosen a word to reflect on for the year to come.
My word for 2020 was growth. Really? The irony.
2020 was a lot of unwanted rest. 2020 was a lot of rejection. 2020 was a lot of hurt and pain and confusion and grief. 2020 was a lot of learning about myself and discovering who I am as an individual outside of my normal comfort zone. This past year was a lot of things but while growth is hard, it was by far continually the biggest theme the Lord was trying to teach me.
Seasons of transition can be extremely overwhelming. My senior year of college was certainly one of those times, and I can remember sitting in my campus chapel before anyone had even heard the word “coronavirus” more stressed out than I had ever been before with graduation approaching, begging God for rest. Everything in the first month of 2020 had seemed to have so much pressure on it and then He gave me a whole year of rest (jokes on me). I applied to jobs for months all across the country and didn’t get any of them because the Lord knew that this was a season I needed to spend with my family, and to refocus on His plan for my life rather than forcing my own way. In total transparency, I fought with God a lot this year. Because my plans looked so different from God’s and I’m a control freak. In January of 2020 I planned to finish my senior year of college with my best friends, serve the Lord as a missionary in Europe for a couple months after graduation, come back to the states and get a job in higher education while completing my Master’s program, and be prepared to jump headfirst into post grad life. As you can probably assume, that’s not what happened.
I had no clue when I chose my silly word “growth” to pray over a year ago, how much God would really push me out of my comfort zone and 5-year-plans to grow me in such unexpected ways throughout the past several months. It was hard, slow, and genuinely transformative. When I was starting to pray over what the Lord wanted me to grow in and focus on over 2021, I so desperately wanted it to be something big like “action”, “ambition”, or “rejuvenate” after such a slow-paced year; but instead the Lord continually laid the word “patience” on my heart.
I have been in a season of waiting on the Lord for a long time in several different aspects of my life. Patience has never been something I have exceled at because I am an extremely passionate and busy person. Habakkuk 2: 3 says, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay”. As cliché as it sounds the Lord’s timing is not always our timing, and we might get a lot of no’s because he has better yes’s already prepared for us if we would just be patient. I believe that part of our calling as Christians is to trust in the fact that at the appointed time God will fulfill His promises and plans for us. That requires practicing patience in our own lives and personal walk with the Lord.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want the coronavirus to be gone now, we want our dream job to effortlessly fall in our lap a month after graduation, we want to be settled down with our cute family and perfect job living in the suburbs with our whole lives already figured out right now. As ambitious people we hold ourselves to a higher standard but there is a reason the Lord calls us to be patient and doesn’t tell us every detail of our story right now. He needs to grow and learn and be challenged.
A couple months ago I took a spontaneous leap of faith and moved to a new city two hours away from everything I had ever known to live alone in the middle of a global pandemic while I finish graduate school for a fresh start after undergrad. As a highly extroverted person uncomfortable with silence, living alone in a pandemic while my job and graduate school were both virtual for months gave me a lot of much needed space to talk to God. As I near the end of graduate school in a couple months, I once again find myself in this season of transition, uncertainty, and patiently waiting on the Lord to reveal his plan to me.
I think in many ways, the Lord is calling all of us to be patient in this season of worldwide uncertainty and mass chaos, therefore I encourage you to join me in praying for patience in your own heart and mind this next year. Our world desperately needs the hope Jesus brings right now. Approaching 2021 with patience and trust rather than overwhelming anxiety will fix our minds on the things of heaven rather than the things of this earth. It’s a new year, it’s time for a new perspective.
Twenty Twenty-One the year of patience.