Reflections of Growth

“2020.”

I have a feeling that when we look back on this particular year, many of us will have feelings. Big feelings.

In fact, I believe many of us are experiencing them today differently than any of us ever have before. We’ve been faced with unprecedented situations – like a global pandemic – during a tumultuous election season during a time when social media has made global connection – and opinion – easier to access than ever before. I mean. Whoa.

On a more micro level, we’ve faced new challenges. We’re figuring out how to educate our families, while we deal with new fears and, well, lots of togetherness. Some of us are dealing with loneliness on a level that we’ve never experienced before. Some tensions we’ve been able to brush into the background in the past can no longer be ignored. We’re craving connection and dreading it all at once. It’s certainly something different.

Some days, I wonder if I’ll even make it through…When I do in fact get to the end of the day, I often look back with a feeling that I fell short, that I could have done more. It makes it awfully hard to see any growth or change – any positive growth or change, at least. I don’t think I’m alone in that. There’s a new heaviness that makes looking forward hard, and looking back painful.

When You Reflect Though, You Might be Surprised What You Find

While it may be difficult, however, when you get a chance to reflect, you might actually be surprised what you find.

I mentioned in my last post that I had this opportunity last week. During time spent with family, away from our quarantine norm, at the beach, I had time each day to run, to explore quiet for the first time in the while, and to just spend time in prayer away from the stressors that have become “normal.”

What I found is that, although by my standards I’ve fallen short nearly every day in terms of productiveness and even-temperedness, there have been ways God has been working on my heart that have been so desperately needed.

You see. Before all of this started, around this exact time last year, actually, I began working through a Bible study that encouraged me – and John – to pray for “anything.” (If you have not checked out Jennie Allen’s “Made for This” I cannot recommend it highly enough.)

During that time, I was challenged to lean in, to listen, and to follow. Also during this time, an opportunity arose in Washington D.C. for John (where, my company also happens to be located).

The thought of leaving was hard. We LIKE where we are now because of the family and friends we are surrounded by, and yet, the leading felt clear. While the opportunity seemed right, leaving our home here never did. Little did we know, a global pandemic was coming that would change everything, leaving us reliant on our little home base in central PA.

The idea of leaving felt hard. In all honesty, it felt impossible and bigger than I could bear. So. I didn’t. Thus, the going about life as though all was fine here in our bubble.

The time away at the beach, with just my thoughts, the ocean and my God, led to something else. I realized that this time of quarantine has been a time that God has been slowly – and gently, OH so gently – loosening my grip on this place that has always been a security blanket, asking me to lean on him instead of myself.

I don’t know what it means. But, I DO know that any time God is working on something, the result is always something that is outside of what we can picture. But the letting go? Boy. It’s hard. So very hard.

So while I cannot be sure what the future holds. I can be sure that I am not lost in it. That God is bigger than it. And that his glory is the ultimate plan.

Since we’ve returned home, the daily sense of being “less” than, has certainly crept in. BUT, being able to look back and see that important heart work has been happening, and that God has been here through it all; that’s been pretty helpful.

Where Has God Worked in Your Heart and Life During COVID?

I’d like to challenge you to look back. To get alone, to open God’s word, and to lay your heart bare before him.

What might this time mean for you and your family?

Where might he be leading?

What might you need to listen to and see today?

I can’t tell you what you’ll find, but I can promise that you aren’t alone, and that there’s a plan for all of this that’s so much bigger than we could ever imagine. Lay it out, friend. Reflection might be exactly what your weary heart needs today!

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