I’m back from India with a holiday and travel hangover. 2020 is starting a month late for me, but the trip to India brought closure to one of the most significant years of my life.
So here are twenty things from 2019 that I’m taking into 2020.
1. Americans need to learn true rest. In India, as in other cultures, things shut down in the afternoon for a time of rest. It’s a principle I’m embracing for the future. Not that I’ll be napping each afternoon, but I’m ready to slow down a little before I die. Really.
2. People matter. Chuck Swindoll impacted my life over twenty years ago when I heard his quote, “Only two things are eternal: God’s word and people.” It’s been my life’s motto. But social media brings a new dimension to relationships that pulling back from. My friend Scott Newport’s video on the work he does hits a core with me. In 2020, I want to spend more time with people, and less time on social media.
3. God is worth pursuing. I’ve written about my faith crisis in 2019. As I chased after God, he met me consistently where I was. He did it gently, without shame. I hoped to see him or hear him in charismatic ways. But he met me in a gentle whisper, over and over again.
4. Chronicling God’s faithfulness is critical to your faith. My spiritual practices include journaling as I read my Bible, often journaling prayers. In 2019, I wrote down the small ways God met me, often so subtle they could have been overlooked. By writing them down, I have seen God’s beautiful work in my life and in the life of others. In the noise of the news and social media, we can’t hear the whisper of God. Biblical examples of marking places where significant things happen have relevancy in our lives, too. How do you mark God’s quiet work in your life?
5. Parenting is exhausting. The milestone of fledging our last to college brought the words, “I’m tired” to my lips when people asked me how I was doing. Hearing my friends with kids in high school express their exhaustion validated those words. Parenting takes everything from you, especially parenting teens. So mamas in the throws of raising kids, there’s a reason why you’re tired. But take care of yourself while you’re doing it. (My first book will help you know how to).
6. I want to be a disciple of Christ, not a cultural Christian. I don’t know where to start when talking about American Christianity. A steady diet of Christian social media, news, and Christian pop culture barely resembles the gospel of Christ or the character of God as seen throughout Scripture. Both progressive and evangelical Christianity is a poor representation of biblical Christianity. I want to be a disciple of Christ and live my life in response to the living word of God and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I encourage you to do that, too, in it’s simplest form.
7. Marriage is worth the work. The Mister and I were mere babies when we married in our early twenties. We celebrated thirty years of an imperfect marriage in 2019. As our house has emptied in recent months, we’re learning what it means to be partners together. Friends outside of our kids. We have grown and struggled and been faithful to each other, God, and family. That’s worth something. I feel like I’m just learning the value of growing old together, of compromise, and having someone who loves you despite imperfection.
8. The unchanging character of God, as seen in Scripture, is comforting truth in a changing culture. The American culture seems to be spinning out of control. But God’s character, as revealed throughout Scripture, grounds me. It provides hope, guidance, and meaning. It’s truth to which you can cling.
9. I want to connect with others through common humanity. It seems qualities of humanity are diminishing. Our empathy, love, compassion, problem-solving skills, creativity, and place in life, community, and culture is being robbed by the dehumanizing of our race, artificial intelligence, and idolization of technology. In 2019, I’ve found connecting face to face with others to be the most important part of my day, whether it’s with people I know or having a genuine conversation with a stranger at Walmart. We need each other. Desperately.
10. Kids need healthy adults in their lives. I want to be available for my own kids, for kids in our community, and for parents raising kids because kids and families are in crisis. Pornography, suicide, mental health, drugs, violence, technology, social media, and the dehumanization of kids creating a public health crisis. Everyone’s talking about it, but few solutions are systemic. In 2020, I’m disconnecting from social media more and investing in the lives of parents and kids in my sphere of influence, outside of my counseling practice. Kids need healthy adults in their lives. If you’re healthy, there is someone who needs you. Especially your own kids and grandkids.
I’ll share ten more things I’m taking with me in 2020 next week in Part 2 of this series. I’d love to hear from you. What are you learning? Where have you seen God move in your life?