Wow. I can’t believe we made it…to the end of 2020.

2020 was deemed my year to seek boldness. I had no idea what that meant a year ago, but I trusted God would lead the way. And He did…in true God-fashion.

What I thought would be a year of bold opportunities ended up being occasions for pause, reflection, and redirection.

In my darkest moments of 2020, I found myself crying out to the Lord for strength, clarity, patience, and SO MUCH MORE.

Why would You put the word BOLD on my heart but then take away any chance to live a life of boldness?

Looking back at the last twelve months, I feel like I definitely failed at pursuing boldness. But when I push my frustrations and disappointments aside, I discover my expectations were in fact fulfilled through unexpected moments.

My own words expressed in my first post of the year refreshed my memory of the main goal I set for my 2020 year of seeking boldness:

“I believe I am supposed to spend 2020 learning to continuously die to my self in order to discover further alignment with my God-ordained assignment.” [excerpt taken from “Seeking Boldness”]

Reading words I wrote is eerie because it puts everything [that occurred this year] into perspective.

It makes me wonder – maybe God planned for Covid to detour my plans (and yours too) so we could be redirected to the plans He had planned for us in the first place?

Go ahead and make all the plans you want, but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:1 (TPT)

I think sometimes we need our plans to be halted, detoured or eliminated so we can be reminded we are not the ones in control. Or as I wrote at the beginning of the year, “God is the one writing your story and He is the only one with the pen.”

If you’re a perfectionist, are Type-A, a control freak or an obsessive planner, you don’t like your plans altered or your life shook up. You prefer things easy, clean and prepared. Or maybe that’s just me…

Friend, we must not forget that God’s message is often found within the messiest parts of life! And goodness, 2020 was a pigsty!

It was in the messiness of 2020 that God revealed some messages to me.

Here are the things I learned in my year of SEEKING BOLDNESS:

1.) Sometimes, the BOLDEST thing you can do is to DO NOTHING AT ALL

When everything was closed, cancelled or put on-hold, we were gifted the overlooked opportunity to simply berather than do. For many, this meant extra time spent with family, cozy cuddles watching movies or reading a book, a much-needed nap, long-awaited projects finally being completed, and so much more.

Without getting into the negatives, I want to give credit to 2020 providing so many people with moments to slow down, reset and be present. For someone who is a doer, like myself, this was incredibly challenging after the first week of experiencing life in quarantine. Yet I do believe the empty calendars and blank schedules brought a lot of joy, release, reflection and perspective to those who took the time to acknowledge the good within a bad situation.

It wasn’t always easy or fun – I could go down a rabbit hole of frustration recounting the many “can’ts” that were prohibited rather than recalling the many “cans” that were allotted. Instead, I want to remember the gift of a slower pace of life in 2020 and the mundane moments that breathed life back into weary souls.

2.) Living in the present is the present that keeps on giving

Similar to the lesson of slowing down in 2020 is the lesson learned of living in the present.

People often drift through life either in a zombie-like state or in an overly distracted, loud, and busy blur. I don’t know about you, but my personal life was packed with a calendar full of events, activities and obligations pre-pandemic.

When we are busy or when life is loud, we become distracted to the life that is going on right in front of us. We allow busyness to take over because deep down we fear we’re not doing enough, we don’t have enough or simply that our worth, identity and/or purpose will never be enough.

In our distracted state, we become a shell of the person we were created to be. Whether we realize it or not, when we are busy or distracted we hide who we are, what we feel, and sometimes, the ideologies or morals we believe. In the process, we get caught up in the whirlwind of a fast-pace life and end up losing ourselves.

Living in the present and embracing the present moment is one of the best presents a person can receive but too often we take it for granted. Let us acknowledge there are always “things” to do or work to be done. We don’t want to miss the little moments because we’re too focused on the big events. 2020 taught me that the little things in life are the most valuable things in life.

Cherish the minute before you and the people around you. Don’t let them slip you by. They are a gift to open each day you are gifted life on this planet.

3.) Pruning is part of the process of pursuing your life’s purpose

I spent the last part of 2019 hyping myself up for 2020. Every single dream I dreamt and feeling I felt was all about me and what I wanted. I learned early on in 2020 that God had prepared a different path for me to travel on this year and the pandemic was one way to derail me from my selfishness.

It took baby steps for me to get where God wanted me to go in 2020 but once I got there, He removed the blinders from my eyes. Or how I’ve described it in various conversations, I felt like scales had fallen from my eyes and I could finally see the big picture. Not the BIGGER picture, but the big picture that has been placed before me at this time. I wasn’t able to see it before this year because I was too focused on myself and the opportunities I coveted. The irony is I had to push myself and my personal dreams/agendas/ambitions aside so God could allow me to dream bigger, with eyes wide open.*

Dying to one’s self kills your selfish wants, needs and desires (Luke 9:23). It leads you to experience a new fruitful way to live. When your passions and agendas are crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:24) you are able to follow Him whole-heartedly and will become realigned with God’s original purposes for your unique life (Galatians 2:20).

We’ve heard it said before that the way to become selfless is to think of our self less. This idea rings true if you think about it – the more preoccupied you are with yourself the more you feel (or believe) you are responsible for the success (or work) of whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.

So…this was me…yeah. Not the prettiest picture to paint of myself, but that is how I entered into 2020. Fortunately, the death of selfishness this year gave life to a bolder way to live.

4.) If you want to win the war, you must become a WARRIOR

When I was finally able to dream with eyes wide open, I started to see how the little pieces of my life thus far were coming together to make up the big picture of what’s to come. It was an unfamiliar call to be bold that redirected the track I was on, but it was a call I was prepared to answer because of everything I experienced in the months prior.

The call came during the summer of 2020 at the height of the nation’s racial tension and political unrest. It was the answer to the questions I had and the spark needed to re-light the fire that was extinguished early on in the year. It was the realignment of my assignment.

When we’re striving, surviving and seeking things of self, we forget that the way to go from A to Z is by traveling through the alphabet. Not LMNOPing like a toddler trying to finish the alphabet song quickly. Rather, going through letter by letter, tackling each letter individually and uniquely.

A prime example of this was experienced this summer. There was a lot of talk but really no action. As a doer and go-getter, I wanted “in” on the battle but felt I was “out” – out of touch, out of place, and out of words. I recognized I didn’t have much influence to impact the country, but I did have the ability to make a difference within my tiny sphere of influence. Specifically, those within my home, neighborhood, and local community.

If we want to win the war against Satan, we must become warriors for the Kingdom. Warrior training for me means unapologetically standing up for what I believe in. Letting my voice be heard, walking boldly in my faith, & venturing (waaaayyyy) outside of my comfort zone. A warrior for Christ goes, welcomes, and invites – bringing people together with the end goal to unite. Warriors fight against the force of culture because warriors know true community can win wars, change lives and impact the world.

When God pruned away my selfish desires, He planted a new dream in its place – the dream of discipling the next generation of image bearers residing within my local community. It’s a bold proposition but one I am ready to take on because I know God is with me and He will equip me. 2020 showed me that God prepared me for a time such as this and I am ready to show up for whatever He has in store. I want to bring glory to God’s name and grow His Kingdom. I want to make Heaven crowded and the way to do that is by spreading the gospel, shining light into dark places and speaking life into weary faces..

Followers of Christ must rise to the challenge – fight the battles, mend the wounds, & persevere for progress, not perfection. Warriors are needed to win the win and the war is far from over.

“Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.” ~ Ephesians 6:19-20 (CSB)

5.) If you want to do the Lord’s work, you have to do your homework

As soon as God redirected the path I was on, I realized I had a lot of work to do. Homework, that is.

Between the Covid-19 pandemic, racial tensions, and the 2020 election, I learned the only real truth that exists is found in the biblical truth of God’s Word. I don’t think I’m the only individual this year who learned that fake news is a very real threat to society. Likewise, “woke” culture is a direct result of individuals who are spiritually unawake. An equally disturbing truth in a year full of lies was the realization that false teachers, leaders, and influencers exist within the universal Church.**

One of my most frequent prayers throughout 2020 was the prayer to receive wisdom to navigate the unsteadiness, inconsistency, and deception of events, circumstances, and emotions experienced this year. As 2020 closes, it is my prayer that you will seek wisdom from our Sovereign God, daily, in and through every thought, word, decision, action, and conversation.

It has been said repeatedly in 2020 that we are living through unprecedented times but that is not entirely true. People like to forget history and dissect science until it fits into a certain narrative, but the truth of the 2020 matter is this – since the beginning of time humans have experienced tragedy, turmoil, weariness, disappointment, and more. The trials we endured, the incidences that occurred, and the emotions we’ve felt may be new to us, but they are not new to humanity.

Do your homework, friend. Take the time to research. Study the Word like your life (and the lives of your loved ones) depends on it…besides it does. Ask hard questions. Lay down any judgment. Push aside selfish agendas. Have difficult conversations. Practice what you learn and learn from your mistakes.

proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit—with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people. For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words of truth because they will become selfish and proud. They will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they want to hear. They will close their ears to the truth and believe nothing but fables and myths.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (TPT)

In closing…

There is a tendency to wish this year away or forget it ever existed. I refuse to do that.

This decade has only just begun and I sense the tides turning. Change is near, maybe not next year and perhaps not in this decade. Oh, but Lord, I do sense it will be in my lifetime and that anchors me on the rocky waters of this current time.

I pray my eyes will continue to be open to the opportunities around me while asking God to break my heart for what breaks His. I know there are many people, situations, and ideologies that are upsetting Him right now, but I also know that He specifically placed me, and you, in this time, place, and generation for very specific reasons.

2020 didn’t surprise God. I don’t know why we allow this year to come as a shock to us. May each of us learn from this year as go forward, following the way of the wise Leader who goes before us.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and I wish you many blessings for the new year!

~Christen

 

Little extras to check out…

*The Greatest Showman is one of my favorite movies and my favorite song from that movie is called, “Come Alive.” This song became the theme-song of my life in 2020. There is so much goodness in this song, from the tempo to the choreography and of course, the words themselves. [If you’ve never heard it before, check out this link!]

**I highly recommend watching the Netflix documentary, American Gospel