Reflections on 2020: A Needed Surprise

This year has been one for the books. Make no doubt about it. Political tension, a pandemic, continued racial discrimination, and a list of other things will be forever etched in our memories. I do not write this to make light of the difficulties people have experienced this year. My heart honestly breaks for them. This post will simply be a documentation of my thoughts in hopes that these words might help someone along the way.

Earlier this year, let’s just say the decrease of interaction we had here in South Carolina due to the pandemic was depressing for me. Tons of thoughts from the past came back up…things I had forgotten. These things brought back memories and feelings I didn’t realize existed. My conclusion was I had a lot more healing to do. 2020 lesson for you – delaying the process of dealing with your hurt will create a bigger mess for you later so take it slow and unpack it early (trust me on this one).

This year has obviously been one of self-discovery. In my ministry to pastors, I faced my one baggage. These guys have honestly been a blessing to me. Their struggles helped me face my own, and I was genuinely able to walk WITH them. Another lesson – when walking with someone through life’s challenges, don’t take the “I’m the expert” approach; they need humility on your end.

Several years ago, I heard TD Jakes speak of God’s will as something we “stumble into” as we take daily steps of obedience rather than it being some far-off mystical revelation. I’m not here to endorse or bash this pastor, but what he said resonated with me. Such was the case this year. I was daily doing my thing when an opportunity came my way. I had not preached a single sermon in 2019. I was discouraged by some doors to ministry positions that had closed and a failed attempt at a church plant, so I was ready to throw in the towel, plop my rear end in a church seat, and simply be a cheerleader to a pastor. Then came the first Sunday in March when I was asked at the last minute to preach at a home for men who are recovering from addiction. I’m happy to say I have preached 5 messages there this year and one in our church. The fire is still there. Lesson #3 – When God calls you, He doesn’t uncall you. He does, however, reassign us at times to allow us time to heal.

This year has forced me to slow down. I was not really going too hard, but I wasn’t enjoying what was around me. I was too busy going through the motions. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better at being present in the moment. My oldest son will graduate high school this year, and all the others are growing up quickly. I need to be celebrating the little moments before they’re gone. Someone put it this way this week – stop focusing on “What if” and start embracing “what is”.

If I didn’t start taking back my life, God only knows where I would be. I am celebrating some victories this year. My anxiety is becoming more manageable, and I have lost 19 pounds this year. While I’m thrilled about that, I am setting more goals for weight loss, exercise, and stress and time management. I’m determined to enjoy life no matter what is happening around me.

Enjoying life really is a choice. We can lament or we can allow God to turn our mourning into dancing. I’ve mourned enough. It’s time to dance. I don’t encourage you to watch me dance because my dancing is ugly, but my God delights in it. Wishing you a blessed 2021!

6 thoughts on “Reflections on 2020: A Needed Surprise

  1. Matthew, I really appreciate what you said, “When God calls you, He doesn’t uncall you. He does, however, reassign us at times to allow us time to heal.” I’m trying to discern if God is reassigning, or simply putting my writing on pause.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “stop focusing on “What if” and start embracing “what is”.” Good advice. Your thoughts about God’s call are helpful, as well. The gifts and calling of God are “without repentance”, as it says somewhere in Romans. Blessings to you in the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

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