The general consensus among The Internet™ is that 2020 was "just the worst." And maybe it was for some people. 2020 did see a lot of unemployment, death, fear, and overall weirdness. I am not pretending it didn't. Even I was affected by the circumstances surrounding the year in multiple aspects of my life. But I want to take a minute, step back, and look at 2020 in a different light. Just as turning on a lamp in a dark room improves visibility, sometimes a perspective change helps us see things differently.

I started 2020 in a way I've never before: by attending Passion Conference 2020. For three days, (NYE, NYD, and January 2), I was able to be in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA with 65,000 other people to worship God and learn more about Him. It was an amazing experience.

Except I broke my foot.

I was trying to get to my seat on NYE around 11 PM when I overstepped and whacked my left foot on the corner of the step. I walked on it the rest of the weekend, but when I got to the doctor the next weekend, I discovered it was cracked. I would be in a boot for the next four months, until May. That was and still is the first bone I've ever broken. And I did it less than an hour before the new year.

Oh yeah, that's so 2020, right?

And maybe it is. But that broken foot and the (or what felt like a) loooooooong time in the boot ended up being a good thing. See, when I finally was able to sit down and rest with a bag of ice on my foot at Passion, one of the first things I considered was "God is telling me to slow down." Why would I think that? Well, I move. No, I'm not Sonic the Hedgehog. But I do run a lot. I like running. I also do a million things. As I write this, I have the following active projects I'm working on:

  • This blog
  • An unedited podcast episode
  • A to-be-written podcast episode
  • A 2021 reading list
  • A static website generator to convert the Bricks in Motion Film Directory into a set of static HTML files
  • The entire #vss365 today project
  • A late Christmas gift of handwritten Bible verses in a notebook
  • Preperation for a 27-hole disc golf game in two days
  • Preparing for a possible 4 hour (one way) trip in 2 weeks
  • Seaching for a job

And I'm probably missing something from that list! That's how much I do. I move and I do quickly. I think fast, talk fast, write/type fast, work fast, move fast, and process things fast. So when I broke my foot, the fact my first fully-processed thought was "God is telling me to slow down" is significant. And indeed, I was forced to slow down, especially once March arrived and everything closed.

Indeed, that sounds very 2020.

But really, despite all the crazy that truly occurred in 2020, I don't consider it to be a bad year. Truthfully. every year is "bad." We (as in, the collective Internet™) declare every year to be bad. What is important is not what happens in the year but how we respond to it.

2020 gave me opportunities to do things I could not or would not have otherwise. I attended Passion 2020 and watched Passion 2021 at a local church. I started my podcast. I established new relationships. I deepened existing relationships with my closest people. I was able to serve my friends, classmates, roommates, and job in new and different ways. I was able to see God work through conversations that ended up being influential to me. And most importantly, I got to see God operate in ways I didn't expect.

At Passion 2020, Passion Music released the song There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do. The theme of Passion 2020 was "Roar." It was repeatedly spoken that it was our purpose in 2020 to roar, to loudly proclaim the power and glory of God. That there's nothing that stops God because He can do everything. Thinking about all those messages with 2020 in hindsight, they almost feel prophetic. No, we really couldn't do that as we expected we could. In fact, many of us felt helpless. One of my best friends texted me saying she felt defeated. She needed the encouragement of the messages but then when everything closed and even her local church had to completely pause services for a bit, she didn't see a way she could even meow, much less roar. Even I felt this way for a bit. Yet what does the song proclaim?

There's nothing that our God can't do
There's not a mountain that He can't move
Oh praise the name
That makes a way
There's nothing that our God can't do

Could a pandemic really stop God? Could mass fearful emotions quell His ability to move? Could global shutdowns really silence the everylasting, eternal voice? No, they couldn't and still can't. And 2020 showed that. For there were people who looked at the global mess and yet still believed that God was in control and knew He would make a way for His Word to get out. Those same people realized that this year of a pandemic was preperation for a revival not previously possible. In this time, they took the forced pause to build their relationship with God and get closer to Him so when things permitted they could boldy proclaim the Bible like never before, that there's nothing that God can't do, to a fear-stricken and hopeless people.

That doesn't sound like "the worst" to me.

When I broke my foot, yes, I was bummed. Walking was slower. I couldn't run. That mentally taxed me because I love running. But I instead looked at the boot and broken foot and said "You know what? Let's slow down and use this to my advantage." Because I couldn't do as much as I wanted, dove into the Bible and increasing my understanding of awe of God and who He is. I spent more time with friends and got to know them better. And when graduate school started and I fell into a depression like I've never expeienced, those same people were by my side encouraging me and speaking life into me just as I had done for them earlier in the year. I didn't plan that. And when I dropped out and lost my job, they continued to support and encourage me in ways I didn't expect. There was a love from them for me that I didn't expect. I could have looked at all this and said "screw it." Yet God's love showed up and lifted my perspective above my circumstances. His love poured out to me through friends reminded me that there's purpose beyond the moment. That in the present time, I was and am being prepared for something to come.

That makes the "worst" have a purpose: to lead me into the "best."

So what is the perspective that was given in 2020? I think it's summed up well in Passion Music's newest song You Are The Lord:

You are the Lord
Let the nations sing
You are the Lord
Jesus King of Kings
You are the Lord
Holy Holy Holy is Your name
Holy Holy Holy is Your name

No matter what happens, God is still Lord. Dictionary.com defines "lord" as a "person who has authority." To say one is the "King of kings" means that are the supreme ruler. The perspective of 2020 that I hold and am carrying into 2021 is simple: God is Lord. There's nothing that escapes His eye. There's nothing that He can't do. There's no one like Him. He knows what is happening, what is going on, and how it will all play out. Because of that, I can trust Him.

That's it.

That's the whole perspective for 2020 and 2021.

God is Lord.

Instead of living in fear, living with faith.
Instead of stepping back, boldly step up.
Instead of being afraid, take heart! Have courage!
Intead of feeling hopeless, remember Jesus is hope.
Instead of letting circumstances consume me, praise God every day.
Instead of wondering if I'm wanted and accepted, accept God's agapē love.
Instead of dwelling in the worst, recongize the Godly preperation for the best.
Instead of trying to control my steps, let God guide and lead me down His way.
Instead of letting everyone dictate how I react, let God teach me how to respond.

Everyday in 2021 and beyond, I want to let God be God and keep my eyes focused on Him. I want my perspective to remain on and in Him.


Featured image: https://www.designbolts.com/2013/08/30/words-as-actions-a-fun-typography-project-by-arun-raj/