By Brittany Rust, Crosswalk.com
The last two years were really hard for me. And at the beginning of 2020, I pleaded with God for this year to be different—to be better. My word for the year was “health.” And that meant in every way possible: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Never in a million years did I imagine a pandemic would sweep through our nation, and the world, and so radically change our way of life.
Like so many of us, I prayed for a fruitful year...and got a barren one. I planned for health while the very idea of health was demolished on a worldwide level. The year 2020 has ushered in some level of wrecking all our plans, not just mine—and will be a year we remember for a long time.
Together, we’ve faced lockdowns, toilet paper shortages, people we know hit hard physically and financially, and shifts in our routines. And while we’ve all felt the hardship this year has brought, there have also been some unexpected benefits to this shift.
Not all is lost, or bad, as we finish out 2020. And while its effects have ranged from horribly tragic to simply inconvenient, it's valuable to reflect on the good. Here's the upside of COVID-19 wrecking our plans and expectations.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/fizkes
It's forced us to get creative.
One of the benefits of this season is that it has forced me, and many, to get creative. I’ve perhaps seen this most notably in the church. With doors forced closed, churches have had to learn to adapt. Many have stepped up their digital influence, creating opportunities for online church. While this has been a benefit to the season, let’s also be careful not to make it the norm.
Lots of churches have also been forced to be more intentional to maintain personal connections with their congregations. Some churches have rallied their entire staff to call their congregation in the thousands on a regular basis. One of the upsides of COVID-19 has been forcing the body of Christ to get creative in reaching both their people and the lost.
It has also forced us to get more creative on a personal level. Anyone with a kid can attest to this, am I right? More creative in engaging our kids educationally and relationally. My family was shut-in for the first two months, literally nonstop, and that’s one really good way to force creativity as a parent.
Perhaps even vocationally, this has impacted you. Many businesses have adapted to remote work, showing that it can indeed be done and done well.
COVID-19 has certainly wrecked a lot of plans and interrupted our lives in significant ways, but it also forced us to get creative in how we do community, work, live, and play. Creativity is a valuable attribute—and one I hope we all carry with us out of this season.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia
It’s inspiring us to be intentional.
A wonderful upside of COVID-19 has been the intentionality. We’ve been pushed to connect with others in new or often overlooked ways. Video chats, drive-by parades, and social distancing meet-ups in a parking lot.
When we lost the ability to see our loved ones—something we’ve often taken for granted—many started looking for ways to foster connection and community. We started calling our family members more often; video chatting with co-workers; driving by our friend’s houses on birthdays.
Personally, my husband and I have a couple we are dear friends with two states over. We hadn’t seen them in a while and decided to hop on the happy hour zoom calls people were jumping into. We scheduled a double date chat online and it was honestly a blast to do something we never would have thought to do pre-COVID-19. We were pressed to be more deliberate with our family and friends.
While COVID-19 has limited our face-to-face contacts significantly this year, it has forced us to be more intentional with the relationships in our lives. This intentionality is certainly something incredibly important to carry with us beyond 2020.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/nortonrsx
It’s required us to be flexible.
I’m a type-A, and an '8' Enneagram—the planner. I like to predict, plan, coordinate, and control the circumstances around me. Needless to say, 2020 has been a significant push for more flexibility in my life. And I doubt I’m the only one.
When the expected and known shifted to obscurity, many were forced to let go of expectations. We were forced to be flexible. Flexible with work, school, routines, church, relationships, finances, and more.
But ultimately, what this has done for me, and I believe for many, has pushed us to press into Jesus in the unpredictability of it all.
When certainties have been pulled out from under our feet, we’re forced to lean on God in ways we perhaps previously never had. The fear of sickness, financial security, loneliness, and more have caused us to release the unknown to a known God who holds all things in the palm of His hands.
COVID-19 may have surprised us, but not Him. He has always known this would happen, and has always had a plan to use the upset of this season for ultimate good in our lives.
We got flexible and learned to tap into His will a little more consciously.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/DisobeyArt
We can grow from unpredictable seasons.
The pressure of COVID-19 won’t last forever, but I do hope some of the things we have learned in the midst of it will. My prayer is that you and I will take the good we found here and carry it with us as new normals.
Moving forward, I pray that we will all continue to be a bit more creative, intentional, and flexible. Ultimately, that we will all be a little more like Jesus as a result of the pressing-in we experienced during COVID-19.
May we all learn from this season, and grow from it. May the barrenness we all experienced to some degree in this desert bear beautiful, eternal fruit in our lives. God has been at work through it all and that will come through in your life if you’ve learned from it.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/lovelyday12