What Will We Say About this Year? Choosing to Survive or Thrive

(Listen to the podcast version of this article on Apple podcasts or wherever you find your favorite shows.)

As I’ve been reflecting on the past 12 months of the pandemic there are highlights and low lights. Can you relate to this? There are moments I’m so proud of and others I’m really not. I have used *some* of the time well.

At the beginning of the pandemic and the shut down here in Hawaii we were having fun. Look back at my social media – mask-wearing reels, videos about the rollercoaster of emotions. It felt more like a never-ending snow day, or beach day, as it were. We were making the most of the moment.

And then that feeling faded.

It’s like the blossom of feelings in a new relationship–when the other person can do no wrong. You will overlook any oddities. Brush off any slights. Even if you know in your mind that it can’t be perfect, a new relationship still feels…perfect.

In a new relationship there is such a huge deposit of warm and fuzzy feelings that they can overcome just about anything. Those deposits of good experiences and trust and love insulate us from hardship and bumps in the relationship.

When we are well-fed emotionally, we are more resilient to challenges.
The same is true for our spirits and our spiritual life.

God’s love for us never changes, no matter what we do. However, there is a strong correlation between how much spiritual truth and goodness is being deposited into us and how we perceive our world.

The more we feast on who He is, how He loves us, and the good plans He has for us, the more easily we can weather the hardships of our lives.

When we starve ourselves spiritually, we grow weak, listless. We are more likely to become angry and cynical when hard times come, to doubt and grow dismayed.

We often survive but don’t thrive.

God is always present and always holding out abundant provision for us. The lack comes when we stop receiving, when we become self-sufficient or apathetic to his gifts.

In this particular season of life we’re in, many of us feel we are out of reserves. Our strength is depleted. For many months, we kept hoping that restrictions would lift and kids would go back to school and people would stop dying and that didn’t happen. We are so weary.

While it is good for us to rest and recharge, it is easy for us to fall into a victim mindset that says we are powerless. We are waiting for circumstances to shift around us before things can be good again.
We are looking not to God’s promises of a new dawn but to the darkness around us.

What will we choose between now and the next March?

Will we end the year saying “Well, we made it through that.”?
Or will we say,  “We thrived in the midst of it. We grew. We overcame.”?

What we choose to feast on will make all the difference.

Let’s Ask Ourselves a Few Questions

  • What am I feasting on most of the time? What consumes my waking thoughts? At night? As I drive?
  • Which of my sources of information and media could I replace with a big helping of truth and grace from the Lord?
  • When in my day can I make a little space for that?

A Related Recommendation For You

I have a very fitting book to tell you about, written by a lovely friend from New Zealand, Aimee Walker. It’s called “But I Flourish” and it speaks to this very Monday Mission topic of learning to flourish in every season of life. Aimee is a gifted storyteller, teacher, and encourager. I hope you will check out her book this week and share it with a friend.

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