5 Ways Not to Let 2020 Go to Waste


never let a crisis go to waste

But wait! There’s more! Every time we thought we had hit our limit of the tough stuff, 2020 had another crisis waiting in the wings. I often think about how my brain would’ve malfunctioned if you’d told me in January everything that was going to happen by December. As much as we want to show 2020 the door and turn the deadbolt, you should never let a crisis go to waste.

So now that we’ve weathered some hardship and learned more about ourselves, we should ask these 5 questions.

1. How can I be more present when I’m with people?

At first, a Friday night Zoom call with the girls felt like a godsend. But eventually, the novelty wore off and we realized seeing our friends and family members on a screen was not satisfying that deep need for connection.

The first time I got together with friends after a long hiatus, I noticed I wasn’t tempted to get my phone out and snap a picture or post it online. Just being together felt like enough.

2. Is my faith all about the building?

It felt good to be able to have some kind of church experience via the internet. But over time, my interest in YouTube Sundays dwindled. My eyes have been opened to my own commitment to my faith. I’ve had to ask if I had been going to church every Sunday because it was my routine or if my commitment is influenced by the social aspects of Sunday morning.

This isn’t all bad. After all, I believe we are called to worship both privately and as a community, so it makes sense that being without community impacted me. But if you should never let a crisis go to waste, you’ve got to be willing to do some self-reflection and see where you need to grow.

3. Have I contributed to unhealthy dialogue?

There has been no shortage of rage and name-calling online. And I’m not talking about people who like to troll. I’m seeing friends and family members go at it.

Remember the scene from Ghostbusters 2 when they realized the pink slime was mood-activated? I’ve felt like that pink psycho-reactive slime has been gurgling and growing and it’s going to take more than the Statue of Liberty and blasting the song “Higher and Higher” to turn things around. We need to watch our words, think before we type, and remember there is a human with a different perspective on the other side of the computer.

4. Who do I need to show my appreciation to more?

Yes, love your people well. Hopefully, you learned that before now. What 2020 has taught me about appreciating others is that so many things are easier said than done. Until you do another person’s job or take time to have a conversation and learn about his or her life, you cannot assume you know a person’s story or that you can do what another person can do.

Sure, doctors get paid more than most other professionals, but would I want to be face to face with a contagious illness every day and to have to live separately from my children for extended periods of time? No way. And I’m neither a police officer nor a person of color. So I need to appreciate the relationships with people who challenge me to think and grow. And teachers? Bless them. Bless them all.

5. Do I ignore reality in hopes it will just get better?

My tools for ignoring 2020 included Amazon, Tiger King, rearranging furniture, Cheer, wine, and puzzles. I tried to ignore the possibility of actually getting sick. I tried to ignore figuring out what to do with my kids while I worked. It was tempting to ignore the news and discussions about the lives of people of color. And when my husband faced a pay cut, it was tempting to put my head in the sand.

Escaping or ignoring reality might be fine for a little while, but the consequences will catch up with you. Better to face the truth, pray for wisdom about how to move forward, and take that first step.

What lessons did 2020 teach you?

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