Pam Dudding Contributing writer
People have often said, “It can’t get any worse.”
It seems that the year 2020 proved that statement wrong in many avenues of individuals’ lives, according to many Facebook posts.
Yes, it is a New Year, however, many things seem to still bombard one’s mind during this pandemic time that the United States of America is still dealing with.
Before 2020, we would ask ourselves upon January 1 such questions as: Do I diet? Do I stop watching so much TV? Do I spend more time with my kids and family? Do I find a new job where I can be happier at? Do I? Do I? Do I?
And sometimes, we make the list longer. Then, for some, we do nothing because confusion and overload steps in and kicks us down to a place where many just forget about any goals or dreams they may have been thinking about. It just becomes too much.
However, the year 2021 seems to bring a different list of questions, such as: Should I buy more canned goods to store up? Should I consider a backup heating system? Do I need to start giving more to others and the local churches so they can reach out to the needy? Do I need to spend more time with my family, as they may not be here tomorrow, due to the COVID-19 killer? Again, do I? Do I? Do I?
With the closing of many small businesses, churches and public event places, life in the great U.S.A. has become more like life in a third-world country.
Did we truly realize how much we had in life with sports by paying over $100 for a ticket to see a ballgame or a famous singer, while, in the background of our own nation, people are starving, Veterans were homeless and suicide is increasing?
The ‘happy’ in this new year seems to be more solemn.
Indeed, some families have not been as affected as others who have lived every day with COVID at their front door. However, it doesn’t have to continue to be a bad thing.
The Bible states that God can take things that the devil meant for harm and turn them around for good, if He is allowed to. Many people still believe that statement and trust that it will be in their personal destiny this upcoming year.
Oh, but the immense challenges.
Our First Responders and health care workers are face-to-face with COVID multiple times, yet they all continue to go to their work every day.
Teachers and students faithfully continue school as we know it today in the classroom, hoping they all are free of the virus, while looking at one another through a glass or talking with masked faces.
So, shall we ask ourselves, “Has 2020 been our downfall or our stepping-stone, or both?”
I once read a book titled, “The Necessity of An Enemy.” It truly opened my eyes. It was written by a Christian author, Ron Carpenter. He spoke of Moses being pushed to the edge of a sea by his enemy and then having to trust God to walk through the lifted waters, Job going through immense losses, David facing off with the giant Goliath, Esther going to the King knowing that she could be killed as she stood up for her people and yes, Jesus not giving into the accusations of those who accused Him of lie after lie. He held his ground as who He was and what His purpose on the earth was for.
In all of these stories, the devasting battle held an awaiting victory at the end.
Do you think that with the “unbelievable” things that “we Americans” have experienced this year, they have brought out the real us? Do you think we all found out just what we are really made of and what really matters to each of us?
Life brings good and bad, but 2020 seemed to be the super big dump truckload of “doodoo” for many of us. It seemed that every corner brought on a new blow that pushed us back a few steps or knocked us down, to see if we could get back up, even in our weakest of times.
Did we have to look in the mirror in a different way and decide if we are who we think we are, or were we looking into “that glass darkly”?
Well, regardless, 2021 is a New Year.
It is a time to choose to reflect, learn and to pursue.
In life, if we do not learn from our life’s experiences and especially our mistakes or shortcomings, then we are only surviving and then, we are cheating ourselves of a greater destiny.
You see, built inside of every person is that God-given love that wants to care, love and respond to others with open arms as well as a strength that helps each to pursue their deepest dreams as well as fight through their darkest nightmares.
The year 2020 seemed to have halted that part of the “American way” by keeping people inside, keeping mouths covered with masks, so that most are less likely to have a conversation even when they see someone they know as well as staying away from family members and friends.
All activities were demanded to halt and American became a country none of us Americans were accustomed to.
The odd part about it was that the COVID has a record of a 95 percent recovery rate as well as killing less than the flu bug that has a history of being a hard killer. So far, the flu hasn’t even been an issue in the USA the last few months, which seems like a miracle.
We, the people, must stand together, hold one another up and continue to do all we can do to help each other.
The blessing of Craig County is that most people do this naturally. The small county truly does reach out its arms to one another, and Facebook has been a proof to that.
As people reached out, some with hesitancy, others grabbed onto other’s needs and they were met almost immediately.
Elderly people who had strokes, heart attacks, or cancer who could not take care of their individual needs for short periods, were brought meals that would shame the best restaurants.
People who lost everything in a fire were attended to immediately.
Prayers hit an all-time high and Craig County still holds the least number of COVID-19 cases. Some think that it is because Craig has a relatively small number of citizens. I personally tend to think that if not for prayer to Daddy God, the Father of Jesus Christ, we would have seen a terrible outbreak, and continue to believe that prayers are making a huge difference.
So, what challenges will we make for ourselves for 2021? What will we choose, individually to set as a goal for this next year which holds so many unknowns?
Are we up for it? I tend to think, you doggone right we are.
Sometimes, when we are knocked down, it is in the getting up that helps us to see ourselves as conquerors over life’s pitfalls and trials. Let that bulldog attitude be your friend.
For 2021, I am wishing for you that your new year be one where you not only can get back up, if you have had things that took you down physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or mentally, but that you can plow ahead with vigor and determination beyond your imagination.
Treat yourself to a great year. We all know that procrastination is easy, and action can be difficult.
Kick that “P-booger” out of the way and pursue, regardless of how small the steps you think they may be.
Also, never compare yourself to anyone else when you are trying to reach your personal goals. Each of us are different.
Remember, it is said that if you do something for 21 days in a row, your body and brain will adapt it as a habit.
The year 2020 has tried to set new habits for us. Each person needs to assess their lives and set goals that bring happiness and safety to themselves and their families.
A good quote from Socrates goes, “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
How do you start?
- Decide what you want. Remember, you are the only one who knows the real you.
- Consider the consequences and weigh the obstacles.
- Take some time, as you may need to revise your plan as you go. The goal is to start a plan. Write it down. Get a notebook specifically for your plan which will become your goals.
- Start a new routine and laugh yourself into it. “Laughter doeth good like a medicine,” is a proven fact.
- Share your goal with someone you can trust, that will help you to reach it, not give you more excuses to avoid it and to help you laugh your way through.
- Stay focused. Do not allow other people or things to steer you off course. You may fall, but remember the truth in the saying, “It’s not how many times you fall, but it’s in the “how many times you get back up.”
- Do not use excuses. They can be a sneaky major downfall for anyone. Sometimes excuses are real, but don’t let them command you.
- Seek help if you need it. Do not allow pride to keep you from what you want. Life is too short.
- Be patient. Give yourself a break if you goof up a little. But, don’t be too easy on yourself either. The old saying, “no pain no gain” carries much weight. Sacrifice can be a good thing.
- Celebrate! Give yourself prizes and gifts for achieving the small goals. Don’t wait until the end when you get to the ‘carrot at the end of the stick.’ Still, make sure you do have a party when you accomplish your goal. Even if it’s just with you.
So, what will you be saying this year? What will you speak into being for 2021?
Remember, your words create the atmosphere you live in, whether good or bad. What world are you going to create around you, your family, your friends, or your work for this new year which we all are advancing into?
Choose a new year for you. It is waiting just around the corner. And, by the way, I hope you dance.