We Suffer and We Dance. My thoughts from January 1, 2020

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*I wrote this unfinished essay on January 1, 2020, days before I went on a writing hiatus. In light of everything that has transpired so far this year, I felt this was worth publishing.


I’ll come right out with it. There is no such thing as “the best year ever”.

A trip around the sun is much too complex for a grading scale that only includes “best” and “worst”. We need a far more sophisticated metric when we’re evaluating 365 days of life-altering decisions, imperfect people, and unexpected plot twists.

A year ago today, life as you know it did not exist. You could not have predicted the ways you would love, the mistakes you would make, the fears you would face, the faith you would find. You did not foresee the risks, the loss, the creativity, the chaos.

Some relationships changed. Some were strained. Some ended.

Some dreams formed. Some were delayed. Some died.

And you saw none of it coming.

2019 wasn’t the best year ever, but it was the only year like it that you’ve ever had. A year is not a single, drawn out experience. It’s millions of moments, thousands of opportunities, and more than a handful of changing seasons.

We work and we rest. We give and we take. We love and we fight.

There are a thousand moving parts to reflect upon, and when we add it all up, “best year ever” just won’t cut it. And “worst year ever” falls just as short.

Yes, some events can be so unimaginably life-altering that they single-handedly define a year. But even in that year, it’s not all good or all bad. It’s always somewhere in between.

2020 will be another year in the in-between. You will trudge the valleys and you will scale the mountains. You will endure the storms and bask in the sun. In 2020, you will suffer and you will dance.

So, don’t worry about having the “best year ever”. That is a chasing after the wind. Embrace each day for what it brings and let the year unfold.

My 2019 was a year I’ll always remember. I gave birth to our second son and lived in a space of overwhelm for several months afterward. I felt close to God. I ran my first two 5K races. I started seeing a therapist. I got paid to write! I felt far from God. I had more speaking opportunities than any previous year. I celebrated with friends at joyous occasions, and mourned with others as they grieved.

And I didn’t see any of it coming.

This is the nature of a year. Every year, and thus all of life, is high and low and in-between. And we never see it coming. The best we can do is expect the chaos, lean into Jesus and brace ourselves for a crash course in life’s most important lesson—that we are not in control.

Only God knows what the next 365 days have in store. But one thing is for sure: you will suffer, and you will dance.

You can’t control the music and you can’t predict the misery.

You can’t control whether or not this is the best year ever, but you can control if this year will bring about the best you ever.

Here are three truths you can count on this year. Thing things that, when believed, can help you create “the best you ever”.

1. God is sovereign
2. His love is strong.
3. Suffering is temporary.

Expect the best, the worst, and the in-between. But know that God is sovereign, nothing can separate you from his love, and suffering is only temporary.

Did this resonate with you? Share your thoughts!