2020 is Here!

So today is the first day of 2020 and 2019 is over! It seems like the year went by so fast!

This makes me think of 2 Peter 3:8-9: “…With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The older I get, the more time seems to fly by. There are times when I hear about a news story that occurred five years ago and I think, “That was FIVE years ago?!” Where did the time go?

In 2019, I dealt with my usual struggles—anxiety, fear, negative thoughts, questioning my faith and God. At times, I felt like I was making progress but then I found myself getting tripped up by things I thought I had gotten past; it’s been a constant, exhausting battle but I’m determined to continue using God’s word to keep fighting for my faith and my relationship with God.

My anxiety became worse when someone I knew passed away unexpectedly a few months ago; I never imagined anything like this ever happening to him (I know we’re all going to die one day but I never imagined anything like this happening in 2019). I started having fearful, anxious thoughts daily: What if something happens to my family? What if something happens to me? The anxiety was so bad, I would break out in a sweat whenever I had an anxious thought (actually, the anxiety sweats have been occurring off and on since last year). It seemed like I could never stop it in its tracks—once I started feeling warm all over, that was it. It stopped after a while, after finally asking God for help. I guess I wasn’t trusting that God could help me and even wondered if He would, especially when He told me not to worry and I was STILL feeling fearful. It was hard not to feel afraid when I kept fighting against a barrage of thoughts from the enemy.

After my friend’s death, I found myself wondering if he’s with the Lord in heaven and what his relationship with the Lord was like (although he mentioned God helping him in some instances, we never had a deep conversation about salvation, etc). The thought of so many people dying and not knowing the Lord is frightening. I’ve been thinking about how to share the gospel with others because fear has held me back; if you approach someone, shouldn’t it be spirit-led? Aren’t there other ways to do it without feeling like you’re being forceful or trying to meet a quota? I remember sharing my faith with a young lady years ago who needed some encouragement; it felt right and I was glad that I listened to that nudge to talk to her. When I decide to share my faith with someone who needs to hear about Jesus, I want it to be authentic and I want to feel that prompting from the Holy Spirit.

I’m feeling a little better; I’m determined to move forward and maintain my joy and peace. I’m learning that I don’t know everything and I don’t have all the answers—I say this because I tend to assume things about the information that the Lord brings me and sometimes I’m wrong. I’ve been looking back at my past experiences (via journals, gratitude notebooks, blog posts) to remember how God has helped me so many times; He’s even brought some things back to my remembrance and I’m thankful for that.

On a positive note, there were good things that occurred in 2019:

  • I bought a sewing machine, took some classes and made some great items (hopefully I’ll get back to this because I put it on hold)
  • I joined a meetup group, attended an outing and had a great time (maybe I’ll try this again)
  • I found interesting places/events to visit on my own
  • I’m working at a different office temporarily and really enjoy it (I’m glad I took the chance to see what it’s like instead of saying, “Nah, nevermind”)
  • I’m learning to be thankful and praise God more
  • I’m learning to use God’s word to fight against fears and negative thoughts from the enemy

If you’re struggling with your faith right now, remember that you’re not alone. Talk to God about how you’re feeling; don’t distance yourself from Him (it’s so easy to do that when it feels like nothing is going right or when things don’t make sense and you want answers). Pray and ask Him to strengthen your faith. In Matthew 18:12-14, Jesus mentioned the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd has 100 sheep, but he looks for the one that went astray; Jesus is concerned about each and every one of us (unbelievers and believers) doesn’t want anyone to perish.

I pray that God helps you to remember how He’s worked in your life or show you something that will increase your faith. No matter what you’re going through (anxiety, grief, etc.), don’t give up. Keep praying, talk to a counselor (I’m doing this as well) and continue to move forward, one day at a time.