5 Things I Learned In 2020 (and still apply in 2021)


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Nobody has time for a big intro here.  The title kinda sums it up doesn't it?  Let's dig in then...

  1. Be Present.

This is kinda fresh on my mind because of The Upper Room Daily Devotional yesterday.  Still, when Jesus saw people and talked to people, he was right there - present with them.  I get distracted.  I start thinking about what I need to do next, heck, I even forget whether I told someone something and think that I did!  Maybe I am just getting old but I have learned how important it is to be present with the person in front of me. 

  1. Actively Listen.
    This goes with the first one but it goes a bit deeper.  Do you actually process what you are hearing???  I think about cooking.  All those ingredients are fine on their own but when you put them together, something totally different comes out and if not done correctly, we get something else altogether.  When you listen to someone else in an active way, you don’t add stuff that doesn’t belong but just what you get.  Then, you confirm, in your own words, what the person said they can confirm you got it or if you missed it.

    Throughout 2020, there has been a WHOLE lot of talking and not enough listening.  Ok, it isn’t just 2020, I’ve observed this happening for a long while. 

  2. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

My mom taught me this one long ago and it seems pretty clear, some of us have missed the lesson or forgot it.  In 2020 it seemed like no one could come up with anything nice to say about anyone.  So far, 2021 isn’t fairing much better from what people keep saying on TikTok.  This doesn’t go for just political posts but religious ones and most certainly Covid.  There is another saying that is much like this one...two wrongs do not make a right.

  1. Corporations are not people and neither are political parties.

Yes, this is a political statement.  In my opinion, if one is true, so is the other.  Joe Biden won 81,283,098 votes and Donald Trump got 74,222,958 votes.  Those are a lot of people who  voted for the winner and the loser of this election.  These votes are people and if you paid attention to first two things, you might recognize the many voices and the many reasons people voted as they did.  There is no doubt things will be different in the United States when it comes to voting in the years ahead but how “we the people” get along is up to us.

  1. Remember Three Simple Rules

They go like this

One: Do No Harm,

Two: Do Good,
Three: Stay in Love with God.

When John Wesley introduced those three simple rules, they weren’t intended to be the end all for the journey of faith but a minimum reminder; the starting place where a follower of Jesus can find their footing.  (David Watson has a great blog on the topic here: https://davidfwatson.me/2016/12/05/wesleys-caution-about-the-three-simple-rules/).  These outward signs should be experienced in an inward transformation.  That “Stay in Love with God” is a good reminder of what should be happening in us.  Really, that meme isn’t wrong, because if your religion is teaching you to hate, you are doing it wrong.  And it ain’t Christianity if you are being taught to hate.  That doesn’t mean Christianity is all about rainbows and unicorns and Kum-ba-yah, Jesus actually does challenge us and convict us regarding hate and all kinds of other nasty stuff in our souls.  Dealing with it isn’t easy.


If there is one thing 2020 taught me and 2021 is encouraging me to continue it is that God doesn’t turn away from us because we are a mess.  God’s grace is more than enough!

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