If 2020 Taught Us Anything…

2020 has been an unexpected year. If it taught us anything, it was our ability to let go of everything we expected, and our ability to adapt quickly to change. The hardest part about change, I think for most people, is not sudden change but rather anticipated change. We build up the pending change in our mind to be hard or difficult. When in reality, it’s often not nearly as bad as we thought it would be… or in some cases even better than we could have imagined.

The changes that 2020 ushered in were not ones we could have anticipated or prepared for. We were thrust into the moment and didn’t have time to freak out, worry, get anxious, or overthink the possibilities. We had to pivot and change, for some immediately.

In the realm of ministry this was seen as those of us who were holding off of moving our ministries onto, or at least to include, virtual platforms. Suddenly the thing we were avoiding or putting off was a necessity. We learned that the cost of the equipment wasn’t nearly as expensive as we had believed. We learned that the software or platforms were not that hard to learn after all. And, we found out that our people were far more flexible than we could have imagined.

(If it sounds like I have said this before, I have… in different places… but it still bares repeating.)

And while we learned so much about what we could take on, we also learned about what we could let go. Not only could let go, but also probably should let go.

We should let go of expectations during seasons of change. I find the person most often with the most expectations of me, in a trial like this year has been… is myself. I have to let go of the unrealistic expectations I am setting for myself and embrace that those I am serving have a ton of grace for me right now. They know the pressures we are facing, the new waters we are navigating, and for the most part are pulling back the reigns.

The ones who are not, by the way, extending the grace and offering up demands… are few and far between, and we may need to let them go too. Let them go to find a place that is more equipped to meet their needs. We can become ok with letting go of plans, places, things, and even people if necessary.

We should let go of, instead of grasping to hold on to, normal. As much as we all wanted things not to change, they did. Those who decided to swim with the current fared better than those who were trying to grasp the buoy that was floating away from shore. I’m not suggesting that none of us are recoverable, or our ministries can’t find their way back. Rather, I am suggesting that those who didn’t fight it simply would get their faster and maybe a bit less dinged up. Normal has left the building, and we are not really sure when it is coming back… or even if it is. We may be facing a new normal. Instead of grasping to hold to normal, let go of that ideal and instead hold on to your people.

Let go of waiting for perfection. Don’t get caught up in the hype of expensive programs or tools. Embrace the mantra of do what you can, with what you have. Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis, where we get so caught up in preparing to do something that we never actually do it. At some point, you must just “do the thing”. The more you do it, the better you will get, and over time you can get better at it. Over time, you can invest in better equipment or pay for a heftier software program. You may even decide that you have the budget to hire someone to do the work for you (or that you have someone in your membership that has the talents & willingness to volunteer). If you are waiting for perfection, it will never happen.

For each of us, we could probably come up with an exhaustive list of things we let go… and some we didn’t want to, some we will try to take back, and some we will revise. Weigh it all out and see what is worth keeping, and what is best to let go.

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