Here comes the time when people tend to set goals and ramp up their determination to fulfill those goals. Maybe the fresh start of a new year is inspiring to some, but I feel annoyed by all the resolutions. We need change, for sure, but new year’s resolutions are notorious for failing. As bandwagons go, this isn’t one I’m inclined to jump on.

What I do think we could all use, is a moment to look back and appreciate how we have changed. They say every cell in our body is replaced within the span of a year, so in a literal way, we are different people than we were a year ago. Chances are, you had some things you were striving for in 2020, whether you dubbed them a resolution or not. Maybe they went out the window in March, but there’s no question this year has changed us. Many of us shifted down a gear to survive while facing new demands, new loneliness, new loss. In the midst of that downshift, many of us found more time for quiet pursuits our busy schedules don’t allow for.

I’ve found this year especially challenging in my efforts to find peace in the midst of clear evidence I’m not in control. This was always the case, but the pandemic is a constant reminder. This is hard on us because we were created to trust that loved ones would be with us forever and we were meant to relax into the constant affection of a face-to-face God. So much of this situation feels off because it is when compared to God’s original plan. So it takes effort to get quiet and feel the peace God can bring to us. The good news is, challenges change us.

There are no wasted years with Jesus.

While many of us would likely not claim to be experts and ready to check off anything we’ve worked on this year, progress is worth celebrating. I think I got better at being still so I could know God is God. This year also reminded me life is fragile and I want to be kind to people in any exchange I have.

What did you do in 2020? What giants did you face, voluntarily or otherwise? Take a quiet moment to notice and feel grateful Jesus brought us through. I know Jesus stood between me and my giants this year and will help me in 2021. While 2020 has felt like a throwaway year sometimes, it hasn’t been. There are no wasted years with Jesus. He’s with us all the way.