I don’t know if its been exactly the same for you, but I think the last three years worth of January’s have been a real mixed bag.
By the 20th January 2020, we’d had big trouble in Iraq, Harry & Meghan had decided to step back from Royal duties, and Australia had experienced devastating bush fires. Not to mention there was this annoying little story about Covid 19 from across the sea.
By the 20th January 2021, we’d been in a new winter lockdown for 16 days, Trump-supporting domestic terrorists had stormed Congress, Elon Musk and Jeff Bazos were named the wealthiest people in the world, and Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president.
So far this year, things have been similarly odd. We’ve had no nationwide lockdowns, so that’s a win. Still, we’ve had the UK government in disgrace, the Queen’s son formally known as Duke in a scandal, Novac Djokovic kicked out of Australia, soaring energy prices and of course, there’s still so much Covid.
It’s crazy. January 2020 felt scary and uncertain. Last year was unsettling, but this year feels more like the emergence of outrage.
I’m not quickly whipped up in outrage, but there is a lot of it out there. What are we supposed to do with it? Should we all join in, or is there anything better we can be doing with our time?
Is there any hope?
There’s a wonderful, slightly overused verse in the book of Jeremiah in the Bible. It’s chapter 29:11 and it goes like this:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What’s interesting about this verse is that it’s written while God’s people were in some difficulty.
If we look purely and simply at the last two years, you could easily argue that the best course of action might be to batten down the hatches and sit tight; to put bigger plans on hold and wait for better days. I know I’ve thought like that a great deal.
However, when Jeremiah says that God has plans to prosper, he knows they’ll be in difficulty for 70 years. Funnily, he’s also just told the same people to get on with their lives, despite knowing they’re not yet in the best possible location or situation.
Despite how (apparently) mild the new Covid variant is, there’s still talk of it causing us severe disruption for the next two years. Despite the calls for Boris to resign this week, the next general election where he could be legitimately voted out isn’t for another two years! The fuel price situation will probably impact us for another couple of years, and who knows what the next big crisis will be?
Here’s the truth: You are probably not in the best, most stable position, but you should still plan for the coming season. You still need to be creative with your time, you still need to love and help others in need, and you still very much deserve peace of mind. Or, as Jeremiah puts it,
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
What I’m saying is that there’s a lot to be outraged about, some of which you might be able to make a difference in. But don’t let that distract you from what’s in front of you. Focus on your relationships, passions, and health, and do whatever is in your heart to do.
Go on… The year is yours! Grab it.