2020 is not quite going the way we all expected… huh?
So much has happened and it’s tough to focus on the things we set out with good intentions to give time to at the beginning of the year. Not only did COVID-19 disrupt our schedules, but now our hearts and minds are being tugged in different directions surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
I watched a great panel discussion today mainly made up of Black pastors in California talking about their experiences with racism – one of them stated that it’s two pandemics our attention has been drawn to this year – Coronavirus, and racism. These two pandemics demand our attention – COVID because we need to play our part with best practices and honouring those keeping us all afloat; Racism because things have been stuck like this for too long, and too many people are being killed, abused and treated differently for the times we are living in. We don’t have much of a choice about giving COVID attention, but we do have the choice with BLM – and I for one am choosing to lean in, learn, and play my part.
I started writing this blog a month or so ago. One thing I’ve realised is that I should publish things when I write them and not procrastinate, because things in the world change, and the lens through which you will read this is very different from the one when I wrote it. That said, I still find value in what I wrote, so I wanted to share it.
So 2020 is not quite going the way we all expected… huh?
I, like the majority of you I’m sure, set out into the new year with lots of good intentions – I posted about it here if you want to read the detail! In January, I set resolutions, goals, a word for my year, and a 2020 vision. I really wanted to cover my bases of intentionality!
The world looks totally different now than it did in January though, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am struggling to keep any kind of motivation to work on my big ideas for 2020.
But here’s the truth of the matter – who cares? We all need to have a little bit of grace for ourselves, because nothing is as we expected it to be. It takes a while to readjust, and even then, once you’re acclimatised, you then have to think about how to make your goals work in the new state of the world!
I thought I’d go back through my resolutions, goals, word for the year and 2020 vision to reassess as to how things are now.
One of my resolutions was to do new things, with the easy outworking of that being to visit a new coffee shop each month – obviously that one was easy to strike off the list when quarantine began! We have still been supporting local coffee shops as much as possible throughout the stages of the pandemic with take outs and deliveries, but fulfilling that resolution isn’t working out much beyond that. However, as measures have begun to loosen I feel this will be a reasonably easy one to pick back up again – we ate out at a new place on Friday, so there is a glimpse of this one becoming a reality again.
Reading the Bible every day had become a really easy habit to form at the start of the year – I started a New Testament in a Year reading plan on the Bible App, from which I would read my chapter for the day as I ate my breakfast getting ready for work… but now my whole routine is a bit out of whack and I haven’t kept up with it since quarantine began. Even with things loosening my routine is still not looking good – we seem to be going to bed later and later, making mornings a really drag.
With motivation and routine totally all over the show, playing the ukulele every day has also slipped out of practice – I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that even a lot of fun things have just lost their sheen somewhat.
The resolution I’m having no trouble with though… not saying “yes” to everything – because there’s barely anything going on any more, so I don’t have to battle through what deserves my commitment! Score!
I set myself three SMART goals. These were to Write, to Run, and to establish Routine.
Well, well, well. These are a bit of a giggle to think about now…
I’ve found productivity to be really tricky – whether that’s in work or play, I’ve just found that with everything being completely different, focus is hard, and motivation in anything has been difficult. As a result, I have struggled to find a balance between working and having fun with creativity. Particularly at the start of lockdown when a lot of friends in the UK were furloughed and suddenly my instagram feed was filled with people being creative, I felt kind of bummed out, and that I was missing out on this chance to let my creative juices flow. All of my mental energy was being spent on concentrating on getting my work done amongst the chaos of a global pandemic – I didn’t have the capacity to get out my watercolour pencils or ukulele.
I have found that this have improved over time as I’ve settled into my work from home routine. Sometimes during work time I’ve found myself having really creative moments but have then felt guilty pursuing them during “work hours”, and then on the flip side, sometimes I’ve found myself just getting into the swing of things with work at just the time I would usually be shutting my computer down. I’ve found that having grace with myself, like I said earlier, has been a key player in this. Thankfully I am lucky in that my work have had the WFH attitude of – as long as the work is done and the emails are answered, what time of day it’s done isn’t such an issue. I know not everyone will have had this, and many people are still furloughed and sick of it – but I guess the point is finding a balance to spread your mental capacity across work and play is important.
All of this to say that my writing has suffered during COVID. Not that it was thriving before, but I had plans for it to thrive, and they got hijacked by my brain going into survival mode. I did do a couple of virtual writing courses at the beginning of lockdown, which wouldn’t have been run online had COVID not happened, and I picked up some great tips – I even felt inspired to write the first chapter of a short story as a result. I hope to pick this up a little more, and go back to trying to write something each week – practice is integral for improvement and I want to be the best writer I can be.
As for the running… I had the best intentions and an 8km race booked on May 3rd to keep me going. I was lagging behind, having only done one training run – the first run in the Couch to 5K, but was still determined. I went to England March 10-17 which gave me six and a half weeks after coming back from my trip to complete the Couch to 5K and participate in the 8km race. But then, I had to quarantine for 14 days – literally not allowed to leave our apartment – so the most exercise I did was either walking backwards and forwards between the living room and bedroom (which we did many times) or an exercise video I started following online. Good to get the body moving, but not good enough training to be running an 8K.
Next thing, the race was cancelled, and the Sunday after I got out of quarantine I badly sprained my ankle. So all training has been off. We’ve committed to doing several walks a week, including one long walk and I think we’ll start doing the Couch to 5K again soon – my ankle seems strong enough to give it another go now. Plus, we still got our medals despite the race not happening, so we’ve put them away and not allowed to wear or display them until we’ve run 8km – that’s some incentive!
One of my favourite scriptures (Proverbs 29:18 KJV, although I think I know if from something I read from Brian Houston) is: “Where vision lacks, the people perish.” Without something to live for, we fade away. Without something that makes us get up in the morning, we simply stay in bed. For me to have routine, I have to have something to make want to establish that routine. Quarantine and lockdown have not been conducive to that for me – so for me to have been working on my routine during this time is not a realistic goal. However, I am realising the more I fail to put routine into my life, the more everything is all over the place – so we are working together (Tom and I) to get some routine back into our lives to try and establish some good habits! That’s things like what time we get up, what we eat, how we exercise, etc.
Word for the Year: Resolve.
To be honest, just reading back through what I had written back in January seems pretty distant from where I am now. In the bad way. So I am just going to quote myself here to hope to re-inspire myself towards this!
I’ve been absorbing as much information as possible about prayer, and when it comes to it, revival is most often what I am praying for – in circumstances, health, culture, church, etc. It’s important. When Jesus died on the cross, He entangled His life story with each of our own. This is where redemption comes in – He redeems us of our sin, of our poor choices, and He restores us to the glory for which we were intended. He doesn’t stop there – He rehabilitates us to then continue and contribute to His work here on Earth. For this He gives us resilience, because He knows that resistance will come when we start changing our lives to fit in with who He is.
Resolve. It’s kind of the culmination of everything in my New Year’s post. I will have the boldness to choose my path. I will resolve to be a healthy human being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Knowing when to say yes, when to seize opportunities, when to rest, when to go, when to pray a little harder, when to get down on my knees at the foot of the cross and cry out “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty”. I will resolve to make the most of today, tomorrow, and yesterday. I will resolve to spend my time in the ways that build me into the person I want to be.Ellen Wiggins, January 2020 – My 2020 Vision
Again, I feel like re-sharing what I had written for this will probably be the best review.
My 2020 vision is to not squander what I’ve been given (temporally, geographically, physically), to embrace who God made me to be (the bits I like and the bits I don’t), and chase after the things He has put before me (things I desire, and things that others have shared with me) – and most of all… to live in the confidence of my calling! (Ephesians 4:1b – I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.)Ellen Wiggins, January 2020 – My 2020 Vision
Here’s the parts I’m doing well with – I’m not sure a day goes by where I don’t give thanks for where I am geographically – it’s been such a blessing to live in the city that we so love. I have chosen to chase after one desire – to study for a Masters degree which I hope to begin in September all things going well with visas. This has been the biggest thing – having the confidence to go after something I’m not entirely sure I’m capable of, because I feel God has called me to it, and other people (my husband in particular) assure me that I am more than capable. I’m stepping into my calling, gaining skills and developing my abilities all the while trying to pay attention to and not squander the other things going on around me.
So there we go… my 2020 review so far. It’s had it’s ups and it’s downs, and although a lot of my big 2020 ideas have taken a nose-dive, all in all I feel I’m handling 2020 pretty well!