I am sharing the lessons I learned from 2020 that I am bringing into 2021.
Lesson 1: The Sky is Not Falling. (Don’t be afraid.)
Before I went into therapy, one of the things that I struggled with was this feeling that the rug would get pulled from beneath me at any moment. I never felt like I could feel too peaceful or too content with life because there was always this impending doom around the corner. I never knew when, what, how, or where it was going to hit. Maybe the most potent fear that I had was that I was going to die. I never thought I would make it to my 18th birthday, and then I made it to my 18th birthday. It was hard for me to believe I would get married. I never thought I would have children. I always had this thought that I, or someone close to me, was going to die.
When I started counseling, she explained that it was “doomsday thinking.” She said those patterns of thinking are stemming from the abuse I endured because it was unpredictable, repetitive, and constant. So, even when the abuse ended, I was still anticipating the next bad thing.
So, we did a lot of work together, and over time my doomsday thinking improved.
But 2020 was traumatic. It is hard for me to write or even talk about it. I am still processing it. My one word for 2020 was “Stand,” and by the end of the year, the ground felt unsteady. I felt unsteady. I realized I was having those long ago thoughts of doomsday thinking.
New trauma brings up old trauma.
I was worried about what was going to happen tomorrow.
I was afraid to think it couldn’t get any worse, because it kept getting worse.
Suddenly, I was right back to thinking that the rug was going to get pulled beneath me at any moment.
I never said, “I feel like God is going to pull the rug beneath me.” I never said it, and I am not even sure I thought it but, who else was pulling the rug?
I knew He was sovereign. I believed He was in charge of my life, but the little girl in me went back to holding my breath while thinking those old thoughts, “God is going to pull the rug at any minute!”
I never knew what the next day would bring, but thinking it could always get worse felt like protection. If I anticipate the worst thing that could happen, then maybe when it happens, it won’t be as bad.
Is it just me?
What a horrible way to live and think! There’s a lot that I could say about how that affects us, but the truth is that is not how He created us to live. (John 10:10)
Finally, in December 2020, as my thoughts unraveled, I realized, “Woah! I am thinking as if God is going to pull the rug up under me! This is doomsday thinking again.”
Shortly after that, I received a text from my friend and mentor, Tope (find her at www.hiddentreasuresandriches.com – she is fantastic). She was out shopping and texted me a picture of a painting. There were no words or explanation, just the photo of a painted lion (plus pink).
As soon as I saw the photo, I started looking through my pictures. That photo reminded me of a picture I took of a lion at the Riverbanks Zoo in July of 2015. Once I found it, I sent it to her and said, “You have no idea!”
When I took that picture, I was still in counseling and making progress. I remembered walking into the zoo gate and seeing that lion sitting there, unafraid. That lion was the King of the Zoo. I snapped the photo as I thought of my King, Jesus – The King of the World. I felt like He was saying, “I am your King, and I am fiercely protective of you. I am not going to hurt you. I watch over you always, and I will pounce to protect you. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. You are my daughter, my princess.”
Back then, I was scared and desperately needed to realize He was my protector.
He knew I was scared again, and He came to my rescue. He prompted my friend to take the picture and send it to me. He knew I needed that gentle reminder, “You don’t have to be afraid anymore, princess. I am your King, your protector, your shield, and your Father.”
She ended up buying it for me, and it is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning to remind me that no matter what happens, I do not have to live in fear.
What lessons from 2020 are you bringing into 2021?