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  • Writer's pictureKemi Kodja

Dear 2020: You Sucked, but Thank You!

2020 was by far the most unconventional year I've ever experienced. It had felt like a new beginning in many ways and the first few months of 2020 were actually really good. Then came March, and Covid started feeling really real and scary. Then came the lockdown and honestly the year went downhill after that.

Through all the trials and tribulations that 2020 brought, I can't help but see how each trial I faced was necessary in my journey and I want to share with you the lessons that each of the trials I faced this year taught me. I hope this encourages you to reflect on the reasons why you hated this year and explore each reason for possible lessons that those trials taught you.

As Christians, we have to remember that all the trials we face have a purpose in our lives:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." ~ James 1:2-3

I know in the moment, as you are experiencing hardship, it's hard to see the silver lining and your perseverance and strength being built in that moment. This is why I think it's important to be rooted in the Word in one way shape or form because when the Word is your root and your refuge when you're going through trials, it will give you the strength, the wisdom and encouragement needed to push through.

Now, let me be honest for a second, the lessons I'm about to share with you from this year, I did not perceive in the moment of my hardship. Like I said, when you're in the midst of your hardship, it's really easy to only see what you're going through and nothing else. It's really easy to be consumed by the pain, the frustration, the fear and to just want to get out of there. But the one thing that kept me rooted and going was the commitment I made at the beginning of 2020 to nurture my relationship with God. This commitment to God and trusting Him is what got me through 2020 and helped me see many months later as I reflected on this year, the "whys" for a lot of the hardship I experienced.

It feels like death was the theme of this year, like left and right people were just dying and it was just so sad and surreal. We've all heard the saying "life is short" but this year really reminded me of how quickly our lives could be taken from us and how much we should appreciate our loved ones while they're here.

I received the shock of my life one day when I logged onto Instagram and found out that Cici, a digital marketing coach that I admired, had passed away. I had just purchased one of her programs and was working on it and now she was just ... gone. Cici, was just one of the many people I've had to grieve this year, but it was through grieving her death that God revealed to me that I needed to be more intentional about living my life. Yes, I have dreams and a purpose that I'm pursuing daily but if something were to happen to me, apart from the things I have accomplished, would I really feel like I lived? The answer was no, and I think Cici's death was used specifically to teach me this and to help me shift some of my priorities, which goes into the second lesson I learned this year.

In the midst of quarantine, hundreds of miles away from my family (911 miles to be specific), alone in my apartment, I started to regret the decision I had made to move so far away from them. At the time, it didn't feel so far because I'm only a 2 hour flight away from them, but with the pandemic, flying was not the safest and most accessible thing to do. I felt permanently stuck and separated from my family and with no ending in sight for the pandemic, I didn't know when I would be able to see them again. This made me realize that as much as I identified as a free spirit who could pick up and move anywhere in the world, I needed to live somewhere where I would at least be able to quickly drive over to my family if needed. This need would not have been apparent had Covid not happened and created the circumstances needed for this to be revealed to me.

Another thing the lockdown revealed was that I don't like working from home as much as I thought I would. I had some experience working from home before being a freelancer where I think God tried to reveal this to me, but it didn't sink in then. During the lockdown however, it 110 percent did. I realized that I like to separate work and home and that working from home blended those two worlds in a way that I didn't like. This again, is a revelation that I don't think I would have grasped had Covid not happened and created the circumstances needed for this to be revealed to me.

I was blessed to be able to keep my job during the pandemic but even with that I experienced some financial hardships. Have you ever heard of/experienced moments where the numbers didn't add up and yet God made a way? I felt that this year. I literally don't know how it all worked out and how I was even able to make Christmas happen... but God.

In my prayers I used to thank God for giving me a job that provided for me and it's not until this year that I realized, the job was not the provider, God is. Jobs come and go, and even with the job this year, there were many times when the job was not enough and yet God made a way. These moments, I now realize were to teach me that there is no security in anything other than God and that He would always make sure I had what I needed.

When it comes to my entrepreneurial journey, I feel like I've been on a hamster wheel going in circles and this year more than ever, I became frustrated at what felt like stagnancy. I remember breaking down and begging God to help me off the hamster wheel, because I was sick of tired of going in circles. He then called me to do a spiritual fast where I focused solely on Him and through that fast, I realized that I really hadn't been inviting God in my business and that was my issue. I was self-reliant and tried to figure out everything on my own and would only come to Him when things weren't going my way, instead of inviting Him into the business, seeking His wisdom for the direction I was taking and making Him an integral part of my business. I now know better and will be trying to do better in this area of my life in 2021.

One inevitable side effect of being in quarantine by yourself is that you're left to yourself with your thoughts and demons. Couple that with everything else going on in the world during this year and I was a mess. I'm used to being able to occupy myself with other things, being "booked and busy" and suppressing the thoughts and feelings that come up. But this year I had to face a lot of my demons head on. This helped me realized that I was merely avoiding my triggers and suppressing my emotions and that there was a lot I needed to heal from that was holding me back. This is still a work in progress as the year is coming to an end, but I think being aware is the first step and then committing to my healing will help me in 2021.

These are the main lessons that this one of a kind year taught me. Overall though, I am most grateful to this year because I got closer to God than I ever did in the past.

How about you? What are you thankful to 2020 for? What did this year teach you? Please feel free to share in the comments or reach out to let me know.

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