New Year’s Eve is an interesting time for social media, and this being the end of a decade only adds to it. I don’t know if your experience is the same, but my feed has been flooded with pictures from both 2019, and the decade as a whole. People are posting 2010 pictures next to 2019 pictures, showing the changes of style, self, and commenting on their growth or change over that time. I was tagged in a 2010 photo of me, and it made me both cringe (mostly at my clothing and hair style choices) and reflect.
When we look back on the past year, or in this case, decade, we often are flooded with emotions and memories… both positive and negative. For me, 2010 was the year I accepted Jesus, so I look back at this decade as my journey with Christ has moved and shifted. I look back at my buzzed hair and baggy pants, remembering just how insecure, lonely, and directionless I was. Now I am a husband and father who will graduate in 2020 with a much more clear view of my calling and purpose… Also I have much improved hair and clothing style, but that’s not the point.
I think sometimes we focus too much on the past at this time of year. We either focus on how happy we are that we have grown, or how much we didn’t accomplish our resolutions. We think both about all the missed opportunities and the wins of the past, trying our best to learn lessons from both. We also use this time to set goals for the new year or decade, determined to meet these goals, regardless of the things that stand in our way.
I don’t think any of this is wrong. In fact, I think it is beneficial to be retrospective when it comes to our life. However, I think we tend to be overcritical and frankly, harsh on ourselves. We see missed goals and opportunities as failures to be avoided, and this is never going to produce growth. Instead, we must look at the failures of the past year/ decade as lessons to be learned.
Here’s the reality: we are all growing. We are all changing. We are all in process. We are going to fail. We don’t have it all together. And that’s okay. When we add pressure of making the next year or decade different, what we really do is set ourselves up for potential failure. I think John Mayer said it best in his song In Repair:
I’m in repair
I’m not together, but I’m getting there
We live in a culture that celebrates perceived perfection, and when we add pressure on ourselves to match people’s expectations or the perception they post on social media, we set ourselves up to fail. This comparison game leads only to hurt, heartache, and negative self-image that will leave us feeling isolated. However, if we simply understand that everyone’s journey is different, we can see clearly that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
Allow yourself to feel, but don’t allow yourself to dwell on those feelings. Understand that God loves you and that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Make 2020 a year that you look back on and say “I knew who I was and I was confident in that.” You got this.
Trust the process. Take your next step. Now is your moment.