2020 is cancelled.
Let's just throw the year away.
Let's just start over in 2021.
Worst. Year. EVER.
Over the last few months, I have seen memes and social media posts that reflect these sentiments. For the first time in modern history, the entire world is facing a global, economic, and (depending on who you ask) health crises. This is in addition to rising racial tensions, many businesses closing, schools being cancelled, and much more. Its fair to say, many would like to go back to 2019. Yet, the calendar says otherwise. No matter how much we want to escape the year, as long as we have breath, opting out is simply not an option.
Today, I challenge you to rethink the words "Cancel 2020."
Here's what you're really saying when you align with this idea. I want to give up. This year is not turning out according to my expectation. My plans are falling through. It would be easier to just pretend like none of this ever happened. I feel defeated. Truthfully, many of these thoughts resonated with me months ago.
In December 2019, I hosted a vision board with a room full of women. We all spent time in prayer weeks before and sought the Lord for what He would have us do in 2020. With great excitement, many women shared their parenting, career, and heart goals. Afterwards, we all prayed and believed that God would breathe life on these plans. And at the start of 2020, many of the women took bold courageous steps into the uncharted waters of their destiny, myself included. Needless to say, when COVID-19 hit the U.S. many of the plans came to an abrupt ending. I was left wondering, like many others, did I really hear from God?
The answer, yes!
In fact, I was not the first person to have a dream "disrupted" suddenly. I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible. In Genesis 37, things begin to unfold quickly for Joseph. We see early in the chapter, he was favored among his brothers. This favor came with special treatment from his father and hatred from his brothers. Yet, this tension doesn't stop the Lord from giving Joseph a dream that would change his life.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" Genesis 37: 5-10
Before chapter 37 ends, Joseph's life take a turn for the worst. His brothers heard the dream and were furious, they set out to destroy the "dreamer." Joseph story begins to go down hill as his brothers throw him into a pit (literally), he is sold into slavery, From here, he is hired to work at Potiphar's house where he is falsely accused of being inappropriate with Potiphar's wife. He is placed in prison. It is believed that he was sold into slavery at 17 and released from prison around the age of 30. Thus, thirteen years had passed from when God had given him the dream that one day he would sit in a place of authority.
I am certain that Joseph felt much like many of us have over the last few months. Did God really say? Why is this happening? What about my dream?
Yet's here's what I love about Joseph's story. The dream never died. In fact, God used every adversity in Joseph's life to build his character and to prepare him to be the overseer in the King's house by the age of 30. As Joseph says,
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20
In other words, all that was meant to kill the dream, God turned it around. Joseph could have easily thought to himself "Let's just cancel the dream." Although those 13 years may have came with many tears, Joseph learned to trust God for every step of his journey.
We have the tendency to believe that if it's not easy, it's not God.
Yet, this is not the case in the Bible. The disciples had to face persecution to fulfill the will of God. Mary's pregnancy with Jesus was a life on the run. David had to face Goliath. Paul was thrown in prison. Noah had to invest blood, sweat, and tears to build an arc. These are just a few examples of countless that had to be willing to face adversity to see God's plan to come to fruition.
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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3
What if the beginning of 2020 was to prepare you for what you prayed for?
What if God is using this to shift your thinking?
What if instead of cancelling your dream God is leading you to re-envision it?
Is it possible this will be a time of innovation for your business idea?
Here's what's been most powerful to me in 2020. I have seen businesses quickly adapt. Companies, large and small, have created special hours for the elderly to shop, begun to disinfect surfaces more than ever, and even redesigned their business to operate fully online. Rather than closing up shop, they restructured, got creative, and came up with efficient ways to complete their mission. If I'm honest, some of these changes have been better than the original business structures. I am convinced that while some businesses have given into the #Cancel2020 culture, others have went back to drawing board to innovate and create a permanent shift.
I believe the Lord is calling us to be innovative in this hour. With almost six months left in the year, now is not the time to bow out. In fact, that would be giving the enemy exactly what he wants; thousands of Christians not walking in their God-given destiny. Thousands of Christians silencing their voices, not starting their businesses, not writing their blogs or podcasts!
Will you allow your disappointment to cancel out God's plan for you this year?
I leave you with this thought. Nothing catches God my surprise! God knew what Joseph would experience BEFORE he gave him the dream! He knew what each of us would face this year before He gave us vision for 2020. Yet, in spite of what was coming, He declared that this year would be the start of something new for you. I encourage you to not abandon your dream. Ask the Lord to continue to reveal the plan.
Don't be afraid to innovate in this hour!
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
For more on this topic, check out Victoria's recent article on crosswalk.com, Coronavirus As A Gift?
For more on living a life of complete Victory, I invite you to purchase my latest book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional by clicking here.