7 Lessons 2020 Taught Me NOT to Do

by | Jan 4, 2021 | what you can do

Photo cred. Janet Plock

2020 was a rough year for many of you, especially parents with broken hearts. We’ve learned a lot from living through years of heartache, but now we learned more from living through a pandemic. I’m sure none of us wants a repeat of those experiences. As I looked back over the last twelve months I realized there was also a lot I learned NOT to do from the past year. And as I thought about those lessons, I realized each one on my list could help us as parents of troubled kids. See what you think.

I learned NOT to:

  1. Hold tightly to my expectations, but surrender my wants and keep trusting God.
  2. Let disappointment affect me, but be flexible and accept what is.
  3. Isolate and withdraw completely, but find ways to stay connected.
  4. Succumb to worry and fear, but remember God is still in control. He is my source of peace, not what is or isn’t happening around me.
  5. Give up or become cynical, but hold on to hope. My hope comes from God alone.
  6. Ignore my self-care habits, but keep doing what makes me healthy emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
  7. Stop believing, but continue to have confidence that God is with me, loves me, and cares about me. He will help me whatever is ahead.

The Illusion

photo cred. Jeff Pierre on Unsplash

Our children’s situations cause us great amounts of anxiety, much like the whole year has—between COVID-19 and politics there’s been an overload of stress-filled days. Our children’s problems were already heavy on our hearts then we added even more burdens on top of that. For some, worry and anxiety got the best of us. Depression may have crept in as well. I know a number of people who struggled with depression’s dark cloud for the first time in their lives due to feeling so out of control and lonely. How much more have we who may have already wrestled with these challenges for not only one year, but for many years?

“Worry assumes the possibility of control over the uncontrollable. The illusion of control lurks inside your anxiety. Anxiety and control are two sides of one coin. When we can’t control something we worry about it.” (David Powlison) So true Mr. Powlison.

Focus Here

Friends, since we have no control and can’t change the course of the future, let’s focus on what we can do:

  • Surrender our child into God’s hands and trust Him more.
  • Be flexible.
  • Accept what is.
  • Stay connected.
  • Remember Who is in control.
  • Lean into His peace.
  • Hold on to His hope.
  • Do all we can to stay healthy in every way.
  • Cling to our faith no matter what comes.

Which one of those do you want to focus on this year? I think I will choose to strengthen my connections with others—those who are encouraging and compassionate, who inspire me and help me grow, who are positive and faith-filled, who speak life into my world. I sure do need them.

**What did you learn NOT to do this past year? I’d love to hear from you!

Recommended resources:

If you want more connections with others who understand, try one of our online groups (we use Zoom).

  • My book study (You Are Not Alone) meets every Wednesday starting this week, Jan. 6th from 7 – 9 pm EASTERN time. This is the link to register.


  • Our Hope for Hurting Parents group meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month from 7 – 9 pm EASTERN time. Jan. 12th is our next meeting. Our website lists other groups – both online and in- person. This is the link to register.


  • Purpose in the Pain Retreat – I want you moms to know about a wonderful retreat planned for March 4-7th in Arizona. It’s for any woman who has experienced pain who would like to find healing and purpose from that experience. I am one of the speakers and I’d love for you to join me for this special time. Register now to receive a discounted priced of $595 (it’s been extended!!). A deposit of $250 will save your spot and lock in that price. Check out the website and ask God is this is for you. Bring a friend and double the fun!