What Happened to the Clear Vision We Hoped for in 2020?

woman with mask leaning head on window looking tired and sad, what happened to 2020 vision hoped for

At the end of 2019, I was struggling with a severe anxiety disorder relapse fifteen years in the making. It had taken everything out of me. I had to take time off of work. I changed everything about how we were doing life while I was trying to heal. I didn’t think it could get much worse than that place.

Each year as it draws to a close I pray about a word that God may want to use in the upcoming year. As I wrapped up 2019 I really felt the Lord lay the word “joy” on my heart.

I prayed this word would define 2020. By the end of March, it felt like I was living a cosmic joke. Where was this joy I felt the Lord put on my heart? I desired the joy that had been missing for so many months. It was what I was working toward in healing, to find joy.

The joy that God has brought about in my life, I learned quickly, wouldn’t be a circumstantial joy He put on my heart. Not only did COVID put a stop to that, but the healing I was longing for didn’t arrive as quickly as I had hoped.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Drazen Zigic

  • Glasses looking through the eye test, clear vision hoped for 2020

    Six months into 2020 and the struggle was still very real.

    I thought this year would be different. After all, it is the year of “clear vision” right?

    It was everywhere. The articles, sermons, videos, social media posts all proclaiming that 2020 would be the year of clear vision. The play on the year numbers seemed clever, even making empty promises to those who faced a hard few years prior.

    The promises elicited a hope in the world that quickly disappointed.

    Within two months that “clear vision” seemed to come crashing down as it became hard to see or understand anything happening around us. Coronavirus left us in lockdown, protests, riots, natural disasters, and that doesn’t even count anything we have faced on a personal level.

    The year has felt more earth-shattering than clarifying.

    If we can be confident of anything it is that this year has been a struggle for everyone. No one is isolated, or excluded from the pain. We all feel it.

    We started with great hope that things would go our way, our goals and plans would work out. We were sure this year would be the year that things finally worked out.

    The pressure was on for a new decade to deliver in big ways. Our hopes may be what led us to the belief that this new year would bring with it clear vision.

    Related: Listen to Our Coronavirus Podcast: Christians in a Time Of Coronavirus:

    Photo Credit: © iStock/Getty Images Plus/ERphotographer

  • sick child with face mask on looking out window, clear vision hoped for 2020

    The clear vision we hoped for in 2020 failed to show, or did it?

    Maybe the problem with 2020 isn’t that the vision wasn’t clear, but rather we put our hopes in the wrong places to deliver that vision. We put our hopes in what we wanted; in our goals and plans, and what we want most.

    Even the joy that I craved so deeply was a type of joy that I defined. It was a joy that looked like freedom in the areas of mental health, and maybe even an abundance of happy days.

    I realized something about that clear vision we all craved. Maybe it is in fact clearing up for the first time in what may be lifetimes. This year brought us back to the dinner table with our families. It kept us from spending wasted nights out. It kept us on the couch binge-watching movies with our families. It gave us the chance to reclaim our children and share things with them we never had time for.

    2020 taught us how we really see each other, for better or worse. It helped us define what we want and don’t want in the future. It removed strongholds in our lives that were holding us back, and for some, it brought us to places so uncomfortable that we had nowhere to run but to Jesus.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Carlos David

  • sun light shining through flowers in tree branches, clear vision hoped for 2020

    The vision is clearing up after all. Just not how we expected.

    For me, I see it too. The joy I prayed for has been there, just not how I imagined. My circumstances are still the same, I am still in counseling. I struggle with COVID and the unrest in our country. I’m not looking forward to hurricane season, and we even had a rare earthquake right here in North Carolina.

    The joy however is not found in anything that may happen in my life. Joy is not a feeling that I can make up on my own. Joy, I have learned this year, comes in trusting Jesus no matter what. Joy comes in throwing up my hands and letting it all go.

    My joy is Jesus. Not the ease of my days or weeks. Not in quarantine and Coronavirus. Not in politics or protests. No, my joy won’t even be found scrolling endlessly online.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Unsplash

  • Woman with face mask on praying, clear vision hoped for 2020

    My joy is in Jesus alone. My joy is knowing that all of this is temporary.

    Now, that is what I call clear vision.

    If we pause, 2020 has opened our eyes to much more than we realize. Our vision may actually be clearer despite our circumstances. It’s not the vision we craved or hoped for—in fact, I think it will be far better than we could have possibly imagined.

    The question now remains, what will we do with the clearer vision given. Will we choose to use it? Or tuck it away because it isn’t what we would choose?

    Romans 8:28 comes to mind, “For we know that all things will work together for the good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” This isn’t the kind of good you and I would think of. It is good that brings God glory. It doesn’t mean our lives will be without pain, but that the pain will have a purpose and maybe even bring a little joy along the way.

    Photo Credit: © iStock/Getty Images Plus/Anastasiia Stiahailo

    Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.