The Lemon Year

It’s movie night for the siblings, and we all decided that we needed some old fashioned fun on the screen. The year is 2020, and it is notorious for being horrific across the board. A storm of politics, drama, catastrophes, and the occasional gossip bombarded our quarantined homes with negativity. As the beginning of the holiday season rolled in, we as a group needed a reprieve from adult worries.

October would no longer have Hallelujah parties, November wouldn’t have the pseudo-family reunion, and in December, we would hope to beat the online crowd for Amazon shipping. Desperately escaping to our imaginations, we went to any children’s movie at all, fitting for the season. Half of the four of us wanted to watch something scary for the spooky season, while the other petitioned not to have nightmare fodder. We arrived somewhat regrettably at the movie “The Witches.” We realized it was the one children’s movie coming out that was not glorifying evil while not taking the fun out. We didn’t need more stress. We just wanted a taste of ordinary life again.

We laughed, we cried, we even jumped a little at the remake. Then the ending came. I won’t spoil it for you newbies out there, but needless to say, it was a hard dose of reality on screen. Looking at each other as the credits rolled by, we knew that even children in a movie needed coping strategies.

multiethnic family resting together on sofa with dog in living room

As Christians, we will not be shielded from having troubles in our lives. While everyone else was struggling within the pandemic, we fought on our knees in prayer for the strength to keep going. Lost jobs, broken plans, lack of socializing, hateful people, and illness are all enough on their own, but all in a year? It is enough to make anyone want to run away. Today we will discuss some critical questions we all considered in 2020 and dive into how we can win, even in a lemon of a year. I challenge you to think about how deep your faith goes and what character you built along the way.

What do you do when the lemons of life keep coming? 

It would be so easy to be bitter about what happened to you and stay angry about what wasn’t your fault. As a believer, you must rise to the challenges of life, thinking about the blessing in the mess. An old saying reflects this best, “If you haven’t experienced it, keep living, and you will.” It is a basic part of life that we encounter challenges as well as triumphs. There are times in everyone’s life where they will run into a season of struggle or a season of purpose; the only difference is how they perceive it. Everything you are going through right now makes you supremely qualified for what you will encounter later, and it would be worth the journey. Sometimes it takes pressure in your life to get the results needed for your purpose.

What will you do if your life is changed permanently?

 Do you remember when you were eleven years old? The only thing you needed to worry about was going to school, spending time with your friends, and your favorite activities. You didn’t need to be concerned with bills, career, or having a family because it wasn’t your season to do that. Just because you are older doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is worse; it just means that you are further in life. The same can be said of your current challenges and circumstances. You may not be dealing with what you want to be in, but you will certainly encounter what you need. In scripture, the Lord tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV). This is a sign that God will see us through no matter what goes on in our life. Change is inevitable; when you understand that, you will become grateful for everything positive God gives. What will be a blessing one week might be a problem next, but God is consistent. Even if the next phase of our life holds trouble, we must remember, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When you figure out that even the troubles of life will not last forever, you can hold onto your hope in an eternally good God. 

How Can You Win in a year like 2020?

Realize that it is truly a blessing to be alive.

  • Did you get sick? If not, you are blessed. Health is not a guarantee in this life. So if you are healthy, make the best use of it.
  • If you were sick, are you feeling better? You are blessed. Not everyone gets through a serious illness. That is what makes you a survivor and a warrior.

Be grateful for what is going right in your life.

  • Did you have a job to go to? Then you were blessed. Most people lost their jobs, and most people have a hard time finding another one.
  • Do you have a family? Whether or not they are your favorite people in the world is moot. You have a family. Some people would love to be able to see their family again. 
  • Do you have friends? Good friends are hard to find and even harder to keep in touch with these days. If your friends call you or pick up the phone when you need them, you are very blessed indeed. 
  • Can you find a moment to laugh? Then you realize how important it is to find joy in the little things. Every moment that you find happiness should be treasured.
  • Did you overcome anything this year? Whether it takes crying it out, working it out, fighting it out, you make it happen. Be proud of yourself for surviving what you have been through, and give yourself some credit.

No matter how you made it through, by God’s help, you are still here. Sometimes the greatest win is the obvious one. Walk forward and keep trying. You may have to press towards the marks in front of you, but they will inevitably be your achievements one day. When you have lemons, make lemonade. 

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