On Sunday we gathered in smaller online groups of 5 or 6. Our cluster shared our reflections on the things that have changed us this year, how we've grown spiritually and what we want to take with us into 2021. Here is where I'm at.

There's no doubt this year has been one of immense uncertainty, grief and loss for all of us. It would be easy to only see the loss. I've struggled with more anxiety, depression and panic attacks than I've ever experienced. It's not been pretty. And now I can say I am truly grateful for all of it. Because I've learned through it all to allow myself to show up exactly as I am with whatever I have to give and to know that that is enough. I've built my life around striving to 'fix' myself first. To muster up my 'best self' for the sake of others. But, let me tell you, when I started pulling down this wall and turned up just as I am sharing my struggles, God met me there. I don't have to be something I'm not for God to be with me. He already is. I just need to see it. And so, while life has been getting more intense and challenging, the weight has been lifting from my shoulders. It's a relief to really understand that it is not my work to strive, but to let go and let the spirit be present. This is a lesson that has been reflected in thoughts from various meetings and conversations and one that has been so pivotal for me in 2020.

2020 has also been a year of busying myself. Making things, plans and goals and ticking boxes until my hand hurts. On reflection, this may have been my way of trying to 'fix' myself, or prove my worth. It did neither of those things. It just amplified the tension and wore me out. I have been thinking a lot about talks we've had about Jesus going into solitude. When I think of Jesus I imagine him with people, healing people and talking to people. But, there are many times he escaped the crowds, went up a mountain and prayed. It was habitual.

"So he Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed." Luke 5:16

I crave that stillness. Yet, when the world handed that alone time to me on a platter, I did everything to fill the space. I'm not a big fan of New Years resolutions. But, something I am committing to taking into next year is a period of solitude. To remove the unnecessary time-filling distractions and noise and instead to focus fully on God. To let Gods work come to light, rather than push my own agenda. To pray and be still.

Everything always seems to point back to letting go, to gratitude and to hope. So, despite the rocky 2020 terrain, I am thankful to be letting go a little more, and I have a confident hope that God is the answer, the rest, and the love in all of it.

- Kel W