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They say hindsight is 2020. Welp, folks, it’s 2020 and boy are we having a major pause that’s given us the ability to look back and see some things more clearly than maybe we even want to. This coronavirus, quarantine, shutdown, pandemic has been like the big fat timeout to “think” that we didn’t ask for. We have been stripped of our comforts. Our security has been threatened. The fear that lay dormant within many of us has been triggered. We have been pressed on all sides. We have experienced financial loss, relationship loss, opportunity loss and so much more. We have lost loved ones and we have lost our sense of choice.

In all this hardship, we have also gained. I have talked with so many of you and heard all that you are gaining. We have gained insight. We have had the unexpected furlough from jobs to gain the realization that our schedules were too crazy, too hectic, too unbalanced. We have had so much family time that many of us have realized more time together is what our families have needed for years. We have experienced what teachers do everyday and now we feel like we owe them the shirts on our backs. Our gratitude meter has skyrocketed. We have lost the opportunity to gather with our friends, to attend church and sporting events and that’s made us ever more grateful for the ability to do the things we once took for granted. And we have made a long list, I bet, on the things we took for granted that we are now so grateful for. The steaming cappuccino we used to enjoy while looking across the table into someone’s eyes. Hugs. Dinner out at our very favorite restaurants with the cool vibe and the great food. Live music. Kids at school being guided, taught and coached by other amazing influences in their lives. The gym, the very despised gym, the one you hate to go to. Have you ever wanted to go to the gym more than you do now? Oh the list of what we took for granted has grown long in the last few weeks…

Most likely, this time has also brought up some regrets- helpful regrets, regrets we can gain from. I know this hard season has brought up regrets for my husband and I. When we have been pinched financially and our salaries have been cut and our rentals have gone vacant and the Collide mission is at risk to be sustained, it’s easy to wish we could go back and prepare for all this. We can all easily go to the place of wishing we had known what was coming so we could have saved more, spent less, and invested differently.

All of us might be feeling some regret right about now. Maybe even some consequences for choices that we made foolishly and now we sit in those consequences. Some of us might feel remorse over relationships that we didn’t invest in or busyness we bowed down to. Some of us might look back and see that our priorities were off balance and now we feel disappointed. Some of us might lament putting our security in markets we can now no longer trust, instant gratifications we can now no longer tap into or social events we can now no longer attend. It is actually healthy and helpful to pay attention to these feelings we are having, not so that we sit in regret and feel terrible and awful, but so these feelings change us and invite us to live differently in the future.

And many of us are sitting in this hardship and feeling a longing, a deep desire, a want of more, of God. Maybe we realized we were living such harried lives, such driven schedules, hustling to and fro that it’s been so very long since we allowed the Divine, the Supernatural, the “other than” to sit with us. Maybe we got so comfortable that we stopped calling Him. And now here we sit. Sometimes being with God can feel like sitting next to a stranger on the bus. Only it’s God, our Father, the One who made us and has walked with us our entire life. He’s been with us. We are the ones who’ve been elsewhere. And it’s in the hard seasons that sometimes we feel more deeply this longing, this innate need for God. This feeling is a gift God is giving you to unwrap. Many of us have enough time in our lives right now to feel this feeling. And what this feeling is, is a sense that we were never meant to do life apart, life distant, life so preoccupied that we have no space for our Creator. Even if it feels like we now have to strike up a conversation with the Stranger on the bus, this recognition is a gift.

I am having so many conversations with people who are really allowing this time to teach them something. They are grabbing hold of wisdom and insight and hoping to take what they are learning with them into the new season ahead. Hindsight is 20/20 but I say, Insight is even better, insight is 20/10. When we grab hold of the insight we have acquired from the challenging seasons we walk through, we will see more clearly as we move into the future.

Proverbs 4 practically begs us to grab hold of insight. And boy there has never been a better time than now. Proverbs 4:5 says “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.” When we go through a friendship breakup, a miscarriage, the death of a dream, a pandemic, a job change, a big move, a divorce, all of these give us insight that we can take with us into new seasons ahead. But let us not forget what we have learned!

My greatest encouragement to us right now in this season before we move into a new one, is to grab hold of the insight and wisdom you have gained. This is so important that I started working on an Insight Journal for us. Then some of our amazingly talented Collide staffers made it useful and pretty:) This journal that we want to GIFT to you will help you pause, reflect and ask good questions. It will create a space where you can make notes to yourself about what you have recognized, seen, heard, and experienced in tough times, so that you will not forget. This journal will help you to not live in the past, but learn from it and lean into the future. We are people who sing a song with lyrics that say “I was blind but now I see.” When you and I walk through hardship, trials and pain, we have the ability to see differently. God will not waste what we have walked through. Give yourself the gift of writing down what you are learning right now with this beautiful FREE journal so that you will remember what you now see. Hold onto that insight so that you can bring it with you on all your future travels.

– Willow

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