row the boat

“We’re in this together.” This is a phrase I’m sure we’ve all become extremely familiar with. If at once it was ever comforting, now it seems to be a reminder. A reminder of a life full of fear and uncertainty. I think fondly of simpler times, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: 2020 made me stronger.  

Although there were countless trials (and I’m only 15), I’m grateful for the life lessons this past year taught me. 2020 threw many valuable lessons my way that I can’t help but feel appreciative for at least those. I’ll get into those another time, but for now they’ll remain in the past. Now, these lessons did not come without my fair share of mistakes. In fact, I’m positive that I’ve made far more mistakes than wise choices. It’s what we learn from our mistakes that truly matter. This is a well-known concept, but it couldn’t be truer.

 An old friend of mine made analogies for himself to better understand situations. Since then, I’ve begun to do the same myself. When I think of 2020 I think of white water rafting downstream. Going against the current was pretty much forbidden and held its risks. When the water finally seemed to calm, it’d pick right back up to its typical choppiness. If you just keep rowing the boat, the waters will calm eventually. It’s like the saying “find the calm in the storm.” There will come a time when things get better, just find the positives.

 Something that helped me tremendously is finding the positives in every situation. I’ll be the first to admit, I often forget to do this and will start drowning in the negatives. Positivity goes a long way, trust me. Being fully honest, I’ve been prioritizing my own selfish desires and too many materialistic things. One thing I wish I would have done differently is to have stayed more grounded in my faith. 2020 certainly offered its challenges and the one thing I know would have helped me is a better relationship with God. There have been many points in time where it has become non-existent, but I’m working on it. Any relationship requires a majority 50/50 effort and I know I need to be all in or nothing. I say this because God will put in all the work for me, but that doesn’t do anything for me. My relationship with Him rides solely on my effort because I know He’s never leaving me.  

God has all the time in the world for me. As he does for you and everyone else. For a while, I rejected Christian music on the radio (which I still don’t particularly love), reading any scripture besides when I was forced to do so in my Bible class, and practically ceasing all prayer other than the ones before meals. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to share this, but I want you to know I’m not perfect. I have my ups & downs in life and with God. I understand rejecting “preaching” from people and just wanting to live your life without authority. But let me tell you, having a genuine, imperfect relationship with God does make my life better. It takes time, as does anything that’s worth fighting for. I’m still working on it, but I’m putting in the effort. I hope this is taken as encouragement to explore or strengthen your relationship with God. I’m also writing this to encourage and remind myself the same. After all (and I know this is an incredibly repetitive yet effective term), “we’re in this together.”

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

-Deuteronomy 31:6

Fun Fact: After I finished writing this, my dad noticed the title and mentioned it is the University of Minnesota’s mantra. According to information provided by the school, “row the boat” translates to energy, sacrifice and direction buoyed by a “never give up” attitude. This further solidifies my idea of staying positive and to keep fighting, you’ve got this!