by Brenna Fields Hayes
2021 has been a year of firsts and change for me. My first book “Returning to Wholeness” was released in late 2020, so 2021 was filled with several new experiences (podcast appearances, book fairs, speaking engagements, and new ministry opportunities). As I reflect on the year, I realized that these were things I’d prayed for over the last few years, not having an idea of how or when they would come to pass.
As I began to reflect on how God has kept me and blessed me in 2021, I asked myself these questions: “What did I learn in 2021? What lesson from this year will I carry into future years?”
Before I reveal what the lesson is, let me share a little bit about what’s been happening over the last 18 months. There was a period in the middle of 2020 when I decided to look for a new ministry opportunity. I found a company that matches churches with open position and potential candidates. I submitted the required paperwork and interviewed with the company, explaining what kind of position I was looking for. The meeting went well (or so I thought), and the interviewer said he would get back to me a few days with a strategy on how we could move forward.
Well…to this day, I have not heard back from the interviewer (not even an email to say the company no longer wanted to work with me). Imagine my disappointment…we left our conversation on a very positive note (or so I thought), and I was left wondering what went wrong. Nothing went wrong… God closed that door. I had taken my search for a new opportunity into my own hands, and God, in His wisdom, shut that down! After I got out of my feelings, I decided to take my hands off this part of my life, while I continued to serve in the ministry position I was in.
Fast forward to November of 2020. I receive a direct message on social media from a local pastor. He shared that he had been listening to my weekly teachings on Facebook (God had instructed me to do my weekly messages again after a hiatus) and was very interested in meeting with me to get to know me.
To make a long story short…we met, we began dating, and we were married in July of 2021. Not only did God bless me with a godly mate, but he also blessed with me a new ministry opportunity.
So, what’s the lesson for me in 2021 is…let God be God! We may sometimes get impatient while we wait for the things we’ve prayed for. Proverbs 3:5-6 comes to mind here. As I was waiting for the answer to my prayer to provide a new opportunity, I decided to lean on my own understanding (thankfully, God quickly reversed what I was trying to do). When I chose to be obedient and “trust in the Lord with all my heart”, God opened a door that no man can shut!
Another scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 37:5: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act” (ESV). Once I committed my way to God, he acted in ways I could never have imagined.
Lastly, as I waited, I needed to lean on Romans 8:28 (all things work together for the good of them who love God and are called according to His purpose). I had to trust that a closed door of opportunity meant that God would open a better for me. And that definitely was the case!
As we prepare to enter a new year in a few days, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what you learned in 2021. How has the lesson impacted you? And now that you’ve learned the lesson, how will you move forward into 2022?