Fight For The Lovely, Now More Than Ever

At surface level, there’s not a lot that’s lovely or beautiful surrounding us as we begin 2021.

A global pandemic.

Well-documented racism and corruption. 

Seditious actions and a political sphere in turmoil. 

Division, anger, hostility. 

What’s lovely about that? 

It’s easy to succumb to the gloom and fury that are thrust upon us during this time by our friends and family, our digital landscape, and the media. But now more than ever is the time to resist succumbing to those things, and instead, to fight for the lovely. 

A well-known passage of Scripture, Philippians 4:8 (emphasis mine) outlines the things that should be sought out in this world: 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 

It makes sense that these things are not easily seen – we live in a fallen world that is broken beyond belief and corrupted by sin. If we want the lovely, the true, the pure, the just, it must be FOUGHT for. 

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) recently admonished, “Don’t let nihilists become your drug dealers.” His comment is spot on. This world wants to suck all the joy and meaning away from life, leaving nothing but brokenness. We must push back. 

Fighting for the lovely looks like being kind to your neighbor, even when (especially when) you disagree.

Fighting for the lovely looks like a refusal to allow the agenda of the political class and the media to dictate your life, your joy, your priorities. 

Fighting for the lovely looks like ordering your life according to what really matters – God and people. 

And yes, fighting for the lovely expands to include the grim fight against the abuses of people that break God’s heart. Fighting for the lovely is the fight for justice, for dignity, against abuse and corruption. But loveliness brings happy warriors to these fights, not bringers of gloom and doom.

We are not called to just lay down and accept the darkness of the situation. We are called to be light. We are called to seek the lovely. That is exactly what we must do – now, more than ever.

Rebuilding Stronger in 2021

I’ve had two words on my letterboard for the last couple of weeks: 

“Rebuild stronger.” 

(Actually, right now it reads, “Rebuild sronger.” My sister pointed out that I was tired when I spelled it out and missed the t, and have yet to add it. Full disclosure.)

Each glance at those two words is encouraging. Why? Because 2020 broke me, broke us down in every way possible. But in 2021, we can rebuild even stronger.

I always pick a word or phrase to return to over the next year, and “rebuild stronger” is what I’ve picked for 2021. It would be easy to simply say “rebuild” and to work on returning the status quo. But what if that isn’t where we need to return?

For all the atrocities it has contained, 2020 has done a very good job of making all flaws, whether in our personal lives or our society, exposed. It has ripped down a curtain, exposing everything that was not serving us well and all the areas where change should be encouraged. And 2020 in its very essence will alter the way work and life and community function in the future. 

2020 broke us down, but we shouldn’t be rebuilding back to 2019. Instead, we should take a good long look at what life looks like right now and what it should look like at the end of 2021. 

What habits and practices no longer serve you and should change? What does your workflow need to look like? Your wellness routines? Your financial management?

How should your spiritual rhythms and habits be rebuilt to urge you more toward Jesus in the new year? 

Psalm 71:20 says, 

“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.”

We have been broken, but revival and restoration are around the corner. It’s time to rebuild and to rebuild stronger. 

How will you rebuild in 2021?