If this is the new normal then what is the old normal? If you’ve been suffering through this pandemic then it’s not a new normal. Crying may last for the night but joy comes in the morning. As seasons change so do our circumstances. The winter season may be upon us, but we can always enjoy it. On the slopes or just viewing the bright snow that covers the darkness from the comfort of our home. Looking from the inside, my street looks pretty now with snowbanks and ploughed streets and sidewalks. But looking from the outside in, I want to stay by the fireplace and dream of warmer places. That’s enjoyment too.
Once lockdowns are lifted and life may appear to be returning to some kind of normalcy, we must realize that life will not be normal. What has been terrible and abnormal has been frustrating, stressful and plain miserable on many levels. Beyond normal. However, I do want to ask the question, “Do you wish you could return to normal?” The old normal may have been good, but if we want growth in our spiritual and emotional life, we should want to change.
A few years into our marriage, God asked me a personal question that would have life changing consequences for our family? Actually, it was to my husband who then asked me. Would I leave my newly acquired comfort zone and follow God’s direction to an unknown place? It was like a bomb went off in my head! We had just sold everything back home in Canada and moved to attend a 2-year Bible College in Dallas.
My dream of studying the Bible flashed before my eyes. After a brief reflection, I retorted, first to my husband and then to God, “We just got here.” Why? It didn’t make sense to sell our home, and pack our earthly belongings into a minivan to drive across the USA. God was calling my husband to pastor a church in Finland. Surely, he would let me know of the plan before all this!
I had a choice to make
Be obedient to God’s call on my husband or reject the prompting?
The comfort zone of each of our lives is different, but we all have our comfortable place in life. Mine at the time was the beautiful surroundings and warm climate we had just moved to. A swimming pool in the courtyard of our apartment complex brought countless hours of joy to our little family.
After we had entered into the student life whole heartedly, I was now facing a test. Would I follow God’s leading or not? And leave the comforts of this life behind.
Just like Abraham was asked to leave his country to follow God’s direction into the promised land, I was facing a dilemma in my soul. I did not have any future promise except that God would be there with us. Would it be a promised land or not, I had no idea. I just needed to obey and leave the comforts behind.
Abraham’s story came to mind when I thought of our situation at the time.
“By faith, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8.
And by faith he lived there like a stranger in a foreign country. I’m sure he had a lot more worries that most of us. Temporary situations are a testing ground for us to see if we are thankful to God for his provision, even if it’s manna. Or a cold take-out restaurant meal. This pandemic cannot be our permanent circumstance, but a place of molding us into something more Christ-like. The stay-at-home orders should bring us to thankfulness that we have a home. Not everyone does.
If we submit to the process, we will come out more pliable on the other side, and be willing to leave our comforts to pursue God’s purposes.
Are we willing to leave the comfortable life or stay behind? Following the common orders for the good of others, and for ourselves, whether we like it or not, is not totally negative when we have a future to look forward to. Our minds are the battle ground most of the time. We can talk about how we can’t go to restaurants or go a church building, but is that going to help anything. We’ve all had to leave some comforts during this pandemic, but no good will come out of it if we refuse to submit to the potter’s wheel.
Focus on something new
There are so many ways we can change during this difficult time. Focus on something new, like learn a new skill, or build stronger relationships with loved ones, even virtually, if necessary.
Are we willing to trade what is comfortable for the interim difficulties? We can always wait for haircuts or restaurants if we look at the big picture. The promised land awaits, even though we may never return to normal. But what is normal anyways when adventures await us? Life is always changing. Think on the good things.
Here are three things we can do now:
1) count our blessings
2) live in the present
3) focus on Christ.
Since that day in Dallas, I’ve had doubts, but God has not left our family without the promises of inheritance.
Are you willing to let go of your comfort for future gain of a better life with God?