Over the last month or so, there has been this phrase thrown around which I am sure you have heard, “the new normal.” Everyone is talking about a “new normal” after quarantine; I have seen two different reactions to this idea. People are either excited or fearful at the idea of a “new normal”. There is uncertainty about what the future holds and, for the most part, it is accompanied by concern or fear. As you may know, if you have read my other posts, I value consistency and security, I don’t believe I am alone there. Consistency is also essential for my children who have autism. The pandemic plus moving states has been hard on my three kids, however, I do believe that when we get outside of our normal routine or there is an end to a season, there is an opportunity that comes with it.
We have an opportunity at this time to reevaluate our normal. It is easy to reminisce about times before quarantine and it gives us so many things to be grateful for. However, what about the portions that weren’t so wonderful? Maybe, you actually didn’t enjoy the job you have been laid off from or furloughed. Extra time with your kids might have revealed some areas you would like to adjust, so you can make the most with the time you have with your family. Now is the time to reevaluate and make changes. There is an opportunity to dream up what you would like your new normal to look like and to start taking action steps now. When your routine has been turned upside down, you get to decide what your new schedule will look like. If you want to change your diet and add in exercise, now’s the time to do it. If you’re considering a change in career, maybe now’s the time to seriously consider it. Maybe you have been wanting to say no to some things because you overfilled your plate, this is the perfect time to change that. Whatever it may be, while everything is in limbo, now is the time to make major changes.
There have been season changes in my life that I have just let happen and then there are the ones I have taken charge of. The seasons I have taken charge of have been seasons where I have thrived and felt the most growth in. These are the seasons where my relationship with God has grown and my marriage has grown. The seasons where I have either not had the energy to embrace or have just been frozen in fear, they have not been my most flourishing or rewarding seasons. In fact, those seasons have been some of my most painful growth seasons. Those seasons are where I have learned some lessons the hard way.
For those of us who know and love God, we know that our future is in God’s hand, we trust Him. However, we all have seasons where we have had to walk out some heartbreaking experiences. In order to go where God is taking us, we have had to walk through some deep valleys, not knowing when the end is coming. Trusting God has not meant there won’t be any valleys or it will be easy or without pain. Trusting God is knowing that the valley leads to a mountain, which leads to a mountain top that produces perspective. Our time in the valley determines our growth and strength to climb the mountain which in turn produces the perspective we get when we reach the mountain top. The dreams we dream and steps we take in the valley determine the path we choose and the mountain we will climb. Choose your path!
In so many ways our world is in a valley right now. The world is mourning the loss of family and friends, we are mourning lost jobs and not knowing how we are going to pay the mortgage and feed our children. Amongst all the sorrow, fear, and uncertainty, we will begin to put one foot in front of the other and before you know it we will be climbing out of this valley. Let’s begin to dream of what we want that mountain to look like. Let’s make sure we like the path we are on, that it leads to a view or perspective we can be proud of. Let me encourage you that great things will come out of this season because you have no choice but to reevaluate and to build upon the great things you had when it was normal.
For myself, I am thinking through what I want for this next season and as cliche as it may sound, I want to invest more in relationships. My friendships have taken a hit in this last season and I want to make sure that I put some energy and value into the people who mean the most to me. We have just moved states so everything is different but as it may feel like we are starting over again, we are not. We carry with us the wisdom, growth, and experiences we have had in our prior seasons with us. Starting a new season doesn’t mean we erase our prior seasons but we can leave the not so good experiences and take all the good that we have experienced with us. You can do the same in this season. Here are some questions for you to ponder…
- What are those things in your life that you would like to see change whether they be small changes or massive changes?
- Are there portions of your life, you are happy to let go of?
- Are there experiences or areas of your life you would like to take with you?
- Are you frozen in fear or are you taking steps?
As we keep our eyes set on God, we can be certain that we will find ourselves on a path that will lead to the right mountain. “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him;” – Psalm 37:23. So let’s do some dreaming, let’s give space for hope and anticipation for our next season. A new normal does not have to be bad and full of fear and dread, it can also give room for new ideas and fresh outlooks.