Can I be honest and say I’m missing my “normal?”
Normal tends to keep us grounded. It offers a sense of rhythm to our days, our lives, our spirits.
When “normal” is stripped away, as it has been recently, we’re forced to deal with the impact of that loss on our hearts. My normal defined my days. I knew what to expect. I gained a sense of achievement by accomplishing my tasks, by being on time to pick up the boys from school and then get them where they needed to be.
The thing about normal and schedules is that we can also hide behind those appointments on our calendars. We can allow our hearts to become distracted by the doing and forget what it means to simply “Be” with our Father.
Before lockdowns, we had better control in our relationships, because most of us didn’t spend too much time with that kid or teenager with the super power of driving us crazy. We didn’t consider the issues with our spouses, or other loved ones in the home, because one or more of us had jobs outside the house.
But, with life-as-we-know-it turned upside down, we’re forced to face facets of ourselves that we’ve ignored because, well, we could.
When we’re busy doing, we don’t always search our hearts. We don’t pause to listen to Jesus’ whispers. Or His warnings to stop, be still, and notice the sin-issues taking root.
Now that most of our “doing” has been forbidden, we have an abundance of time with our families, our loved ones, or a lot of time to ourselves. A part of us may want to fill it with stuff, to find a way to stay busy, maybe even to force a new rhythm of “normal.”
Being in a time of isolation—either by ourselves or in close proximity with others—reveals both winning and flawed aspects in each of our characters. It’s difficult for me to witness certain attitudes in our sons that we should have been more intentional about correcting. Now I’m viewing up close and personal some of the fruit of our choices.
It was easier to discipline some actions than to train the hearts. Now, I’m viewing the fruit. But God . . . He can redeem the lacks in our parenting, in His time.
Maybe we’re discovering areas in our relationships with our spouses or others in our homes that we’ve ignored. We may be in a place, now, where we must choose how to respond.
Will we criticize, or will we do the hard work of really talking through some of the lingering hurts? Will we wall ourselves off, or will we risk being vulnerable? Granted, this isn’t always possible. We’re living in a time unlike any we’ve ever experienced, and we have so many choices.
Maybe this is a season where God is calling us to something different, to something deeper. Maybe He’s inviting us into a more authentic relationship with Him. And maybe, He wants to do some healing work in us.
As we grapple with walking through this season of rhythm-changes, of not having “normal,” here are a few ways to prepare our hearts, so we can live more fruitful external lives:
1. Choose to surrender our hearts to God each morning, to trust Him to lead us in our days. Choose to yield to the conversations and the activities He leads us to do. Choose to trust Him in whatever He allows into our days.
2. Spend daily time with God in His word. We may not have control over much in our lives right now, but we know the One who does. When we make Him our top priority, God equips us for whatever we will face.
3. Open our hearts to God’s prodding and repent from the sins He reveals. We can trust God will do the hard work in love.
4. Be intentional in prayer. Most of us have way more time right now. Why not lift up family, friends, and situations to our Father’s throne?
5. Practice gratitude. Whether it’s something small like a sunny day after snow, or something bigger like the mom-win I had when I found an outdoor activity our boys actually enjoyed, let’s thank God.
Is any of this easy? No! But, if we humble ourselves before our Father, He’ll meet us there and draw us closer to Himself. And what could we need more than that in this time?
What about you? What has God revealed to you about your heart in this season? How are you drawing near to Him?
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