New Journeys and New Normals
As I lay in bed, I let my eyes become adjusted to the darkness. I turn over, willing my tears not to fall. I’m tired of the tears. I’m tired of fearing what each day will hold. I’m tired of feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted. No one ever told me that being intentional on thinking on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) would be a fight. I didn’t know that I would lay awake at night so exhausted yet unable to find sleep because I want to find a way to fix it. Until this season where I have experienced so much unknown, I have never realized how much I focus on the what-ifs in a situation. I am one who thrives in safety, boundaries, checklists and the known. When the opposite of those things happens, my insides turn to slush. I can’t think straight until I put everything in order and come up with a plan and start in on a checklist. I become a problem solver. I quickly work to make the unknown, known. But what happens when the unknown lingers, and you can’t be the problem solver?
It’s during this season that I have learned to wait unlike ever before. I have learned what it means to wait and to keep walking. In seasons before that have included waiting, I could always see the light at the end of the path. I knew that the waiting season would be over soon if I could just hold on long enough because the problems and issues would be solved with a little of this and a little of that. Well, today… I am still waiting. There is no light at the end of the path. Will this path ever end, or will I fall off the edge somewhere I ask myself? I am walking in unfamiliar terrain and an area that I know nothing about. More questions, insecurities, and unknowns are waiting. Never has “we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) been truer in my life. Each day I wake up I am not sure what the day holds and what it will look like. For someone who is such a planner and thrives under stability, I have been unstable on my feet for a while and there has been no plan! Think of a toddler who is just realizing they can walk yet unsure if they want to take the next step unassisted. Instilled in them is the want to be safe, to crawl into the arms of their mom or dad and be taken from place to place, yet something stronger inside of them wants to be able to go place to place on their own. So, they set out to walk and they endure the unstable, the fear and even the pain that comes with bumps as they stumble and fall. I am learning that I must do the same thing when the world around me becomes unstable, which is more of a common occurrence than not.
As we live each day we are on a journey and journeys aren’t always easy. We can see countless examples throughout both the Old and New Testaments of those who journeyed. From Adam and Eve once they were exiled from the Garden of Eden to the apostles journeying throughout the New Testament to reach and teach the nations about Jesus. We can also look at some of the modern heroes and read of the journeys of faith they walked. Such as Glady Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, and Rees Howells to name a few. Each of them had to endure the unfamiliar, the scary and the unknown and become adjusted to a new normal. A new normal that was not known. A new normal where not only did they thrive but the gospel of God thrived. And isn’t that what our lives should be? A place where each day honor is brought to God and His gospel thrives through us?
In the book of James, he states right in the first chapter that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of any kind. It is through these trials, hardships, the unknowns, and the new normals that our faith can go grow and mature if we journey with endurance. It can be easy to want to give up and let someone carry us from place to place, but deep down we want to do walk it out. Just as a toddler endures the instability, fear and the pain as they learn to walk, we can do the same thing as we walk out our new normals. How do we do this? I think it is a little different for everyone but a few weeks ago my pastor made two statements that have turned around my thinking on my new normal and the way that I see the journey ahead of me. They are:
1. When we are abiding in Christ, we focus on faith instead of fear.
2. When we are abiding in Christ we hold onto the promise and not the problem.
Through these two statements, I realized I was so focused on this new normal that my journey had become about how do I feel safe again and not about what I know to be true of God. I began reminding myself that God is still good even when the journey looks anything but good. I stopped fighting in my own strength trying to make sure everything looks like they were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy and realized they just were. The term walking by faith has a new meaning for me. I don’t have to know how it's going to turn out or even when. I can confidently and even excitedly walk this journey not knowing what each day holds because I know who holds each day. (Cliché I know, but still true!) God is not surprised by what I am surprised by. In fact, though I can’t see the light He is walking before me. And when I can trust nothing else, I can trust in Him, and He will see me through. Until I invited Him on this journey with me I felt so alone. My people have been cheering me on and they were great, they reached out, encouraged, loved me and held me up but I still felt alone. I forgot to invite the most important person on this unknown journey with me, God. He was there waiting until I looked up and asked for His help. He waited until I surrendered my problem solving and handed all the things to Him. The tears are fewer now, the nights not quite as long and the unknown still there. As long as I continue to endure and trust in God, I can handle the tears, the unknown and the night knowing I am not alone.
I don’t know if your nights are filled with tears. I don’t know if you are laying awake with anxious thoughts of the unknown. Maybe the new normals you are facing seem more than you can handle. Take some time to do a personal inventory on how and what are you focusing more on. Are you focusing more on fear and the problem less than you are on faith and His problems? Maybe the unknown has shaken you, but remember your Foundation is unshakeable just ask Him to journey alongside you. The Bible is filled with words inspired by God that we can hold to as promises and they light up the journey we are on.
Listed are some of my favorites during this season on new normals. May they encourage you too!
- Isaiah 42:16
- James 1:1-
- Psalm 27:13,14
- Psalm 119:105
- Proverbs 16:1,6
Contributed by: Danielle Morris, Executive Secretary