What I'm Learning From My "New Normal"
The words of Psalm 46:10 are literally written on the wall of the room where I do most of my writing as a reminder to me to never forget how to connect with God. As I sat down this morning for my quiet time with Him, I glanced over at that wall as I do every day, but the words took on new meaning for me today.
I have said for years that I believe Satan uses our “busy”ness to keep us stressed, unfocused, frustrated and distracted from the things that matter most in our lives. Just this year, I have purchased numerous books that seek to help with the struggle of hurry, ignoring the Sabbath, renewing of our minds, and taking back our lives. It seems that the message of “slowing down” was a common one among many faith leaders as we began a new decade.
After a few days of watching far too much news, heartache, and evil, I made a conscious choice that I needed to find something that made me feel better…..not worse. I recalled that my mother-in-law had recommended a Hallmark series that she knew I would enjoy. She was right!
Over the last week, I’ve spent a great deal of my isolation time binge watching “When Calls the Heart”, a Hallmark original series set in the 1900’s. There are so many things I love about the show. I’m a sucker for syrupy romance, which it has in abundance. I enjoy the beautiful dresses of the characters and the flawless skin of the main character, Elizabeth. I enjoy the polite banter and the tongue in cheek flirtations. I appreciate the diligence that it took to in those days to gather firewood, pump water, and to make every meal from scratch. I marvel at the one room schoolhouse where a teacher stood to educate children of all ages at the same time. I am almost jealous of their pace of life and the simplicity of it all.
Although I certainly am not suggesting that I would enjoy returning to a time without any technology or when very few homes could afford electricity, I have considered the pace difference between the lives of the TV characters and my own family. Clearly those days called for patience in abundance and luxuries were greatly appreciated. People were kind to one another and more often than not had to rely one each other to survive. There were certainly some characteristics of those simple days that we could use more of in our world today.
For me, I’m thinking that maybe that’s the big take away of this pandemic. I think it’s safe to say that it will be months, perhaps even a year, before we feel our “normal” again. I’d like to hope that maybe for me, I’ll have a new “normal” once this ends. I would like to think that I won’t have as much difficulty making the time to be still. I hope that my calendar becomes a tool to help me organize my life rather than what dictates my every moment. After all, I have a clean slate and can begin to fill it slowly with the things that I choose to in coming days.
I pray I remember how much I’ve enjoyed cooking a meal each night and sitting at a table with my family to eat rather than in front of a television. I want to hold on to the pleasure of getting outside, walking the dogs, watching the sun set and hearing neighborhood kids giggling in their yards as they play with their siblings.
Of course I’ll be grateful to be able to run to the store to grab what I “need” at free will and I can’t wait to gather with my church family again….but I also hope I don’t lose sight of how much I’ve missed those freedoms. On those Sundays that I’m tempted to sleep in or watch a service online, I pray I remember how much I long to see the faces of my friends and to shake hands or hug one another during the welcome. I won’t take a crowd for granted and can’t wait to enjoy sporting events again. Long lines, at least for a while, will make me smile with gratitude that we are all together again.
In every situation and circumstance we have an opportunity to grow and to get better. For me, I am focusing on learning to “be still” and to be grateful. I challenge you to ponder what your takeaway might be. What is God teaching your during these difficult days and how might your “normal” look different in the months ahead?
Finally, may we never forget the second half of Psalm 46:10….”and KNOW that I am God.” He’s still on the throne, He’s still in control and that is something we can KNOW with certainty. Hang in there friends....this too shall pass.
Stephani is a speaker and certified life coach who has a passion for helping others identify and explore their personality traits, gifts and superpowers to improve communication and deepen relationships, often using the Enneagram. She provides group coaching, live events, team-building seminars and webinars in addition to hosting a bi-weekly podcast called "What's Your Story?" For information about having her speak to your group, upcoming events or more about coaching, visit her website http://www.stephanicook.org.