Life around here hasn’t been normal for quite some time. One inconvenience after another this last year has interrupted the daily and weekly routines that I typically count on to remain at peace and sane. I have felt so much unrest and discontent and I realized that through it all, I’ve been holding my breath, putting my life on hold, waiting to get back to normal (or my idea of what normal should be). I’ve even struggled to write this post because the setting at home right now isn’t exactly what I am used to!!
The problem with this is that normal has consistently remained out of my reach. Once one disruption has come to a close another has popped up, keeping me gasping for breath and out of sorts. So, what has this taught me? That I may be putting too much importance on “normal”.
Is hoping for normal a bad thing?
I would say normal is not at all bad. In fact, there are some really great benefits to knowing what to expect day after day:
- Rest – It takes a lot of energy to keep up with a new environment, schedule, or people.
- Comfort – There is a lot of security in the familiarity of your life.
- Freedom to Serve – When you don’t have think too much about newness or upheaval in your life, you are free to step out in faith and serve where God leads.
I have been in plenty of seasons of normal, and they were wonderful and good. But, there are downsides to too much normal that can be dangerous to your growth in the Lord. It is important to be on the lookout for them.
- Misdirected Reliance –If we are looking to routines and familiarities for our peace instead of to the true Peace-Giver, we are confusing what, or who, is sovereign in our lives.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
- Complacency – When life is too comfortable, we can grow complacent in our faith.
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What to do when back to normal doesn’t happen
I have really been struggling with this one. After all, you can only hold your breath for so long. Eventually, you have to learn to breathe “even though”. Whether you’re dealing with an extended illness in the family, you’re going through a separation, or you’ve lost your job, at some point you need to keep moving forward.
The idea for this post has been on my heart for a while now, but as I’ve said before, I am currently in the thick of “not normal” and have been unable to find direction. That is, until today.
Last week I started Priscilla Shirer’s study on Elijah, and today’s message hit me directly between the eyes. What’s cool about God, is that it was a direct connection to what I am writing here right now (and to what I personally, have been struggling with). So, I am going to share some of it with you.
The verse Shirer uses in this particular part of the study is:
You shall drink from the brook 1 Kings 17:4a
This verse may not seem like much, but when you understand the context, it might change your life. You see, Elijah had just announced to King Ahab that God would cause a drought in the land for the unforeseeable future (1 Kings 17:1). You’d think the next instruction he would receive from the Lord would be to remain and oversee the King’s next steps, or at the very least to return home and wait out the drought in familiarity, but God had other plans in mind. He sent Elijah to Cherith, a small brook destined to dry up during the impending absence of rain. (vs. 2-4).
“God intentionally hid His beloved prophet near a water source that was at best seasonal…God in His sovereignty knew this would happen. Before He sent him…The God of oceans made him a promise: “You will drink of the brook”…Your needs will be met. You will be refreshed. No question. No matter. No ifs, ands, or buts.”Shirer, Elijah
Trusting God at the brook
Living for any period of time at a dried-up waterbed waiting for God’s direction is an unsettling place to be. Nobody likes feeling the unrest and discomfort. But there is good news:
“Your new position at Cherith has come with a promise. A promise of God’s care and provision. Thank Him for this, even while perhaps you sit there today beside a brook in your own life that’s looking mighty dry right now.”Shirer, Elijah
These are the verses she includes with the study and what God spoke to me through them:
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
Even when life is not normal, He is.
if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14b
He has not left me.
He keeps me by His side.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. 2 Timothy 4:18a
I can stand firm on Him.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
He is waiting for me to talk to Him.
He wants to guide me.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
He has given me all that I need to carry out what He expects of me today.
“Your peace and provision are not rooted in the undependable things around you. Your hope is embedded in something else. In Someone else.”Shirer, Elijah
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Embracing the abnormal
The moments we spend in life down at the brook of Cherith, are those moments when we grow in our faith and intimacy with the Father the most. Without the opportunity for learning to trust in God for our sustenance and peace, we may never learn to trust Him with the bigger things.
It was at Cherith that God prepared Elijah for the next step in his ministry. Elijah had to learn to trust and obey God for the provision of His basic needs in the midst of a destitute landscape before he could trust and obey in the greater things to come (1 Kings 18:20-40).
And it’s the same for me. And for you.
Embrace crazy upheavals in your life. Let God teach you through them. Allow Him to provide for you through them. Cling to Him and allow the intimacy and reliance on Him to grow. God will not let it all go to waste.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3