Encouragement

The New “Normal”

For the past 10 weeks or so I have been recovering from ankle surgery and every day since I have been using a knee scooter to get around. I have unknowingly developed habits of how best to approach certain doorways, how to back in to my favorite chair so that getting up is easier, and when to use the brake so that I don’t lose control and tip over. There was no training course, no teacher, just day to day living that influenced my thinking and actions and that created habits that are now almost instinctive.

Perhaps that is part of the reason for why I woke up this morning thinking about habits and patterns in my life. I have a feeling it is more likely because I have just 2 days left at a job that I have worked at for more than 33 years. I have been thinking that the pattern of my days, the weeks, the months, is all about to change radically. Everything from the invisible push to “get ready for work” in the morning, to the sense that my “lunch break” is over and I need to “get back to work” will change. The ever present drive to perform and grow, to meet a standard of performance, doing all things as unto the Lord because that is who I serve.

They say that you can develop habits in just 30 days…I expect that there is some truth to that. I can only imagine what habits I have developed in more than 30 years of working at the same place. There are habits and patterns of thinking that have become instinctive through the years that I don’t think I have even noticed. How I approach relationships with people, time management, even how I deal with stress. All of them have, over time, perhaps become a bit too familiar and unconsciously have become my “normal”. Just because it is normal, may not mean it is good though.

When I finished my masters degree and the intense class work was finished, I experienced what I like to call “school withdrawals”. For several weeks I had this voice in the back of my mind that seemed to be reminding me that I needed to be reading, preparing for a test, or writing another paper. The years of concerted, intense effort had created in me a “normal” state that was abruptly stopped…but my mind still thought it needed to perform at that level and in that way.

During this current pandemic perhaps I have developed new patterns of behavior, new habits in my day-to-day, that have changed the way I view different areas of my life…for better or for worse. How about you? Has the new normal somehow impacted how you relate to the Lord? Has it changed your spiritual walk with the Lord? Those changes have happened in a fairly short period of time and may have developed a new normal that is familiar and comfortable. But is it a good normal?

The impending changes in my life have served as a reminder to me to commit myself more fervently to those disciplines that develop godliness in my life. Prayer, study in the Word, gathering together, worshiping and other habits that will bring glory to God. First Timothy 4:7-8 God’s Word says this: “…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

It is never too late to make changes. It is always a good time to remind ourselves what God says are to be the most important things in our lives. It it always a great day to commit to making our new normal a pattern of life that develops godliness in us and brings glory to Him!

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