I once read about a young Christian who decided that they needed some guidance on finding God’s Will. He headed down to the local Christian book shop (this was a while ago BA ,… before Amazon) and found a whole shelf on books about guidance. Then a thought entered his mind, which book on guidance was it the will of God for him to buy?
Guidance isn’t always easy.
Change whether we like it or not is coming our way, lock down is ending and ………… well we don’t exactly know do we?
We can be certain that for a while the “normal” we go back to won’t be the normal that we left back in March.
People are talking about a “new normal,” some of that new normal is going to be decided for us. It looks like for at least a few months that our normal will involve social distancing, limits to the number of people allowed in buildings, new ways of working and that certain activities will stay forbidden.
However, there will be aspects of this new normal we will get to decide ourselves. We don’t have to go back to doing all the same stuff in all the same ways as we did before. There have been a lot more negatives than positives from the Covid Crisis but one of the positives is that it has given us the chance to hit the pause button on much of our life and so be able to reflect on our life. We have the chance now to think about new things we have been doing during lockdown that we want to continue to do and those things we have stopped and found that stopping them has been a positive impact. We get the change to shape our new normal so it can be a new chapter in our lives.
The challenge I think is guidance, how do we decide what activities and ways of doing things should and shouldn’t be part of our new normal? What should guide us in making those decisions ?
Here are my thoughts, they aren’t based on any study and are just my own reflections about how I can begin to decide what activities I should include in my new normal. These are the criteria I am going to use to help shape my new normal
DOES IT HELP ME DRAW CLOSER TO GOD? ….. It has felt like we have all had a bit of a taste of a monastic lifestyle during lockdown. For some of us this has meant a slower pace of life without the frantic busyness of the old normal. Maybe there has been more time to pray and reflect. I’m trying to identify the habits and ways of doing things that I have experienced during lockdown which have helped me draw closer to God. I am also carefully thinking about all the things I can start doing again to try and make sure that I don’t crowd God out of my life with activity.
How about you?
What has helped you connect with God during lockdown?
Can you keep doing it?
Can you avoid restarting activities that inhibited your spiritual life before lockdown?
How can your new normal be different from your old normal if you put a higher priority on connecting with God?
DOES IT HELP ME DRAW CLOSER TO PEOPLE? …. I have heard people describe spending more time with their spouses and children during lockdown as either a tremendous strain or great blessing. Many people whose lives have been all but consumed by work are discovering new things about family relationships as families have been forced to spend extended time together.
The danger I see is that many of us will throw ourselves back in at the deep end of busyness again. We will do this either because we are trying to escape uncomfortable relationships or because we don’t realise that life can be different. Its inevitable that we will all get busier again as things restart but let’s think carefully about restarting those activities we don’t have to do. Let’s think about whether they are helping us build relationships with people or holding us back from building deeper relationship?
How could your new normal be different from your old normal if you put a higher priority on building healthy relationships?
DOES IT HELP ME BE PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY OR MENTALLY HEALTHY? …. Let’s face it for many of us the best thing about lock down has been getting enough sleep and eating better. There have been tremendous benefits health benefits from not rushing lunches and have time for walks or cycles in the country. On the other hand, the lack of face to face contact with people and the anxiety connected to the future has had a detrimental impact for many of us on our emotional and mental health. Many of us have struggled with the isolation and anxiety. There are some things we desperately need to restart doing to get healthier in these areas.
How is your new normal going to help you become and stay healthier, physically, emotionally and mentally?
So, as we think about our new normal lets make sure the things we keep doing, or keep not doing or restart are contributing to us being healthier and not just returning us to unhealthier previous habits. How would your new normal be different from your old normal if you put your health as a higher priority.
Well those are my ideas for thinking about how to shape my new normal?
How are you doing that?
What criteria are you using to guide you in your decisions?