Early in this season of forced sabbath rest, I was seated on the couch participating in my second EVER “Zoom call” with some friends. The coronavirus (Covid-19) and the “Stay Home-Stay Safe” movement was sweeping the nation and globe. One friend posed a simple question, “How can we pray for you in this season?”
I will never forget it, because within seconds, out of my mouth tumbled, “Pray that I would use this season well and I’d get whatever God wants me to have and leave behind anything He doesn’t want for me to carry into the future.”I’ve been thinking a lot about my request, it’s still my prayer today.
I hear people use the phrases like: new normal, back to normal, when this is over, as soon as we can begin to live our normal lives… I have this ache in my heart and stirring in my spirit. It’s a longing of sorts because I don’t want to go totally back to “normal.” I want to change by the work of Holy Spirit in my life and be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
I want to live differently because I think differently. I desire an upgrade in my vision for my life, my future and those who live around me and are close to me. I don’t want NORMAL. I have this sigh in my heart, “Oh, God don’t let me miss it. I want to squeeze out everything from this time you want me to receive and then give it out.” I don’t want to live in fear that I’ll “miss it” because perfect love casts out fear.
I feel a bit like a caterpillar that goes along eating up every thing in sight as it’s about to enter into the confines of the tightly bound up chrysalis stage. Even before this pandemic started I’ve been so HUNGRY for more of God and intimacy with him and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to die out, like a glowing ember. Rather, I’d like it to be fanned into flame, burning ever brighter during this rest period.
As far as the caterpillar goes, I really have no idea how one feels, but I do think there are similarities here… it’s dark, closed in, lonely, without contact with the outer world for a season, five to twenty-one days, then it emerges and BUSTS out to FLY!
So here are the things I pray will not follow me into the future as I break out:
- self-limiting thoughts
- double mindedness
- fear of man
- praise of man
Maybe you are like me. Are you amazed at how completely different a caterpillar is from the butterfly? Think about it, one is worm-like, tubular, so slow and lowly and confined while the other is beautifully ornate, whimsical and glorious not bound to land but flutters and flies and purposefully alights.
A few years back this verse became an inheritance verse for me, like God gave it to me not for a season but for an outlook on life, a perspective shift. It has helped me navigate changes that happened in my home, my church, my friendships and my family. It was a welcomed metaphor for my life’s journey and it still gives me a sense of hope and excitement about the future..do you not perceive it? It’s like I hear Holy Spirit gleefully rubbing his hands together as he bounces on his toes with joy about what’s to come. “Do you not perceive it?” God alone is the ONLY one who can make a way in the desert and give us streams in the wasteland.
So may I suggest you join me…Let’s not dwell on the past or wish it would all go back to normal, rather let’s welcome the “Upgraded New Normal” the new thing He is doing in us, through us and around us. Let’s FLY!
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19
I don’t freak out when I track the faithfulness and kindness of God in my life. So let’s all live NOW and as we move forward here is a phrase I use in life, it’s also the title of one of my talks I give.
Look back with gratitude and forward with faith.
Blessings to you all.