Sometimes life’s circumstances call us to adjust to a ‘new normal’. A baby, a career change, the loss of a loved one, chronic illness or disability, marriage or divorce – they are all life changes. Changes in our ‘normal’ call for adjustment, and oddly enough, even the ‘good’ or ‘minor’ changes can require grieving, healing and ‘overt’ attention.
Recently, I felt a tug…a calling to step down as leader of a group I’ve been committed to for over six years. I love my study group and this change brought a sense of sadness.
A letting go.
A desire to take back.
A desire not to adjust to God’s current plan.
As I prayed and pondered this rather minor (in the grand scheme of life) situation, I was reminded of adjustments during the first couple of years after my accident and spinal cord injury. When I interacted with people, I felt the need to share and explain that I used to be ‘normal’. Now, that statement is pretty funny since everyone has their own ‘normal’ and no two ‘normals’ are identical. We all face challenges whether visible or invisible. I’d explain to people that I wasn’t always in a wheelchair, so they should continue to treat me the same as before my injury and by all means ‘see’ me as an ‘able’ person. No pity please! It took time for me to adjust to the new normal. Disability education and advocacy were additions to my life and so was an awareness for people with varied challenges. My 18 years of living had not prepared me for this new journey. Nevertheless, through some rough times, including victories and defeats, I learned to let go, adjust some former dreams, and develop new dreams.
New normals. A small grief now occurs as I let go of a piece of ‘normal’ with my precious group. Oddly, grief knocks in a wide array of circumstances. Time softens and heals as we adjust to the ‘different’. But what do we do during the times of adjustment? It seems the only constant that we face is change – and we have the important choice of gratitude or ‘bad-i-tude’ even during difficulties.
The book of Exodus describes the Israelites’ journey out of slavery in Egypt toward a land flowing with milk and honey. They wandered in a desert that became their normal for forty years before they finally entered their promised land. They whined and complained about their situation all along the journey of change even though there was provision for every need they had. Their bad attitudes and actions were contagious. They sound a little like me when I have a bad attitude. Our attitudes and actions during journeys of grief determine the living conditions for more than just ourselves in the desert. When we faithfully embrace His provision in the scorching sand of our desert, He can cultivate the soil of our hearts and new dreams can take root. Our appropriate attitudes prepare us to help others along their journeys and I’m convinced that we will be surprised as we impact lives in amazing and unexpected ways.
Lord, help us say goodbye to the ‘old’ even if it is pretty good. Help us make room for the ‘new’ you have for our benefit and for the benefit of others – even when it’s hard to let go.
I always pray with joy…..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:4b,6