Restrictions are lifting in my state. The common reactions are euphoria, guarded optimism, or fear of leaving the house too soon. I fall somewhere between guarded optimism and fear. What about you?

Maybe, I am too cautious. Maybe, I want to see how things pan out before venturing out into very public places. Or maybe, I am being smart about the whole thing. It doesn’t matter where you fall in this continuum. The bottom line is that maybe what we are calling a new normal is really a “new different.”

The normal we knew is gone. We can replicate moments, certain routines, and daily schedules to a degree, but is that what we want? There is a depth to my relationships that is intentional and compassionate that I want to continue in this time of embracing a “new different.”

Choosing a New Path

A dear friend and I met for coffee recently. At this time, no coffee shops were open that allowed indoor seating so we went through the drive-thru line and ordered our favorite drinks. We met in the parking lot in our cars and rolled down the windows to talk. So much life had happened, even in quarantine, that we needed to catch up on.

My friend and I began our conversation barely coming up for air. Midway through, the words “new different” rolled off the tongue of my friend. I had to pause right then and there. I knew those two words were the ones I was claiming for this life we are now living.

For the last two months or more life has been stagnant in some ways and fruitful in others. The choice was not ours, but the Way still leads us forward. I am not the person who is willing to choose a new path especially if the destination is unknown. Everything about sheltering in place was new, uncertain, and has tested my ability to live alone without the contact of family. It’s like hiking on an unfamiliar path that you pray will lead you back to where you started.

It’s okay to walk forward when the way is not clear. Our desire to let God lead us through surrender and faith will lead us closer to Him. It works the same whether we are walking a new normal or a new different. God has never left our sides.

What is Your New Different?

Life is in a state of change. Many people are ready to go back to the way things were and just move on with life. I understand this way of thinking. It’s as if the virus will be over if we find a way to move forward and grab onto the routines we followed before it happened.

Maybe, letting go and just getting on with life is not the answer. Maybe, you and I need to stop and claim the good that transpired during these months of sheltering in place. And maybe, naming the things that grew out of this “new different” will help us see the good God is working on behind the scenes.

My new different looks like:

New intentionality in staying close to my kids. Grown kids have their own lives and I respect that, but in this time of isolation we had a conversation early on as to what it could like for us to check in on each other daily. The gift of connecting with my family is one that I am praying we will carry forward.

A sweet quiet time each morning where there is no agenda except time with God.

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17

Daily walks when the weather cooperates. If you know me, even just a little, you know my love of walking and hiking outside. I feel most like myself in the outdoors where God is present in a way that is indescribable.

Praying for family and friends in the moment, as soon as the request comes through, and not waiting until later when I might forget. There have been many text messages filled with prayers. God honors those requests as much as any other ones.

What’s Next?

This is such a good question with no easy answer. The unknown is still either driving us crazy or leading us straight into the arms of Jesus. We have a choice in this season just as we do in all the others. What choices will you make as your state begins to open up and you are faced with your new different?

All I know is that the days I keep God at the center are the days I am not anxious or fearful and much more productive. There is a steadiness and underlying hope that exists all because of God.

Peace reigns because God lives. Love spills over because we choose God. Hope is our stronghold as face each new day because God is the foundation upon which we stand.

We choose a destination each day. All I know is that when God is my destination, I am secure in who I am and focused on living well in the present.

Are you unsure of what’s next? Are you still hovering between cautiously optimistic and fearful? May these words from Bonnie Gray, in Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul, send you on your way.

But God is longing to be more than a destination. He’s offering me His hand instead of a map. God is inviting me to a new way of living–and I believe this invitation is for you, too … A quite Voice is calling us to stop–stop worrying and planning for tomorrow as a distraction–and listen to what He has to say to us today.

We hear people say we are living a "new normal." What, if instead, life looks more like a "new different"? #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet

Stay focused, live in the present, and start each day with a grateful heart that God granted you another day.


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