“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17–19 NIV).
When we say “so long” to our normal, sometimes we’re saying it to a home we had cherished, that was part of who we are. Sometimes it means saying “so long” to ourselves, or to who
we see ourselves to be. This can be difficult, but also may be necessary to step into what God wants to do in our lives.
Leaving behind the places we’ve called home, or being between homes doesn’t feel normal to most of us, but it has often been very much the norm for God’s people. This earth is not our home. Many of us want God to give us a map beforehand to let us know where we’re going; and when we encounter a turn we don’t necessarily agree with, we voice our dissatisfaction with God’s chosen route. We want to trust God whatever he asks of us, but sometimes our desire for comfort and familiarity gets the best of us.
God’s consistency and care should give us confidence whenever we feel abandoned and forgotten—or homeless. Or unequal to the journey he’s assigned to us. And just because we answer God’s nudge to move out from our comfort zones with obedience doesn’t mean the journey will be easy. God’s journey is rarely painless, even if it’s the right thing. The blessings God gives us aren’t always the ones we anticipate, but God comes through for his people!
Sometimes we are called to say “so long” to self. Saying goodbye to normal often means giving up our obsession with ourselves. To be part of what God is doing, we need to connect to God through the grace that he offers us through Jesus. We can’t depend on our merit to
save us, but rather on the merit of the finished work of Christ. From there, we leave behind any shame from our past, any self-righteousness from our accomplishments, and we place Jesus at the center of our lives. I can say “so long” to myself because God’s affection for me doesn’t depend on my ability to gain his acceptance and love.
When we embrace what Jesus has done for us, he gives us a new identity in Christ. We must leave our former identities behind. This may mean cutting ties with people, behaviors, and places that were once the “normal” identity you pursued. Rather than have our own or others’ perceptions rule our lives, we must let Christ define who we are. Our identity is in Christ, not in our sin, our accomplishments, or what we think of ourselves.
We were created for security and stability, for wholeness. That explains why our hearts have a hard time moving away from them. Whenever God takes us to a place where we feel overwhelmed, may we be reminded that he is right there with us. May your faith and your soul find its resting place in Jesus, trusting him with your past and believing he has good things in store for your future. May you see yourself as Christ does—as a child of the King.
What in your life provides a sense of stability for you and your family? What patterns of normal are you willing to release to experience the extraordinary work God has in store for you—especially if you can’t see the outcome?
In what ways have shame or merit kept you from depending on God’s acceptance and love for you?
In what ways do you define who you are? How does God see you?
Find a quiet place to spend time alone in prayer talking to God. Confess to God any misconceptions you have had about yourself, any lack of dependence on him, and anything from your past that you have let define you. Pray the following scriptures over yourself: John 1:12; Romans 8:1–2, 31–39; Ephesians 2:8–10. Play Laura Story’s song “Blessings” as you close this time with God (available on YouTube).
Thank you, Lord, that you are always with me. I praise you for the rest I can find in you. I praise you that I am more than the sum of my failures or accomplishments. Your plans are beyond compare to anything I can conceive. You are steadfast in your love for me and you deserve my devotion. Help me to reach beyond myself and my comfort and share your amazing love and redemption with those you put in my life. Amen.