Devotions

Doing Normal Better

By Mary Loudermilk
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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, English Standard Version)

We have all just gone through, and perhaps are still going through, unusual never-before-experienced times. For weeks it seems as though someone hit the pause button and life as we knew it came to a halt. Now things are slowly returning to normal—whatever that means. Just this morning I picked up a magazine with “The New Normal” splashed across the front. When I opened my inbox, the subject line on an email from a local business questioned, “Back to Normal—Or Can We Do Better?”

What Is Normal?

All of this talk about normal makes we wonder: what is normal and do I really want return to normal? 

If normal means I take God’s everyday blessings for granted, then I don’t want to be normal.

If normal means returning to a fast-paced, stressful schedule, I don’t want that normal either.

If normal means feeling distracted as I sit in church making a mental to-do list, help me not be normal.

If normal means not taking time to tune in to the concerns and needs of my friends, then normal is not good.

A Better Normal

If there is indeed a better way to do normal, what would that be? The answer may differ for each of us, but hopefully the question will cause us all to stop and consider changes we would make in our lives. What lessons have we learned in the past weeks? Allow me to suggest a few things that will help our new normal be a better normal.

A better normal means being more intentional about keeping in touch with family and friends. If I can’t meet with them in person, I can call, text, do a video chat, or even use snail mail to stay connected. If I am feeling isolated, they probably are also.

A better normal means covering my pastor and other church leaders with prayer each day. They faced many new challenges as they worked to keep us spiritually strong while physically separated from the church body.

A better normal means offering mercy to those I encounter, even if they are rude and impatient. I have no way of understanding the stresses and worries others face. Even if I am wearing a protective mask, I will put a smile in my eyes to cheer them.

A better normal means making God the absolute center of my existence. Each day I will dedicate time to my relationship with Him and will allow myself to relax and recharge in His presence.

John 10:10 tells us the Lord came to give us life and wants us to live that life abundantly. That abundant life is available to each of us. Even when life takes a sudden detour, even when my life looks starkly different, I can still avail myself of His abundance. He is there to guide my steps, provide strength, and give me joy to replace my stress and worries.

Prayer: Lord, help me to find that better normal that comes when I trust You completely with my life. The best normal comes when You are walking by my side and allowing me to lean on Your strength. You offer me abundant life.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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