New Normal

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. That’s primarily because the past 6 months of my life have been hilariously all over the place. By that I mean that any semblance of predictability has been tossed—emphatically—out the window. This past weekend marked 3 weeks of marriage for my husband and me. Over the past 3 weeks we have traveled to 3 different countries and squatted in 2 different cities/states. Right now we are homeless and unemployed funemployed. While the past 3 weeks have been a blast, they have been anything but normal. It feels a little like we have been measuring our engaged and now married days by bottomless mugs at coffee shops, inordinate amounts of email checking, and scouring Zillow and Trulia in attempt to find a nest.

People keep telling me that I will look back on this time fondly (which, let it be known that I am happy and loving my 3 weeks of wifedom) and I can’t help but think that I’m looking forward to looking back on this season. You know, when it’s a good distance behind us and we have our feet on the ground (if that’s actually even a thing).

The truth is that it hasn’t just been the past 3 weeks that have felt “not normal”. I moved from Austin back to my hometown this summer to get ready for the wedding. I squatted at my parents’ house for almost 2 months…. with my fiancé 2 rooms down the hall… not normal. But then this past year didn’t feel normal at all, come to think of it. I started dating Ben and fell in love. Talk about a change—an incredible change, one of the best changes of my life—but a shift from my career as a carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants single lady, nonetheless. So, no, not normal. Then I have to ask myself if my stint in Austin was actually normal, I mean has anything post college really been normal? As if to suggest that college was normal—sorority life, nocturnal sleeping habits, cookies functioning as a legitimate food group… maybe not so normal after all.

Isn’t that how it works though? If you’re anything like me, we hit a stretch of uncharted water and instantly start craving normalcy, familiarity, any semblance of an idea of what our day will look like. It is real though? Does ‘normal’ actually exist? Whether it does or doesn’t, I should know better—this is so not how the Lord deals with me, hence the title of this blog and his continual reminding that he is the one in control and I am on his clock. This is his story, not mine.

I just started reading through Matthew—looking for anyone or anything to relate to us– and got caught on this theme in the Disciples response to Jesus’s calling. In chapter 4 it reads:

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”

Please note that the disciples dropped their familiar, normalcy immediately and at once. Talk about a change of pace! Can you imagine? The first however many years of your life are spent doing one thing: fishing; in a matter of minutes you leave everything you’ve known, both family and friends, job security and public scrutiny (to name a few), to follow a man (godman… both God and Man, but we are talking about first impressions here, so seemingly man) into the unknown. I wonder if at any point the disciples wanted normalcy. I wonder if Jesus, while praying in Gethsemane before he was taken, yearned for ‘the way things were’. I can’t say for certain. What I can say though, and derive much hope from, is that in both instances ‘normalcy’ was nothing more than ‘what used to be’. It exists in the past. I mean, what if they hadn’t embraced new normals? Things would certainly look different. We don’t realize things are normal and call them normal when they’re actually happening—we just recognize things as abnormal and then note that they stand out in contrast with…. yeah, whatever is not that… normality. Do you see what I’m getting at here? ‘Normal’ is an interchangeable label for ‘then’– what was. The fact is that we are constantly adjusting to new normals and don’t even realize we’ve adjusted until that normal changes.

Following the King of Kings requires constant adjusting. He didn’t have a place to live. He had few familiar faces in his life. New cities and villages weekly. He followed the Lord and invited people to follow him. The Disciples’ lives looked anything but normal. They had one thing on their agenda: follow Jesus, wherever and whenever he was moving. So what if normalcy became just that—following Jesus and watching him work? Is there anything more certain than His majesty on display? May I be able to wake up each day with one consistent thing on my ‘to do’ list: follow Jesus. I want that to be my new normal, regardless of location or vocation. Those things come and go, but being awed by his workings isn’t going anywhere. May I not be so blinded by uncertainty that I miss what is certain: God at work. So in this hilariously unpredictable season, this is my new aim. Here’s to embracing my new normal, and here’s to laughin’

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