As a nation, we are on the edge of stepping into alert level 2, which is, in some ways, a going back while ultimately, it should be a moving forward. We could use the phrase “getting back to normal,” or we could use the phrase “moving forward, forever changed by this season.”
Whichever one of those phrases we move with is entirely up to us.
As a church leader, I have been asked by a few people if I think the church will ever be the same again. I have been asked if I think society will ever be the same again. My answer to those questions is simply, yes. I think if left to our own devices, we will always go back to what we know.
We all hope that an event like this would change us all for the better. We hope that it would leave us forever impacted by our learnings and revelations. We hope journeying this together would have taught us to treat one another with more kindness and to not take each other for granted.
However, what I know of human nature leads me to question whether that will be our reality. You see, what I have come to learn about myself and others is that we are creatures of habit. Our desire for the comfort of old patterns, for what we know, consistently becomes a stumbling block for our progression.
Think of all the new year resolutions that sit written in journals or scraps of paper that are now nothing more than words on a page. Think of all of the home exercise gear gathering dust under beds or in garages. Think of all of the home projects that remain half-finished as we start things with a hiss and a roar, but too often run out of steam before we reach the end.
Steve and I took our boys on a bush walk one day to a nearby waterfall. It was a beautiful day. We sat on the bank watching the waterfall, enjoying a picnic and time together. As we headed back to the car, we all announced how much we would love to come back regularly. “It’s so close to our house,” we proclaimed, “We should do this all the time.” Do you know how many times we have been back? None, zip, zero.
What are we missing? Why does this happen? What is stopping us from embracing and holding onto change?
CHANGE REQUIRES DELIBERATE AND DAILY DECISIONS.
If we want to move forward, better, as humans, families, churches, and communities, we need to make deliberate decisions on how exactly we want to be better. We can’t expect to remain changed without a conscious and consistent effort to live transformed.
The bible calls it having a vision, and it teaches us that without vision we wander aimlessly, going nowhere.
If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed. Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)
WHAT CHANGE ARE YOU SEEKING?
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU WANT A NEW NORMAL RATHER THAN GOING BACK TO NORMAL?
WHAT DIFFERENCES DO YOU WANT TO TAKE WITH YOU AS WE MOVE FROM OUR CURRENT SEASON INTO A NEW ONE?
HOW DO I REMAIN CHANGED?
1. WRITE IT DOWN.
Take some time to write down all of the things you want to remain in this next season. Write down the things you want to carry over. Write down the ways you want to stay different. Writing it down will not only help to solidify those thoughts in your mind, but it will also give you something to go back to when the road gets tough, or you slip into old habits.
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakkuk 2:2 (KJV)
2. STAY ACCOUNTABLE.
People who have the tendency to hold onto old things always benefit from having a ruthless friend when it comes time to declutter. Someone to hold them accountable for the decisions they are making. Someone to help them differentiate between what has to stay and what has to go. Someone who is going to stop them when they dig back into a box and drag out what they already determined must go.
Find a ruthless friend who will hold you accountable for the decisions you are making. Find someone who won’t just tell you what you want to hear but will tell you what you need to hear. Find someone who will challenge you to continue pressing forward, rather than slipping into old ways that you determined to leave behind.
3. DECLARE IT DAILY.
Real change comes, not just in your doing but in your thinking. New thinking requires a new declaration. A new anthem. A new song.
My encouragement to you is to begin your day by declaring over yourself, your life, and your family the new vision you are believing for. Make a list and pin it up where you get ready every day. Record your own voice saying your declarations and play them back to yourself on repeat.
4. DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY TO FOSTER THE CHANGE.
It is the things you do every day that make up who you are. What can you do every day that will drive you closer to the new normal you desire? Is it a new habit like starting each day by reading the word? Or is it a task like sending a text of encouragement to someone every day?
What can you be doing now that will take you step by step closer to where you want to be?
Let’s make some deliberate decisions, followed by some deliberate actions that will see all of us move toward a new normal rather than merely going back to normal. I believe that your best days are ahead. Let’s not waste what God has built in us now that will carry us through to those best days.
Now go out there and live like you believe it!