July 6, 2018
“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.” John 1:46a (NIV)
My car was jammed with my daughter’s belongings. As we drove to the university a few hours away, we talked about the adventure she was about to experience. Once we arrived, we carried in heavy boxes and arranged her room. We strolled around the buildings, and I pointed out how beautiful everything was.
Hours later, we said goodbye. As the heavy door clanged behind her, I walked briskly to the car, put my head on my steering wheel and wept like a baby.
I wasn’t pretending when I told her I was excited. I was happy for her, but my normal was changing. What I didn’t realize back then was that this was my adventure, too. Just as my daughter was launching into a new season, God had good things for me as well.
My child was growing and finding her place in the world, but so was I.
My role as a child of God didn’t begin with my role as a mom, and it didn’t end as I stepped into an empty nest. God marked my life from the moment I surrendered to His love, and that had not changed.
A new or unfamiliar situation can feel overwhelming, no matter what it is. A new job. A new city. A new season of motherhood. That first hint of love, or when your spouse of 40 years is retiring. It can feel overwhelming because we don’t always know what to do.
Jesus often encountered those who struggled with a new normal. In John 1, Jesus went in search of Philip.
“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me’” (John 1:43, NIV).
When Jesus asked Philip to follow Him, Philip gave an automatic, Yes. He was so excited he raced to his friend, Nathanael, to tell him that Jesus was the Messiah. This is where the story takes a turn, for Nathanael is uncertain. In fact, he reacts by scoffing at the news.
“‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked” (John 1:46a).
We may react the same way when our normal is about to change. We sense there’s good in there, but we look for the negative. Nathanael can stay in the familiar. He can resist the adventure, but eventually he says yes to Jesus. He and his friend, Philip, walk into a new season with Jesus in the lead!
If you’re on the cusp of a new normal, you won’t always know exactly what to do, but those initial fumbling steps can be a sweet training ground. As you follow Jesus, you’ll learn how to trust and lean on your faith. You might make mistakes, but you’ll discover the power of offering grace to yourself and starting again.
All the while, you are following Jesus day-by-day.
At some point, you’ll celebrate those past seasons and all that they held, but you’ll also embrace the adventure of the new season ahead.
Normal isn’t our guide. It’s not our anchor. Our connection to Christ is.
As you and I follow Jesus in our new normal, we’ll continually climb out of the familiar because that’s life. We may not always know what’s ahead, but we can be assured we’re on good ground if we’re following Jesus.
Dear Jesus, I love comfort. I love knowing what to expect. But I love You more. I hear Your invitation to follow You in my new normal, and I accept that invitation wholeheartedly. I have a lot to learn, but I am thankful You are my teacher. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (ESV)
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Suzie Eller’s latest book, Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus, helps you walk with Jesus day-by-day, encouraging you in every part of your life.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you are entering a new normal, it’s the perfect time to:
- Share your uncertainty with God. He cares for you.
- Praise God for the good of the past. He cares about that, too.
- Open your heart to a new adventure.
- Accept the invitation to follow Jesus day-by-day (or moment-by-moment), as you walk into this new season.
What excites you about a “new normal” in life? What do you dread? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
© 2018 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 06 July 2018.