"You have to find your new normal." This phrase has been offered to me in times of loss and change. So simple, yet profound. Circumstances change and force us to change with them, finding new routines, new surroundings, new...normal life. Growing up my mom jokingly said that "normal" was just a setting on the dryer. So what is normal anyway? It's a state of being I find myself longing for; a feeling that slips through my fingers and blows away in the wind.
I battle depression, is that normal? I combat a negative body image, is that normal? I wrestle with doubts about God and His character, is that normal? I thrive on routine and predictability (read, a false sense of control) and tend to freak out when something catches me by surprise, is that normal?
As I consider the word and the state of being it represents to me, I realize what I truly long for is security; to know no matter what, I'm okay. I want to feel comfortable and comforted as I face the daily battles without and within. I want to know that love wins. I want to feel in the depths of my being the peace that transcends understanding that Jesus talks about (John 14:27) and joy in the midst of suffering and sorrow. Can that be normal?
I have spent vast amounts of energy attempting to make my circumstances and my emotions "normal." Live in this kind of house, send your kids to this kind of school, go to this kind of church, follow these trends in clothing - and it's not working folks. What if my focus on what is normal could be redirected towards that which is unchanging and immovable? God's character is the only "normal" that exists! His love does not waver, His faithfulness endures regardless of the state of my heart. His pursuit is consistent and passionate and He will not give up on me, even as I question Him.
What if my new normal was His character as my steady ground to stand on? What if my identity as a "normal" person was wrapped up solely in His love and acceptance of me just as I am? My circumstances will continue to change but He will remain constant through them.
Lord, let my "normal" be my trust in your unfailing love, for then I will not be shaken.