A New Normal
Everywhere I turn this week I hear the words "well, we have to realize this is a new normal. ". So, if that's the case, where exactly WAS our normal before? Here are some thoughts from my good friend Jim Burns. Jim runs a ministry to families called HomeWord. Maybe it's time to take a hard look at the word normal...thank you Jim for these thoughts.
"Everywhere we turn and everyone we talk to seems to have the same thoughts: “Our world has been turned upside down; life as we know it is different and what in the world can we do regain confidence in the future?” As I sat at dinner last night with my wife, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, I realized that life has changed in a very short time and we will need to adapt to the “new normal” if we are going to thrive in the midst of trying circumstances. Here are a few thoughts that might help you:
It takes as much energy to focus on fear as it does to focus on trust. . Just today in my One Year Bible I read these words, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). This is not the time to lean away from God, it’s the time to lean toward him. In Him we find comfort, strength and courage. He never promised to take away our pain or even our doubts. He does promise to walk with us even through the “shadow of death.” I love what a pope once said in a previous century, “I’m going to bed, God, and I’m giving you all my problems because you are going to stay up all night anyway.” Not a bad way to live.
Your circumstance may not change but your attitude can change, and that makes all the difference in the world. I’m looking at a sign I keep in my office that says, “Attitude is Everything. Pick a Good One.” This morning I decided to practice a life message I call “thank therapy.” I literally wrote a page of reasons why I was thankful. And you know what? Not one circumstance changed during the thank therapy session, but my attitude and outlook truly improved. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression or fear while worrying about circumstances, maybe a dose of thankfulness can change your day.
Practice a “forced” Lent. We who are Christians are in the middle of the Lenten season. Often during the 40 days of Lent we give up something and/or add something to our lives to draw us closer to God and bring a healthier lifestyle. This year I really didn’t think much about it and let any extra focus pass by without any actions. My wife, Cathy, and I were talking the other day how this virus has caused a sort of “forced lent.” With the extra time that most of us have, how about adding or subtracting something from your life that would bring health. I will write other blogs on this in the coming weeks at www.DrJimBurns.com but here are just a few ideas.
• Focus more time on replenishing your soul. This is the time to pick up your Bible or an inspirational book and put some energy into your soul.
• Exercise with more time and energy. Our dog is loving this new life with all the cancellations because he is getting more walks than he had just a few weeks ago.
• Connect with your family daily. This isn’t the time to stay unconnected, it’s a time to lean into each other and shower your family with A.W.E. (Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) Everyone is a bit on edge so be purposeful with your positivity and love.
Monitor the amount of media intake in your life. Looking at trusted media in a time of crisis can be helpful, but if you find yourself obsessing, then realize that “enough is enough.” During the times of both the 911 terrorist attacks and the Boston Marathon bombings, studies found that people with increased exposure to media experienced much more fear and family conflict. Some people experienced post-traumatic stress and cardiovascular problems up to three years later. Here’s what is working for me: I update in the morning and early evening and that’s it. I’m not missing much, and not being on media constantly keeps my mind freer of worry and stress.
Let’s face it. The times have changed, but now it’s up to us to do what we can do to stay physically, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. And remember, you are not in this alone.
PS: the image in this blog was taken at Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee when we were there 4 weeks ago. If you read your Bible, you know what Jesus did on the Sea of Galilee? He calmed the Storm.