Are you ready to ditch new normal, but fully embrace NEW?

Someone once said that the only constant in life is change. If ever there was a moment where we’re all experiencing the reality of that truth, it’s NOW!

Just a week or so ago, one of my neighbours was telling me how much they were looking forward to their family trip to Portugal this summer. But the news of Portugal going on the ‘Amber list’ in the last 24 hours has brutally scuppered those hopes.

How do we respond to all of this?

How do we ensure we don’t get trapped in a victim mindset but instead embrace a victor’s mindset – or perhaps, slightly less triumphantly, a creative mindset?

Throughout these past fifteen months, as we’ve battled with the wide-ranging effects of Covid, there’s been much talk about our need to discover the new normal. New sounds good. But normal sound dull.

I’m not particularly excited about discovering ‘normal’ but I’m definitely ready for something ‘new’. Aren’t you?

Let’s dare to be bold and brave, innovative and creative, as we seek to discover and embrace something new. I know it takes courage, resilience, and a fairly deep breath to lift ourselves above the disappointment of our ever-changing circumstances, but we can do it. YOU can do it!

And as you do, let me share three thoughts that I hope will help you.

1. If you miss it, you just might miss out

New possibilities don’t hang around forever. In the New Testament Greek language, one of the words for time is kairos. Kairos time is a special, unique moment. A moment to be seized. Chronos time is 2:33pm as I’m writing this. But Kairos time is like the moment you catch a wave to surf. You sense the conditions are right, and you go for it. Carpe Diem!

One of the saddest stories in the Bible is when the Israelites find themselves on the border of The Promised Land. Finally free of four centuries of brutal Egyptian slavery, this is their Kairos moment to receive God’s promised new home. Despite the fact that they discover that the land is everything God had said it would be – and more – fear grips them as they realise there are giants and fortified cities awaiting them. They miss their moment and wander in the wilderness for forty years as a result.

Don’t miss your moment. Don’t miss this moment! What is this moment asking of you?

2. New beginnings are rooted in faith, not certainty

What would you do if you knew with absolute certainty that you would not fail? I’m sure you’d be bolder for sure. I’d hope so. But life doesn’t play out that way. We never get 100% certainty. That’s why something new always demands a measure of faith. In ourselves. In others. Ultimately in God.

In Acts chapter 15, we find the early church wrestling together over how many Jewish practices the new Gentile believers should have to embrace. They decide on just four principles. And how did they decide? “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.”

Did you see that? It seemed. They didn’t say, “We had 100% clarity that God had spoken.” No letters in the sky. No visit from an angel. Nope. They prayed. They talked. They prayed some more. They debated. They argued. They prayed again. And in that process of discerning – it seemed that the Holy Spirit was at work in them to bring them to a place of unity and agreement. It seemed.

Friend, if you’re looking for crystal clarity in your journey of life and faith then you’re going to be disappointed. Jesus never promised you clarity. But He promised that you could trust Him. Faith is spelled R I S K – risk. We look for clues to help us get to that place where it feels like the opportunity ahead of us is Heaven-sent. Where we too can say – it seems right to us and the Holy Spirit!

But what if we make the move and it’s really hard. I guess that proves that God wasn’t in it after all. Right? Wrong! This brings me to my last thought.

3. New beginnings always present new challenges

It’s very easy for us to think that if we say yes to God and embrace something new, then everything will immediately pan out ok. Everything will be good. But that’s simply naive and over-simplistic. It’s just plain wrong I’m afraid!

When Abraham responds to the call of God, the first thing he faces is a severe famine.

When Joshua steps into the Promised Land after 40 years of wilderness wandering, the first thing he faces is the seemingly impregnable city of Jericho.

When David is anointed king as a teenage boy, the first thing he faces is a 9 foot monstrous, giant Goliath.

When Jesus is baptised by John at the beginning of his ministry, the first thing faces is 40 days of temptation and struggle with Satan in the wilderness.

When these people said ‘yes’ to their Kairos moment, incredible things opened up to them for sure. But they also faced new challenges. Bigger challenges. God didn’t promise that a new beginning equated to a comfortable life. Far from it. You don’t get a victory without a battle. There is no breakthrough without a struggle. There is no diamond without a fire. No pain, no gain – as my Gold’s Gym T-Shirt used to say!

May God give you courage and bravery, resilience and energy, imagination and creativity as you dare to push into something new.

Whatever happens, no one can ever say we didn’t try! And at the end of the day, God calls us to faithfulness more than success.

So let’s have a go. Are you ready? Ditch normal. Discover new!

There’s a whole new chapter awaiting you and despite a few more battles ahead for you, I think it’s going to be your best moment yet, and I’m wholeheartedly cheering you.