“The rush back to normalcy is aggressive. Give us a minute.” Unknown
This morning as I began my day and clicked onto Instagram, this was the quote that greeted me. I couldn’t comment “Amen” fast enough and I wasn’t alone. Within an hour hundreds of people added their affirmation, while some even shared their “aggressive normalcy” stories. If given the opportunity, I’m sure we could all testify to the ways that the pressure to return to “normal” can be as anxiety producing as the circumstances that got us to this point to begin with. Perhaps you think I’m referring to the pandemic, this latest iteration of racial reckoning, continued polarizing politics, the burgeoning mental illness crisis or our inability to stem the tide of gun violence in our country. Not this time. This time I’m referring to the scarcity mindset that makes us believe we need to hurry up and reopen or else. What concerns me most is our inability to learn the lessons that the past 14 months have tried to teach us.
I am reminded of the Israelites in the wilderness and how incredibly difficult it was to not only get them out of Egypt but to get Egypt out of them. While this past 14 months has taken us out of our churches, offices, colleges/universities, and countless other places including our comfort zones, I wonder how many of us have allowed this time to rid us of the habits and proclivities that defined “normal” and made us too comfortable to begin with?
Just this week I held space with several pastors who, upon being asked how they were doing, responded that they were fine. Not the “everything’s copacetic” kind of fine, but the Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional kind of F.I.N.E. While many of us thought we’d have time to take a vacation or ease tentatively and sensibly into reopening, the rapid and chaotic reversal of the mask wearing and social distancing mandates by the CDC have thrown leaders into a tailspin as now states, cities, governmental agencies, schools, etc. turn to the work of in-person gathering in earnest. As a result, many of us have begun running toward the rush to reopen, afraid that if we don’t, we will be left behind. But I encourage all of us to resist the rush and remember the lessons we’ve learned, especially that God is an ever-present help in times of quarantine and re-opening.
Have we stopped obsessing over religion and reconnected to the deep spirituality that hydrates life giving faith?
Have we abandoned cults of personality and recentered intimacy with Jesus alone?
Have we stopped stumping for worthiness through productivity and reprioritized Sabbath?
Have we stopped running after culture and gotten comfortable leading from a different place?
Have we stopped needing to control everything and recommitted to following the Holy Spirit even if it ushers us into the unknown?
Let’s resist the urge to run, push, prod, rush…resist the aggressive way of the world and allow the Spirit to usher us into the new creation that awaits.