“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.” CS Lewis
I’ve learned as a wife and mother that “normal” doesn’t stick around for long. When circumstances or changes interrupt my “normal,” I become unglued. I get irritated and I get angry! Why are all these things getting in the way of me living my “normal” life? I want to feed, clothe, nurture and instruct my children. I want to encourage, support, respect, and love my husband. I want to succeed in my job and be a good employee. I want to thrive in school. Is that too much to ask? Can’t I just do what I’m called to do without all of these interruptions attacking my “normal” life? Sometimes I feel like that YouTube video of “David After Dentist” where he asks in his post-anesthetic stupor, “Is this real life?” “Why is everything so hard?” Later he exclaims so eloquently, “ARRRRRRRGGHH!!”
I am here to tell you today, you will always be redefining normal. Accept that, and you will be able to enjoy the changing seasons of life rather than wasting your time bucking against them. Whether our children are young or old, life seasons will be shifting constantly and rapidly. Those changes are normal. So, if we resist every changing season insisting that it’s “not the way it used to be”, we will be in a constant state of angst and irritation.
Even so, there are ways that we can shape our lives to make life as smooth as possible, yes, and maybe that is something we can also improve on this year. For example, saying “no” to commitments that will unnecessarily overwhelm us, managing our time better, not procrastinating, etc. But it is the overarching attitude change that I have to constantly remind myself to keep in check.
As we enter a new year, 2016, let us remember the preacher from Ecclesiastes who said in chapter three, verse 1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” On this text, Matthew Henry says, “Every change concerning us, with the time and season of it, is unalterably fixed and determined by a supreme power; and we must take things as they come, for it is not in our power to change what is appointed for us… Everything under heaven is thus changeable, but in heaven there is an unchangeable state and an unchangeable counsel concerning those things.” We are changeable, passible creatures and likewise our life under heaven is ever changing. Thankfully, God is the opposite. He was, is, and ever will be the same and so are His decrees. What a comfort that should be to us as we pass from season to season.
So then, we may not know what a new phase in life will bring us, but we can surely know that we have a sovereign and loving Lord that has sent it and is present with all who believe. Ever-changing seasons of life may be “normal,” but God’s unchanging being is also “normal.” It’s unchangeably “normal”! Let that unchanging normality shape your perspective of the ever-changing reality you live in. As the wonderful hymn says “Change and decay in all around I see, O God who changes not, abide with me.”
When changing seasons interrupt our real life this year, let’s try to remember the hand that sent it and respond accordingly.