What is it about society that makes us not want to stand out from the crowd and be different, we find safety in being the same. Copy-cat mentality is rife. If one girl needs to go to the rest-room, all the girls need to go to the rest room. My husband told a group of my school Momma’s last week that I apparently suffer from a condition I’d never heard of before called F.O.M.O. – Fear of Missing Out! Yep, I’m as guilty as the next person although in this season I’m being challenged to come out of my comfort zone and be separate. Having a baby in my forties completely goes against the grain of society’s normality, as does having five children, and deliberately wanting them. As we learn to embrace being different, our individual callings and bringing our uniqueness to the world, we live life in vibrant colour rather than bland and boring black and white!
I shared with one of the beautiful young and talented girls that I have the honour of mentoring last week:
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different”. Coco Chanel
Fashion tells us to look the same, society tells us to act the same or risk being ostracised and appearing strange. Perhaps that is it – we are afraid of being alone! The world through magazines, media and peer pressure tells us to conform but what if all those voices screaming at us “this is the norm” are wrong? Abnormal becomes our normal!
Abnormal – now there’s a horrible word! It’s the word every parent dreads to hear during their much anticipated baby scan. It’s the word you never want to hear back with your blood test results. Abnormal: I’ve been there – it’s a word that has shocked my world and forced me to find God’s ‘norm’ for my life. I, for one, don’t want to be living an abnormal life with all the stress, materialism, unhealthy comparison that brings with it so much strife. Surely normal for us is the life God created us to live. The life He placed us on the planet for. The life that for many of us, it would appear, has aluded us. So, if what was once our norm has been lost to us, we need to go back and find this ‘old norm’ and make it our ‘new norm’ once again. Go back where, you ask…
‘Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the OLD paths, where the GOOD way is, and walk in it; then you will find REST for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” Jeremiah 6:16
What are the old paths and where is the good way? To answer this we need to look at three key words from this verse that have big relevance for us living a normal life: ‘rest, old and good’. You see, the secret is not in finding yourself – let me help you there. You are weak, you are frail, in life you will fail. The secret is in finding Jesus and His meaning for your life. He is strong, He rights your wrong, when you know you belong to Him, you are blessed for success.
To live life strife free, from a position of rest, has become alien to us today. Yet this is what God intended for us! It is time we stopped in our tracks – got off the wrong road and got our lives back on track! Rest comes out of trust. God longs for us to trust Him completely, to ask Him for direction, provision and to follow Him! So many of us are busy leading our own lives and we are leading ourselves astray, far away from the great, exciting and fulfilling life God originally intended for us. Jesus never told us ‘to lead’, but over and over again He said “follow me”.
Sadly, we see here some of the saddest words in the Bible. God offered men and women, boys and girls the best path for their lives, yet their response was “we will not walk in it”. In other words they were saying, “we don’t want God’s ways, it looks boring, irrelevant, antiquated”. They foolishly chose the other road at the crossroads and missed their opportunity!
Today, so often we choose the rat race instead of God’s pace, we choose the road marked ‘stressed’ instead of the road marked ‘blessed and rest’.
Jesus calls out at the crossroads today – this is our moment of decision – He didn’t call us to be a leader but to follow Him – you will be a leader as a consequence of following! May we not repeat the saddest mistake of all, look up at God then walk away and say, “No thanks, I don’t want you leading my life, that’s not the road I want”. Miss it and miss out! Let’s not blame God for the mess of the world when the choice has been ours. Let’s not blame God for the mess of our lives if we won’t help ourselves when the lifeline has already been thrown out to us by the nail scarred hands of the loving Saviour, longing for our heart of trust. Perfect peace and rest is found in trust! If we put our trust into the wrong hands then perfect peace and trust will not be the result!
As we stop at the crossroads and look around we are told to take the ‘old’ road. That doesn’t mean old as in antiquated, ancient, irrelevant and in need of repair but the word ‘old’ translated from the original Hebrew here has lost its meaning in our language. It actually means ‘eternal, what has become so hidden from the natural eye, what has been concealed to the point of almost vanishing’. Old here means the future! God wants us to look and ask for what has been almost lost to us completely. You have to go back to go forward. By choosing His eternal path you choose your future – the one He originally intended for you – It’s your true norm, perfect fit and completion. God’s old paths for our lives are ever new, futuristic, creative and forward thinking.
The word ‘good’ from the Hebrew means ‘excellent, fruitful, prosperous, happy, wise, economic benefits, best quality, expensive, priceless’. Now do you see why I think that some of the saddest words and sentiments recorded in the Bible are found here in Jeremiah 6:33 when the children of Israel responded “No, that’s not the road we want”. It’s beyond sad; it’s tragic. When I stood at the same crossroads, their words caused me to stand out from the crowd and be different, to go against the flow and take God’s road.
What part of God handing to us on a platter a prosperous, fruitful, happy and priceless life package as a gift would we refuse? I’ve gratefully grabbed God’s gift with both hands, I’m walking His road and it’s just too good a path to keep to myself.
Don’t let your life be a blur or blot on the page – stand out, step up and make a statement! Don’t let the world change you – change the world! Don’t follow the crowd, follow Jesus. God made you a Winner, not a loser; losing is not part of God’s character or intention for your life; so choose God’s way and do what winners do – win! You were born for greatness!
Pain, suffering, lack, depression, relationship break ups, sickness and loss, to mention but a few negative scenarios, are abnormal for our lives. Jesus came to give us life and life to the max, the Bible tells us, to restore to us what was lost to us, to give us back God’s normal for our lives!
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NKJV
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways…, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you go to possess”
Choose God’s path and possess all He has for you today – don’t turn away. The best life, a God blessed life, working from a position of rest, is God’s normal for your life. You can experience this as your ‘new norm’ today!
“The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it]. Proverbs 10:22 (Amp)
Father God, abnormal living has caused us to lose sight of your normal. Today as I stand at the crossroads I choose your eternal and good path for my life. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get back on the right track – I choose you, I choose life! I choose blessed over stressed! I am a winner – I choose to walk in your winning ways! In Jesus name, Amen.