The last few weeks have been interestingly normal and I say that implying that normal means ups and downs, good experiences and bad, laughter and tears on any given day. As I continue to tread along this journey of discovery about my Heavenly Father, I also find out more and more about myself. I’m discovering that while I know correct things in my head, I still expect something else in my life. Take normal for example. In my head I know that normal means all kinds of different experiences, including ones I like and those I don’t, because we all have that, that’s normal. But I want my normal to mean that I’m driving in my convertible, perfect humidity free breeze blowing (don’t want my hair to get frizzy!), sun shining, the right song on the radio and not a care in the world. Unfortunately, most of my days don’t look like that, so my emotions and that voice in my head begin to tell me I’m living a sub-par life, I’m not living a normal life. Ha! Joke’s on me!
It’s time to take on a more mature, and I mean spiritually mature, view of what normal should look like and it’s not either view I have so carefully crafted. Instead, it’s a beautiful blend where I am living my very normal, roll coaster of a life, but inside I’m experiencing the peace, stability and carefree existence the Bible describes over and over and over again. That familiar scripture in Philippians 4:11-13 (AMP):
11 Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be [a] content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. 12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [b]infuses inner strength into me; I am [c]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Again, another area where I mentally understood what Paul was saying, but in living life, never truly comprehended how something like that could be me. How can I, how can we, be steadfast, content, satisfied, not disturbed, nor disquieted regardless of our situation and circumstances? How can I be riding the scariest roller coaster on the outside and be driving peacefully and relaxed in my convertible on the inside? Honestly, I don’t think I truly felt like that is something I could be. Not because I didn’t think that was what God wanted for me, I just didn’t know what I needed or needed to do or be…to BE that person.
Here’s what I’m discovering. This journey is less and less about me and more and more about Him. Remember that scripture, I’ve been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live (Galatians 2:20) and this one, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2). So a lot of my life has been a picture of how I saw it, how I thought it should be and my efforts in creating that environment and prayers to God to change circumstances to come into line with my thoughts on my life. Many of my thoughts were founded on scriptures, but it’s been my weaving and selection of scriptures to best fit my current circumstance and desired outcome. The reality is, however, very different. God has planned a life for each one of us whereby we live in His love, acceptance, joy, peace and favor and accomplish His design and plan for us. I’m able to walk this walk because my time is spent in His presence and receiving all that Jesus died for me to have (that love, acceptance, joy, etc.) and He works in me and through me to pour that out as I walk the path He has set before me. ( Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.)
The how is not found in what I must figure out to do, it’s in choosing to seek Him and His kingdom and my inner life becomes one of constancy because He does not change even when things around me are crashing and clanging. I believe the reason Paul was able to say what he had become in all of his circumstances is because he went from seeking the perfect place and settled in the perfect person…His Heavenly Father, the shelter from the storm, the stillness in midst of the hurricane, the provision in the middle of lack…Paul’s internal rest in the secret place of the almighty. I leave you with Psalms 91 that I believe is what God has spoken to us that we are to have as our normal regardless of any situation we find ourselves in. It is what I am reaching for as the normal life I believe God planned for me…and for you!
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”