It’s a good thing I didn’t make “post regularly” a New Year’s resolution. This January a whole new normal hijacked my world. As if last year hasn’t been upside down already, 2016 is mixing it up again. These changes came wrapped as answered prayers and opportunities, called “new job.” I’m still learning just what my new normal looks like, but I have a daily commute to consider it.
On my first day, I drove on icy roads through fog like when my sister took epic showers in high school. I crossed state lines past empty miles, giving me quiet time ask God to show me what fears were behind word “brave” for this New Year of more new. Little by little, He has cleared some of my fog.
It’s a scary thing to leave Familiar and find yourself in Empty. The good thing about miles and jobs and hills unfolding to the sky is that we get used to them. They become the “new normal.” But I believe most of us live afraid of leaving something bigger than Familiar and worse than Empty. We live afraid of leaving Belonging and finding ourselves in Alone.
We can be surrounded by people and be in Alone. We can even be in Familiar and Alone at the same time. Feeling alone is the same as feeling forsaken. We use “rejected” or “unaccepted” to describe the abandonment of aloneness. As I’ve crossed the state line and hills every day, I’ve realized something.
The church is filled with women who are scared. These are uncertain times. Global terror, local violence, and uncertain leadership hit close to home. But in church, we’re scared of something else. Of each other. Being in Familiar can lull us into feeling accepted and received, but we live with low levels of fear at finding ourselves in Alone.
If I don’t join in a certain study, participate in a specific event, meet a certain group, or say expected things … I might find myself in Alone. Western Christians have a way of watching for certain “signs” of authenticity. Not authentic faith, but proof that we fit in.
God promises that He will not forsake His own; He won’t even leave us, “ … for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5b)
I wonder what you might be doing, friend, out of fear of being alone. Wednesday, I want to share a conversation with you that gave me insight into how some people see us. The church. Maybe their view is more clear than we care to admit.
Until next time, may the Lord be the God of your fog and mine.
Do you feel like you’re doing anything right now out so that you’ll be accepted? Are you shaping your schedule or your commitments or your personality so that you’ll fit in?