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Tag: new normal

Burning ship

Burn the Ships

In writing, the doorway of no return is the situation that pushes our hero into a new normal. In the story’s opening, a glimpse of the hero’s life as he knows it is depicted until something rocks his world. The hero is thrust, whether willingly or unwillingly, into a new normal. Even if he wanted to return to his old life, it’s now out of his reach. He’s left with no other choice but to press forward.

When Alexander the Great reached the shores of Persia in 334 BC, he ordered his men to burn the ships, stating they would “either return home in Persian ships or we will die here.” (Kanigan, Manner of speaking.org, Burning the Ships and Sailing Away, Jan 2015)  Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez took the lead from Alexander, and when landing in what is now modern-day Mexico, he scuttled his ships to force his men inland, slamming closed the door of retreat.

The doorway of no return happened for Rahab in the Bible when she hid two Israelite spies. The King of Jericho demanded the men be brought out. Rahab could have given them up and gone on with her life. Instead, she hid them among the flax piles on her roof and told the soldiers that the Israeli men had already come and gone.

Rahab burned her ships.

A prostitute held little value to the King of Jericho and treason was a serious crime. The moment she chose to aid two strangers, failure no longer was an option. What put Rahab in the faith hall of fame was her trust in the God of the Israelites—a God she had only heard stories of but went all in to serve and trust (Joshua 2).

man looking back

Since Covid, many of us have been waiting for life to go back to normal, but we’ve passed through a doorway of no return. While it’s admirable to learn from history (Jesus often referenced those that came before and God’s prior works), it’s detrimental to remain stuck in the past. The time has come to decide whether we’re going to cling to the shipwreck that was 2020, be buried under the crumbled walls of Jericho, or choose to burn the ships. It’s time to step forward in faith and realize that God is doing a new and better thing.

We can’t let our trepidation of the unknown keep us from walking inland toward God’s purpose for our lives. If we keep looking back and holding onto the past, we miss what’s ahead of us. It cost Lot’s wife her life. She didn’t heed God’s warning and looked back. Doing so turned her into a pillar of salt.

We need to be turning to God to show us the way forward. What younger generation can we pour into? How can we get reinvested and reinvolved? It’s time to prepare to march into God’s promises knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God’s making streams in the desert and paths through the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19), but we have to move forward to see it.

“Through every generation of the human race, there has been a constant war, a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them.” ~ Alexander the Great

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pregnant mom belly and little girl kissing it

Overcome and Adapt

Pregnant mom belly and little girl kissing it.

Men may want better to understand the closeness between a mother and newborn. As much as I love to tell childbirth stories, that’s not the part I found most inspiring.

I knew there had to be a creator as I watched my body grow during pregnancy. I wasn’t doing any of the work other than eating a bit more (okay, maybe a lot more). My hips and ribcage shifted of their own accord. My blood quantity increased. (The only New England winter that I wasn’t freezing was the one during which I was pregnant.) Once the baby was born, my milk supply altered to meet the baby’s needs. I didn’t have to do pushups or eat certain foods to get it to change. My body adapted of its own accord because God made it to change.

We are meant to overcome and adapt.

Not only did God forge women’s bodies to adapt for childbirth, but He’s also given us an amazing immune system. When we catch a cold, our glands swell up, our nose runs, and we’ll cough because our lymphatic and immune systems are warring against a virus. When we eat something spoiled and get food poisoning, we don’t have to tell our bodies what to do. It just starts purging. (I’ll spare everyone the descriptions on this one.)

We often forget that our bodies aren’t the only thing God created to adapt. He made us to adjust emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Paul says, in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” We start as spiritual infants, but we are meant to feed on God’s word, grow, adapt, and become spiritual adults. What turns us into adults? Trials, tests, and temptations. Mature spiritual adults have proven they can overcome challenges and persevere.

Take the story of Joseph, for example. Joseph was an immature young man when he bragged to his brothers about his dream that they would bow down to him. His juvenile boast set off a chain reaction. 

barred window

He was thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold as a slave, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into jail, and then was forgotten. I can imagine Joseph waiting for his father to march through the door and shout, “Unhand my beloved son!” Little did Joseph know, his brothers faked his death. What devastation Joseph must have felt when he realized his father wasn’t coming.

Joseph had to overcome his disappointment, adapt to his new normal, and mature to a higher degree of spirituality before he could go from slave to Pharaoh’s trusted advisor with power second only to the Egyptian king. He got there because he persevered. God equipped Joseph to be able to acclimate to each situation, and in the end, he came out a stronger and more capable person.

Currently, we are all adapting to a new normal. Yes, it may stretch us, irritate us, weigh us down, but lean into God. Feed on His word. Absorb His strength. Spiritually grow because God has plans for you.

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