"Welcome to the "new normal."
Who else cringes when they hear that phrase? At least in the pod of people I tend to gather towards, I can visualize the hands shooting up all over the place with that question. Apparently, a select group of people now get to decide their own interpretation of the Constitution, and tell people how they are to think. I don't play that game.
Here are a few "new normals" I have noticed, which I believe some people truly don't notice and others pretend will eventually just go away. Another group is angry at this "new normal" but doesn't want confrontation or to cause disrespect to their government. Now, as a Christian I fully believe in submitting to the governing authorities when it doesn't contradict Scripture or ask us to go against our Lord. However, I also believe that when the Bible tells us if our consciences feel burdened by a knowledge we know of something that another Christian may not, than we need to make that choice based on that. If WE personally, feel we are sinning against our Lord, than in no way should we be pressured by the government or any other person or group of people, to do it.
1 Corinthians 8:7 says this:
"However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled."
2 Corinthians 1:12 goes on to say this:
"For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you."
I will give an example of where this could come into play for a Christian.
Before I met my husband, I never once thought of an "alternative " way of health. I only knew one way to eat and one way to take care of medical concerns. Then I met my husband.....and that all changed.
My husband came from a very holistic family. They had a huge, HUGE garden and grew and canned and preserved most of their foods! I discovered things like homemade granola ( it's not all from Quaker in a box at the store?!) and soy milk( which we now know isn't necessarily healthy for all people in the amounts we were consuming in the early 2000's. :) ) We are always learning. Medicine and health and nutrition seem to be constantly changing, and the cool thing is God gave us these amazing things called brains that give us the opportunity to read and study and make decisions based on what knowledge we have acquired! One thing I also learned about upon arriving into my husband's family was the topic of vaccines. As a child and teen, I had all the vaccines and never thought anything about it. I mean, that's what you do! You wake up, you eat breakfast, you get dressed , you go to school, you go to the doctor and take meds and shots, you play sports, learn an instrument, go to church, study the Bible, etc. That's what you do!
Now don't get me wrong. I absolutely loved my childhood because I had amazing parents who truly loved me, protected me, cared for me and nurtured me physically, emotionally, but most importantly, spiritually. I love the life I had and the foundation my parents gave me. However, when I learned that there was another "way" in life, I guess you could say I was more than intrigued. I have always been someone who likes to think outside the box if it doesn't involve hurting anyone else or any thing. I also want to clarify that I am not even CLOSE to being an "anti vaxer" or against conventional medicine. I use conventional medicine. Conventional medicine has been a HUGE blessing when I was close to dying at 21 from viral meningitis. Conventional medicine cleared up horrible cystic acne that didn't start until I was 21 and just dating and "in love " with my now, husband. Conventional medicine in conjunction with alternative medicine has been a blessing sent from Heaven for me when it comes to my mental health struggles and chronic Lyme disease and co infections. So please understand, I am SO grateful for it.What a blessing from our Lord! In the same breath,when I met my husband, I didn't look at it as a "substitution" for the life I had been raised in, but rather a supplement that beautifully marinated together an amazing, and miraculous at times ,way of living and disease prevention and cure. Knowledge CAN be power. Knowledge can ALSO be man's folly, and Scripture very clearly warns of of this. There is though, a way to find a middle balance between the two. It takes time, effort, dedication and often times uncomfortable confrontations when we step outside the box and educate ourselves rather than just solely being told, "this is what you do, let's not ask why, shall we? OK. GRRRRREAT!"
I know that often a doctor will be much more pleased when we just nod and say "yes sir " rather than " Well actually, I have been reading a lot over the years from multiple peer reviewed sources and I have learned x, y and z...." .
YOU know your body and your children better than anyone next to God. You have a right to be in PARTNERSHIP with your doctor, NOT dictatorship. I have found some of the most amazing health professionals. Some I call friends and some are my own personal care takers. I can assure you they ARE out there. You just have to look and ask questions.
Ha! Well now I realize I am FINALLY going to give you some of these "new normals" I mentioned way at the beginning of my post! (I have never been one for a loss of words, right Hubcake? ;) )
One of the "new normals" I have noticed lately is loud music playing outside stores. Do you know what I am talking about?! Walmart, grocery stores, Costco, whatever...as soon as you get out of your car you hear the music blaring in the parking lot. This music isn't even relaxing or even appealing usually! It's usually some kind of current 'pop" aka "what happened to good music?" and it's frankly, annoying. I have noticed it for weeks already, but today I finally mentioned it in front of my parents and Hubcake. IMMEDIATELY, they all knew exactly what I was talking about! Joel had read stores are doing this as a "distraction." Ummmm, ok? A distraction from what? The fact that we are all annoyed wearing a mask and being made to feel like we are trying to get into a bar with our underage ID ( I mean I have no idea if anyone has ever done this...)?👀 Is it a distraction from life in general? "See Everyone! Life is great! We have some cool Katy Perry playing for you, so go ahead and enjoy your muzzled shopping adventure!" Maybe it's a distraction from the obvious fights and arguments that have increased in parking lots and stores due to "Mask Karens" policing everyone on their proper mask wear. Or maybe it's the fist fights I have personally come across leaving both parties bleeding and cops and lights a twirling. I don't know. But this I do know. If this is a "new normal" that kind of gives me the feels of Hunger Games' District 5, I'm out. This is NOT my "new normal."
Another "new normal" i notice is the obvious "mask." Now please don't get me wrong. People have worn masks for as long as I can remember for all sorts of reasons. These reasons can be from compromised immune systems, cancer treatment, asthma or just plain "I'm working with cancer causing chemicals today honey, so I'll be in the shop, masked!" In fact, I have always PREFERRED Hubcake wear his mask when performing these hobbies and duties for the sole reason of lung protection. We used to raise chickens and whenever we or the kids cleaned out the barn (oh my word Spring was the WORST!) we wore masks or bandanas to help keep out all the dust, mold and chicken poo particles! I still laugh out loud when I envision Sam cleaning out the barn in late April. Hahahahahhahahaha!! I digress....
The fact is, masks CAN serve a purpose. Again, I won't get into "should healthy people wear masks because of covid" because I may truly crack open a bottle of wine right now if that topic were to become a discussion I had to invest in. No, my entire point is to say, mask-wearing is NOT my "new normal." Mask- wearing is my "as needed " decision, and because I was blessed to be born and raised in a country my grandpa sacrificed his life to preserve our freedoms for, the least I can do, is stand up for the right for that effort. It's NOT ABOUT a mask. It's about the why. It's not my "new normal." If you are truly wearing a mask " for me," than I can TRULY say without a shadow of a doubt I am NOT WEARING a mask, "for you", and for your children, and my children and the generations that may follow if our Lord deems fit.
Finally, one last "new normal" is the online everything. Ok, ok, I will admit, that when the worldwide web came out my freshman year of college you better believe I was in the computer lounge in "chat rooms" with random people in other countries. Why??! Because that's what we were ALL doing! (Crystal, Becky, if you are reading this you know what I'm talking about). 🤣😂😉 I cannot even tell you the leap in technology that happened between my high school Senior year and Freshman year of college. Technology, email, cell phones, social media, Face time, House party, Marco polo, apps, you name it, have been a TREMENDOUS blessing in so many ways. Yet,nothing has and nothing ever will, beat face to to face human contact and communication. All of the former I mentioned should be supplements to basic human needs such as touch, smiles, words from mouths......Sadly, even well before Covid , this concept had shifted. I was desperately hoping,and praying for a solution to this. I was sad to see kids having more fun talking on headsets over which "skin" they were going to buy in Fortnight versus actually meeting up at the local teen approved pool hall to play a few games of pool. I was sad to see Snapchat being a place where kids would ask each other out on a date versus a few stems of flowers at the parent's front door. Again, I have or do use many of these platforms. They aren't in and of itself, a bad thing. A knife isn't in and of itself a bad thing. A knife can be used to cut food, or free an animal or human from a dangerous situation. However, a knife can also be used as a weapon of crime. It isn't the knife ( or the gun, or the phone or the Facebook) that is the problem, it's the heart of the user. What I have noticed in these past six months since the shut down of everything , including churches, is the flourishing of all things online. I can jump on that bandwagon of online shopping. I am an avid texter, emailer and social media user. However, one thing I am not, and can never be, is anti-social. There is never ever a substitution for one on one contact, not even a phone call where we hear our beloved's voice. In this current "new normal" , we now have the ease and ability of live streaming and online church. All in our Pajamas to boot!!! Online church is an absolute blessing to the sick and elderly/ shut in. Online church is a gift to prisoners and those living in communist countries where the word of our Lord and Savior is forbidden in person. Online church is NOT a blessing, to those who choose to discontinue "meeting together" because " I don't like masks" or "I don't like that everyone isn't masked up to the bridge of their nose AND singing!" (GASP!) Thus , I state once again, it is not online church which is the problem, but the heart of the user. Am I wrong? Hebrews expresses this powerful passage that has clung to my heart for as long as I can remember:
"Let us not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
I understand fear, I do. I have suffered with at times paralyzing and crippling anxiety from the onset of age ten. Yes, ten years old. I know the pain and ache and misery of irrational fear. My children have lived it. My husband has held it. I know the hell and torture of fear. However, I also know, that accepting that fear and giving power to that is equally as damaging. It will crush hearts and ruin relationships. It will sever the bond that the Lord has bestowed with you. It will wear away at the heart, the minds, and the souls of all who love you, and whom you hold near.
I will not accept this "new normal" of online church. I will not create anarchy, but I will also not accept tyranny. I will respect and obey my government, but not when it goes against my conscience and hinders my faith in Jesus. If I can't stand up in times of crisis for my physical church body, will I be able to stand up for my Lord and Savior if given the option of life and death? It's sobering. And I cannot do a thing, without my Savior as my pilot.
Throughout this entire process though, there is Hope. I don't mean the hope of "Boy, do I hope I get that promotion at work!" kind of hope. No, I mean that Hope that we get from our Savior in knowing that "all we have to do is die, to live." Death in the world's eye is the end. Death in the Christian's eye is only the beginning. THIS! This is my "reNew(ed) normal. This, is how I choose to live.
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31