Do we really want to return to “normal”?
As the country begins to open back up after the COVID-19 shut down, people are asking “what’s next”, and wondering what the “new normal” will look like. My kids are wondering about what school will look like in the fall, and whether or not their volleyball season will happen. We’re all tired of being in limbo, and looking forward to getting back to life as we knew it.
However, before we rush into adding everything back onto the calendar, I want to encourage us to take a few moments to pause and ask the question “Should this commitment really be on our calendar?” The easy action to take as life picks up again is to try to get back to the way things were before the pandemic. But I encourage you to take a prayerful look at your life and ask the Lord to show you what activities you should pursue, and which ones you shouldn’t. The gift that families have been given in all this is the unexpected time together. We had multiple family meals together each day, extended time putting the kids to bed, time to play in the back yard, time for intentional discussions with kids and teens, etc. While it’s understandable to be ready for a little less family time, I can’t help but wonder how much better off families would be if they took an intentional look at their schedules.
Ephesians 5:15-17 speaks some wisdom very relevant to our times.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”Ephesians 5:15-17
It would be easy to read that verse and justify the desire to get back to a busy lifestyle. After all, “making the most of every opportunity” probably means making sure that our kids don’t miss out on any opportunities, right? No so fast! I would strongly encourage you to have a conversation with your family about what matters to you, and how your activities reflect your values. Should you go back to every sports activity, club, membership, and commitment that you were involved with before the pandemic? Maybe, but maybe not. In Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”, he explores the idea of “good things” being the enemy of “great things”. The problem is that we get involved in things that are all well and good, but not the great, perfect or right things for us. The issue is that on our way to truly great things for our life, we get sidetracked and stuck on things that are merely good. Those good things cause us to settle for “good enough” instead of pressing on for greatness. I want my life to be great. I want my family to be great. And that means that we can’t settle for “good enough”. We have to ask the question!
Socrates famously said “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Maybe your life post-pandemic will be more or less the same as the pre-pandemic one. And that can be ok. But ask the question!
“Should this commitment really be on our calendar?”
Examine your life. Maybe the best way to “make the most of every opportunity” is to slow down, change your priorities, and spend more time with your family. Whatever your answer to the question, you will be well on your way to making the most of every opportunity if you seek the Lord’s wisdom, examine your life and follow His leading. I encourage you to be intentional about what this “new normal” looks like for your family.