The phrase “status quo” has popped up a few times recently in conversations and in things I have been reading, which got me thinking about my feelings regarding things being “status quo” or not. Status quo is used to describe a normal state of affairs, not bad, not good, but mostly unchanging. When people describe their life as in a state of status quo, it’s describing their normal. Although this sense of normalcy has dramatically shifted over the past 12+months and settled into a new place and feels like globally is shifting once again. This idea of things feeling like they may be in a state of status quo hit with a stinging reality as I reflected on my life. What would the status quo look like for me? What would the simplicity of a day to day routine that felt very much normal be? What would it be like to not be navigating the ups and downs of crisis but just moving through the normalcy of life? Maybe, status quo is not fantastic, but maybe it is not filled with as many curve balls as my life feels like it has.
I have heard it said that Jesus came to disrupt the status quo. I can see this in the way he gave most of his attention to people who were not regarded as important. You see this further in his disruption of religious laws that became the focus of worship rather than God. And who the Jews expected to be the messiah, was not Jesus. They expected a powerful ruler, not a baby born in a manger. I think the feeling like things are not status quo is ok. I think navigating the change and up’s and down’s of life that don’t feel routine or normal are ok too. It’s how we respond to these unsettling circumstances that are important. It feels like this is what I signed up for, things not ever being normal as we serve and trust God more.
As we continue to navigate life that feels disrupted by circumstances, family, children, jobs or joblessness and more here are a few big picture thoughts to come back to: Let GOD be GOD- Many times I remind myself “You have faith in God for a reason, let Him be in this with you.” We must remember who is in control ultimately and not try to sabotage what God is doing in us and through us. Don’t let fear take away from the growing that God is doing in these times that feel upside down, but actually pull closer to God and ask him to show you more clearly the purpose. The familiar story from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke of when Jesus calms the storm is a good reminder of the vast power and control the Lord has over everything. Jesus replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:26-27
Keep moving forward- The tendency to let fear to hold us in a state of indecision can be problematic. Keeping momentum even when things are not what we had hoped is important. Every morning before school, my girls pick out a mantra from a list we heard about from Big Life Kids. Many mornings these simple statements the girls pick for themselves stick in my mind as I go through the day. Two common statements chosen are “ My imperfect action is better than no action at all” and “I have grit and I won’t quit.”. These simple statements remind all of us to move forward through the hard and continue on. Building a mindset of positive, forward motion through the things that don’t feel normal is healthy. The Lord encourages us as he encouraged Joshua to keep moving forward and lead the Israelites into the promised land - “Be strong and courageous, do not lose hope, for the Lord your God is with you.”Joshua 1:9
Be generous- The idea of generosity can be molded into many different domains of our time, resources, words, etc, but in the end- the act of giving ends up returning some vital things when we are in a season of chaos. A few of the benefits of generosity noted in the Pyshalive article are that generosity improves our sense of purpose, deepens relationships and connections, and reduces stress. All of these benefits are what we are looking for when we are seeking a sense of status quo that we can not find. In these circumstances where we feel like the bottom is falling out we must remember where our heart is rooted. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
It feels like most days my family is living our life on the edge and I don’t think we are that unusual in those feelings. We have weathered unexpected changes, and detours and sit in the present place trying to put the pieces in order to make sense looking ahead. Looking behind us feels like a trail of wreckage that we call our life. The only thing keeping us together is that we are graciously provided what we need for today. When I feel like my life is moving towards chaos, I remind myself of what is true and practice the things that bring me back to my root system of our loving God.