Can You See “Norm” in this Picture? – Where’s Norm?

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When my husband and I bought our house eleven years ago, every room was the same shade of pale green except for two rooms that shared the same shade of pale blue. It was neutral but BORING. As an artistic person who loves color, I knew that the house needed to be completely repainted with big and bold colors. When I told my husband what I envisioned for the house he was skeptical. Navy in the bedroom, eggplant in the kitchen, a green ceiling in the potential nursery, and deep orange in the basement seemed a little bold for him. He couldn’t picture how it would all fit together, but he trusted my “inner eye,” and we went for it. When our friends came to visit our new house, they all loved the bold colors and said it “feels like you.” Eleven years later we still love it. We could have moved in and lived with the anemic green, but we would have been missing out on an opportunity to make the house our own and create a home that fit our personality.

During the weekend message, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about the “5 P’s” involved in preparing for transitions. Yesterday we explored having a purpose. The next step is painting a picture of what we would like things to look like when we arrive at the new normal. In our Scripture passage, we explored the people’s responses to the reports of the twelve spies Moses sent out to explore the Promised Land. Upon returning, the spies painted a vivid picture of the Promised Land to the assembly of people.

Numbers 13:27-28
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!

After that account, the people wept and trembled in fear. They saw a glimpse of what could happen, and their fear overshadowed the potential for blessing. Even though they had just experienced the power of God miraculously delivering them from the hands of the mightiest nation in the world, Egypt, they doubted the ability of God to deliver on his promises. Perhaps they still did not believe that the God of Abraham and Jacob was different from the gods of Egypt, or perhaps they felt as if they were tired of change and just wanted stability. Either way, they turned their backs on the blessings that God had promised them in Canaan.

We need to consider another part of this story. Twelve spies were sent out, and 10 brought back a negative account. However, two, Joshua and Caleb, urged the people to take what God had already planned to give them.

Numbers 14:30
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

We need to be like Caleb and Joshua and envision how the place we are going is a good place to be, and even if the journey is sometimes difficult, it will be worth the effort when we arrive. We need to listen to those around us who paint a picture of what is possible. God wants to take us into a place that we will flourish. We need to look at the picture of what God is painting for us and step into our promised land.

When you think about the potential for your “new normal,” what do you envision?

What is holding you back from entering into the picture God is painting for you?

Next Steps:
Take some time this week to journal how you envision your next month, six months, and beyond.

Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me glimpses into the future you have prepared for me. Help me to embrace the uncertainty with confidence and trust that you will not abandon me. Help me to listen to those around me who have wisdom and to act in a way that is honoring to you. Thank you for never leaving me to wander alone. Amen.

This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.

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2 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Julie, I could feel your energy in these words today. Thank you for writing and being such an inspiration!

  2. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    “We need to be like Caleb and Joshua and envision how the place we are going is a good place to be, and even if the journey is sometimes difficult, it will be worth the effort when we arrive.”

    Really beautiful, Julie! Such a great reminder. There may be bumps along the road but Jesus is leading us to life and life to the full!

    Thanks for the reminder!

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