When We Leave Our Nests for a New Normal

Susan Narjala   |   October 16, 2019 

I was twenty years old the first time I was all alone in a house for more than ten minutes. I know you’re thinking: Whaaat? Like 2-0? You got to be kidding me, woman.

I don’t have a whole lot to say in my defense. Growing up, on the rare occasions my parents went out without us kids, at a minimum, I had my sister for company.

So, back in 1999, when I moved to Mumbai for a media course and my “local guardians” went out, leaving only chicken curry and rice as my companions, my heart froze as the front door clicked shut.

Maybe it was a dark, stormy night. Perhaps the wind howled eerily. Honestly, I don’t remember the details, but it sure felt like I was trapped in a scary movie. I tried to eat my solo dinner, but my valiant attempts were short lived. I charged to the guest room for my bed – and my Bible. That night, I memorized every single syllable and semi-colon of Psalm 91.

Since that incident 20 years ago, I’ve moved cities six times. But, I remember that night vividly because it marked a big transition in my life. I had left the familiarity and comfort of home for the big, bad city of Mumbai. The security blanket had been yanked off. I felt like an eaglet that had been prodded out of its nest, testing its wings for the first time. Although the word hadn’t been invented yet, I was taking my first shaky steps into “adulting.”

But, as I lapped up the Word in the quietness of that guest room, a simple truth silenced my thumping heart: I don’t have to do this alone because I’m never alone. God will get me through this, too. In the midst of the unfamiliar and the uncertain, while I tested my Beta adult avatar, my relationship with God went from being a silent black-and-white movie to a stunningly beautiful 3D one.

Every transition -- not just geographical ones -- can very quickly show us that we’re out of our depth. No longer can you rely on routine. No longer can you function on autopilot. The learning curve is undeniably steep. At that point, we have a couple of options: we can either try to control our circumstances or we can cling to God.

Often times, God stirs us out of our nests. That tends to happen when our nests have become so cozy that we’re lulled into a certain deadness of heart. He urges us out of the familiar and the safe because He wants us to live freely and abundantly. But He doesn’t just stand by and watch us flail and flap about in fear. Deuteronomy reminds us that He is like an eagle which “hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft” (Deut 32:11).

The world tells us we have two options when we’re in life's deep waters: sink or swim. But it forgets to tell us about a third, life-giving one: surrender.

Let’s surrender to the One who stirs us out of our nests and shows us how to soar.

Let’s surrender to the One who swoops down to lift us on high.

Let’s surrender to the One who transforms times of transition into seasons of trust.


Photo by Kea Mowat on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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