We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Many of us (perhaps most of us) have seen the epic 1939 classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland in the role of Dorothy. Dorothy lives with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em on the great Kansas prairie and after going to see a charlatan named Professor Marvel, she heads back to the farm ahead of a big twisting tornado. As the wind gets stronger and the storm bears down, Dorothy reaches the farmhouse and hope for safety and finds no one in the house because everyone on the farm is already in the storm cellar and they don’t hear her knocking on the door. So, she returns to the house to try to weather the storm.

In the movie the house is caught up in the whirlwind and survives with Dorothy and her dog, Toto, inside. When it seems safe to go outside, Dorothy picks up Toto but the world outside her door is not the prairie farmland she knew. Though she has not yet determined where she is, she knows this is quite different and says the famous line, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” She has yet to discover how drastically different the magical place is and yet it seems lovely on the face of it and off she goes exploring. It will be much later that she discovers “there’s no place like home” and wakes up in the house in Kansas.

Things change after a storm and its destruction comes upon us and if we survive, our great hope is for life to get back to “normal” and be “good” again. We long for it like someone parched and thirsty longs for a tall glass of water.

Photo by JaZmi on Unsplash

We were going along in our busy lives that were what we considered “normal” when suddenly in 2020 we entered the worldwide pandemic resulting in a longer time than we first expected of losses, isolation, tension, and uncertainty. The world had known such times before, but this type of experience was new for most of us. Everything we enjoyed, worked at, relaxed around, and did as our own lifestyle came to a halt. Numbers of days we were told would be needed to be safe enough to return to “normal” kept changing and anxiety about the pandemic grew while we were dealing with new things like how to buy food, do our jobs, and school our children. We were also dealing with other challenges that weren’t caused by the pandemic, but we needed to handle them differently or weather them alone because of the pandemic restrictions.

Now, in 2022, we are still looking and trying to find the life we knew before the pandemic arrived and we’re beginning to discover changes in us that came from that day when life changed in 2020.

In 2021 Ed Yong won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the pandemic. Here are just a few lines of what he observed:

“Millions have endured a year of grief, anxiety, isolation, and rolling trauma. Some will recover uneventfully, but for others, the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy resumes may be unexpectedly punishing. When they finally get a chance to exhale, their breaths may emerge as sighs.”

Ed Yong

Each of us may well be in a different place in the summer of 2022, but our willingness to spend more money than ever in the midst of high inflation and soaring fuel costs testify to our desire for vacations like we had before 2020 despite the cost. Whether we have gone to a movie theater, a restaurant or a mall, our church service, a family trip, or something else, many of us still seem to bear the impact of the pandemic.

Photo by Sebastian Meier on Unsplash

What we may have missed is that we are designed to handle a crisis most of the time. Adrenaline kicks in and we do what we need to do to manage as best we can. Many of us know, have read, or spoken with a doctor or counselor who will tell us it is after the main part of the crisis is over that the biggest impact will hit us. If the crisis has been lengthy, we dig deep into our reserves to handle it and little by little the weariness seeps in despite our best efforts to have life feel “normal” or “good” again.

“One of the most remarkable things about human beings is how resilient we can be. Yet one of the most surprising things about human beings is how all that resilience can evaporate in a moment.”

John Eldredge

Many of us (perhaps most of us) have rallied now in 2022, but we are also using reserves each time we do that, and it is vital for us to replenish those resources within us before another crisis comes along.

The enemy of our souls knows this. He has always known how to play “the long game” and we often miss that. He wants to wear down the believers and scripture warns of that wearing down. He fears us if our reserves are plentiful and we are in touch with the power God has given us to overcome, but if he can wear us down he hopes he may trip us up. Research is starting to collect evidence of that wearing down. Many have dropped out of church and even work. Anxiety remains for many. Students learning in isolation virtually show deficits in their academics and increased anxiety, drug use, and suicide. And now we face the truth – the battle is for our hearts.

“The great alarm the Scriptures are sounding is that our longing for life to be good again will be the battleground for our heart. How you shepherd this precious longing, and if you shepherd it at all, will determine your fate in this life and the life to come.”

John Eldredge

A vacation (if possible) may seem to help refresh us, but often we discover the process of getting there and back wears us out. What we need can only be found by going into the deep places of our hearts and allowing God to replenish our resilience. The shepherd of our souls is inviting us to invite Him into those places within us seeking life to be “normal” again. Therein lays our hope.

Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

21 thoughts on “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

  1. What a lovely post! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday, 596. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. Pam, your post caught my eye at Recharge Wednesday because I actually live in Kansas! But I’m so glad I read past the headline because you offer so many good insights and observations. For me personally, 2019 was incredibly stressful and heartbreaking, and in some strange way, that made what came next in the world easier to bear. Still, I pray that God would “restore the years the locusts have eaten” for those who have struggled mightily (and are still struggling, in many cases).

    1. Ah, yes, the title and picture caught many and my hope was it would nudge them to read further. Our challenges began in late 2019 and continued through to now and were not COVID but impacted by the pandemic. Hospitalizations with visiting reduced or eliminated, having to wait on someone in surgery or brought by ambulance alone, not being able to see a family diagnosed with cancer and on chemo not many months after the lockdown started – just to name a few. So many things happened during 2020 and beyond that were not COVID specific and made worse by what was required then. Indeed, Lord, “restore the years the locusts have eaten away.”💝

  3. Yes! We are all feeling a bit as if we’ve been airlifted and dropped into a strange place. Remembering that God is everywhere present is such a mercy.

    1. Truly! Even more if we hold to the truth He dwells within us by his Spirit♥️

  4. I feel like we are all still holding our breath, afraid that the world will be locked down and isolation will begin again. We so long for things to return to normal again that we are willing to pay any amount or drive any distance. Sadly, this type f behavior will most likely make things worse!


    1. I think you’re right and the news keeps fueling that in us daily if we spend much time with it. For our family, during this same period of pandemic and lockdowns, we were dealing with multiple health crises for my husband and a new cancer diagnosis for our son among other things.💝

  5. Oh Yes! Only God can replenish our souls – from the weariness of so very much – the big stuff and little stuff, the changing stuff and the stuff that doesn’t seem to change. You are so right – we are designed for challenges – because that’s the only way God can take us from Glory to Glory – otherwise, we’d sit contentedly nestled in our nests, eschewing change of any kind! I am feeling wearied and am wanting a refreshing! I need to go to my source that gives the best refreshing! Thank you for the reminder

    1. Maryleigh, I think many (if not most of us) have web dealing with this and need more time soaking in his presence and gaining union of our hearts with Him who dwells there. Right now, it is less about memorizing Bible verses and gaining more knowledge and instead allowing Him to deeply connect with us and call to mind so much of what we have used of our reserves in the last few years.♥️

  6. “What we need can only be found by going into the deep places of our hearts and allowing God to replenish our resilience.” Pam, this is so true. I am so grateful He is able to deposit into each of us exactly what is needed. He knows our souls better than we do. Thank you as I so needed this reminder!

    1. Thanks, Joanne💕I think we have all been trying to replenish what we lost over the past few years and often we turn to things that might refresh us but not replenish us deeply. This will be a theme you see me revisit in the upcoming posts as I soak in John Eldredge’s new book, Resilient that has been resonating with me deeply.💝

  7. I love the resilience quote. I’ve often marveled at how resilient we can be while being so fragile simultaneously. You’ve given wonderful encouragement today.

  8. He is the only one that can replenish our longing souls. I see I have to be on guard of my desires from weariness, for change, for the “different” from the status quo may not be from God! Thank you for that reminder today!

    1. It’s so true for all of us. Hope you are having beautiful weather to enjoy with your camera and the Lord💕

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