Saturday, June 6, 2020

Going Through Abnormal Times as a Writer

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

In the United States, most of us have been under stay at home orders since the middle of March due to the corona virus pandemic. Now, most of our states are reopening to some degree. Some are throwing their doors open so that we can return to business, others are being more cautious worried about a second wave.

Everything feels like it has been overturned. From wanting to rush to the store to make sure our pantries are filled with that all-important toilet paper to being afraid to go to the store because we don’t know whether to mask or not mask, there is hardly any areas of our lives that hasn’t been drastically affected.

And every day, there is another reason to be anxious because so many changes are happening so fast touching so much of our lives.

Dare I say we’re scared?

Yeah, I saw many of your necks bow up. Admitting to being scared would mean we would have to admit we don’t have control of our circumstances. That is when we get very uneasy, very uncomfortable. Because if we don’t have control then what do we do?

Charles Swindoll, in his book Saying It Well, recalls a chapel service he and his wife were attending Dallas Seminary. Dr. Dwight Pentecost was telling about the time he and his wife were in seminary. This was toward the end of the Great Depression, just before World War II. When a couple went off to college the tremendous burden of creating some semblance of a home has historically fallen to the wife. This was difficult during regular times and even worse when things were scarce.

The Pentecosts were struggling. Dr. Pentecost said that during supper one night, his wife, Dorothy, told him that she was no longer going to be discouraged. “I’ve decided that as long as we live here, while we’re preparing for ministry, we’re going to live an ‘abnormal life’.”

An abnormal life.

Chuck Swindoll wrote that those words really stuck with him. When you’re going through any type of transition, moving from one normal to another, realizing and embracing that this is abnormal can help you focus on the now. This time of pandemic, of social distancing, of quarantining, is just a transition. It’s okay to give yourself some grace as we all stumble through this unknown. Maybe cut back some on all of your doings and goals, and give yourself permission to rest and concentrate more on your current needs.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals and dreams, but now may not be the time you can give it one hundred percent.

In addition, we need to realize that others are going through abnormal times, too. I remember hearing on TV when stay-at-home was just beginning that we don’t have any instruction books for how to get through this, and we don’t have any Joneses to look to. We are all struggling figuring out how to get through this the best we can, so go easy on yourself.

This is good advice whether you’re sheltering in a pandemic, seeking to be published, starting public speaking, or going through a personal transition.

This abnormal is just for a season. (Solomon wrote something about that in Ecclesiastes.) We will either get back to normal or enter a new normal (or a combination of both).

I like the phrase I used earlier, short of God. Our omnipotent, omniscient, holy God is not anxious or afraid as He leads us forward. Like a father, leading his child through a dark room where a spider has built a web in the corner, Abba understands our childish fears. As long as we let Him hold our hand, the abnormal won’t stop us from getting where He leads.

And He might even squish that scary spider.


Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers’ conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at


  1. Wonderful words, and so encouraging. Thank you so much.

  2. I really appreciated this, Tim. Thank you.

  3. A new normal; that's what I think we're going into. Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Thank you. It’s important to remember we’re all going though this together.
      Tim Suddeth

  4. Loved your last sentence. It made me smile and say, "Yes!"

    1. Thanks. I like sharing smiles.
      Tim Suddeth