For the last couple of years, my favourite word has been ‘intentional’.

i officially adopted it when we were still in Stellenbosch [so 2011 or before] as my ‘word of the year’ and then remember the next year happening and i didn’t have a new ‘word of the year’ [for the record, ‘intentional’ was my first ever ‘word of the year’ – it’s not like something i did regularly until then – just figured it was such a good word that it deserved that] so i gave ‘intentional’ another term in office.

Since then i never really found a word i liked better. Not that ‘intentional’ is necessary my favourite word but at the time it helped me think in a focused way – it brings in concepts like vision and passion, planning and strategy, and of course intention. Doing things with a reason and for a purpose. So it was just kinda allowed to linger at the top of the pile until another word or phrase could be found that was worthy of pulling the sword out of the stone. Or something literaturic like that.

And then it happened!

i wasn’t looking for a new word. It certainly wasn’t any significant time of ‘new phrase elections’ or anything like that. But i was at a meeting and a phrase i have heard a bunch of times over the last few years really just jumped out and latched itself into my brain.


i didn’t invent the phrase. But i really like it. i like the idea of it. And as with ‘intentional’ i really appreciate the depth and fullness of abundancy that i feel is wrapped up in those three words.

The idea that there was a normal. And then change occurred. But not just leaving it at that place and understanding of ‘oh, something changed’ which doesn’t seem all that significant. But transformation has happened, both in behaviour and mindset and now in the place of the old, there is a New Normal.

i think that idea is super powerful.

For example, South Africa. Apartheid. Mandela freed. 1994 elections. Change occurs [in some ways, forms, to differing extents depending who you listening to]. But that is not enough. We need for there to be a new normal in this country.  And we can see the need for it in the lack thereof in certain quarters, like News24 comments sections for example.  And it is a journey that has to be embraced [and the more of us the better] but i think both the idea and the language of ‘a new normal’ help us to really realise that things are needing to be and going to be different.

In the Bible there is a verse that talks about being ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind’ which i think is a great descriptor of what this phrase guides us towards. A significant change has taken place and what once was, is no longer, and in its place there is the new normal.

And it’s not just race stuff. Equality and opportunity for men and women. The book i have just written about the church is all about that.

It is both the recognition that the normal that we presently have is not good enough. And also that it’s not just a few tweaks or a little bit of fine tuning that is required. But things need to be shaken hard – some stuff, a lot of stuff, needs to be tossed out altogether. And we need to end up at a place that people who were part of the old system and way of thinking will be able to clearly identify as being different, new, better and on the way to becoming normal.

What do you think? Pure semantical jugglery? Or an exciting concept to get our heads around and an exciting premise to work towards? What is a ‘New Normal’ that you would like to see?