Monday, 21 November 2011

What is Normal Anyway?

"I can't wait for my life to be normal again."  I say that a lot.  Maybe you have too.  For me, that statement is often followed up by "What is normal anyway?"  I have heard others ask the same question.  I have finally come up with an answer to that question.

When we say we want our lives to be "normal" again, we have, whether consciously or unconsciously, created an ideal in our minds about what our life should be like that we're not experiencing at the time.  Oh, and it's usually selfish.  When I say I can't wait for life to be normal again, what I'm actually saying is "I can't wait until I can live for myself again."

I'm recognizing in that time that I'm not in control of my life, and I want to be.  I usually like my life to be predictable, consistent and I don't respond well to curve balls. I want to be able to run my plans, my way, be able to make and stick to my schedule without anybody intruding, and no outside inconveniences.  It means a "normal" day at work that doesn't include rude or demanding customers, damaged products in my shipments to report, annoying phone calls or the endless chore of dusting.  It means I get to have an uninterrupted lunch when I want, I get to leave on time, and go home to a fresh hot supper.

When I'm at home, it means I get to carry out my day as I planned, without any family interruptions, responsibilities or demands outside of what I have previously taken into account.  It means there's not a whole lot of extra activities or events I have to attend that fill up my free time.  That's a brief description.  Basically, "normal" is a life centred around me.  At the root, it's completely selfish.

Normal is nice, but it's not how we are called to live.  Although normal can get boring too.  But in times when I long for normal, I have to remind myself that my life and my time are not my own.  I'm not in control of my life; God is.  I need to give my days to him and be open to whatever else He has for me.  I need to recognize that there may be other needs I'm called to meet that are more important than my own needs or wants.  So do you. We aren't called to settle for the normal.

This leads me to something else I have been thinking about.  When people get to know me, something that many notice is that I think.  I think in a way and about issues that most teenagers don't.  Most people mistake me for being much older than I really am.  Some assure me it's not a bad thing, but it still annoys me.  I guess you could say I'm not "normal" when compared to today's youth culture.  But I think a better word would be "common."  What we see among the youth in our day is common, but I don't think it should ever be normal.  When I see what defines most of "normal" North American teens, I know I never want to be named among them.

As Christians, we aren't called to follow the norm.  We aren't called to live "normal lives" characterized by selfishness, shallow thinking or the accepted lifestyle that defines today's youth.  God has called each and every one of us to something greater, which we should desire to follow after.  He desires for each of us to have a vision that goes beyond the expectations of this world.  He desires for us to give our days and our plans to Him, because His plans for our lives are greater than our own and ultimately a lot more satisfying.

Normal can be nice, but there's more than enough to go around.  Are you willing to let go of it and live an abnormal life, to go above the expectations of this world, to give your plans even for today to God and see what might happen?  It's not always easy but I can guarantee you that it will surprise some people and will bring much more glory to God.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Margaret. I'm thinking if there is a way to get you to guest write some articles for my blog.