What is it, do you suppose, about ‘normal’ life that is so perplexing? Somehow, most of us have a deep need or desire for understanding what ‘normal life’ is supposed to look like. I don’t know about you, but I have been known to wonder, at times, if I’m normal? Wonder if it’s okay for me to be the way I am?
There’s a couple of ways to look at normal life, I think. If I’m living my life in a normal way, it may mean that I’m conforming to some regular pattern or the way I most often do things. My normal pattern in the morning, for example, is to have coffee while I read scripture and write in my journal, before the rest of the household has a chance to stir. I like my ‘normal’ pattern. There are so many things about my normal life that are just ‘normal’ for me. I drive a predictable route to my office. It’s normal for me to do so. If I order a three-piece box of chicken at KFC, I always save the best piece of chicken for last. I don’t eat the chicken wing — that’s my favorite part of fried chicken — I don’t eat the chicken wing first. I save it for last, because, well, that’s the normal way I eat my fried chicken.
But what if? What if someone like you happens to be watching me eat my chicken, and you say to yourself, “Man, that guy is weird the way he eats his chicken.” How many people watch me every day in my normal life, and think I’m strange because of the ways I live? Do I stick out in the crowd. Are there times when people around me might look at how I live my life and think I’m a bit ‘quirky?’ ‘not normal?’ For most people, I think there’s a hidden fear of not being ‘normal,’ because of course, if I’m not ‘normal,’ … well, then, I must be abnormal. And who in the world would want to be abnormal.
Maybe that’s why things seem so strange and unsettling these days. I’m spending more and more time, and experiencing more and more things that just aren’t normal for me. How about you?
I’m not sure how many times in recent days I’ve heard a term being used. You may have heard it, too. You may have even said it, yourself. Someone you’ve been in casual conversation with. Someone standing on a line of tape on the floor that’s been measured to be six feet away from the line of tape on the floor that you’re standing on, waiting to be helped. In a muffled chat with someone whose face is partially covered with a mask one of you calls attention to an obvious ‘reality.’ The ‘new’ normal.
One of the incredible benefits of being a follower of Jesus is the reality that I don’t live my life by any other standard than His model and design for me. And the life I live, as Paul of old said, “I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The ‘way’ I need to live my life has been clearly marked out for me in God’s Word. And the life He has outlined for all of us was never meant to be lived in a ‘normal’ or ordinary way, but instead in an extraordinary way!
Ps. 119:5-7 —
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
We were meant to live our lives before one another in transparency and love. The reason standing in line six feet from someone else doesn’t feel ‘normal,’ is because God created us to be people who live in relationship with one another. It may be necessary for this season that we are all in to wear masks to combat the Covid-19 virus. In the past few months, we’ve all experienced something new for us. Standing on lines on the floor. Breathing and talking through masks we carry around in our pockets like our car keys.
Wearing a mask may be a new thing to me. But it will never be ‘normal’ for me.
I pray that I will continue to develop a ‘new’ normal for me: A fierce determination to reflect on God’s decrees, and to appreciate a firm and lasting truth, found in 2 Cor. Chapter 3:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”