What is it?
Are you? Am I? And who decides what the standard for normal is?
One dictionary definition describes normal as: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
And Wikipedia describes it as: a lack of significant deviation from the average.
Don Piper, in his book 90 Minutes in Heaven, states: “Some things happen to us from which we never recover, and they disrupt the normalcy of our lives. That’s how life is. Human nature has a tendency to try to reconstruct old ways and pick up where we left off. If we’re wise, we won’t continue to go back to the way things were (we can’t anyway). We must instead forget the old standard and accept a ‘new normal.’”
I’ve contemplated the word ‘normal’ and the way humans like to measure themselves by it, since the unforgettable day our son Jonathan arrived.
There isn’t much about parenting any child that allows for normalcy. With a special needs child all bets are off! Normal is always being redefined.
There are so many ways our family life is not typical, especially now that Jon is an adult and still here with us; our ‘normal’ detours along an uncommon path providing us with many challenges, learning experiences and unusual blessings.
Culture, society and humanity in general, constantly attempt to fit us into a mold they call normal. A certain set of actions and behaviors that dictate how we are to look, dress, think, act, even live, yet the parameters for these shift like wind currents. What was considered normal yesterday isn’t today and tomorrow it changes again.
My very wise husband defines ‘normal’ this way: one fool doing something and a whole bunch of other fools following until everyone thinks it’s OK.
This protocol for fitting in exists everywhere, in education, corporations, political parties, sports and religious organizations, the movie and music industry, agents, publishers and business. There is no escaping the pressure of the world’s attempt to fit us into its mold.
The human heart yearns and the spirit of man longs for normal, for a perfection that is unattainable in a sin cursed world, a world that was never meant to work properly without God at its core. So we define ‘normal’ as we see it, as it seems right to each of us, then we pretend we are (Proverbs 21:2).
The standard for “normal’ was set at Creation. It was perfection. Everything, including us, was perfect. One wrong choice, an act of free will against God set the planet and everything on it in a downward spiral taking us farther away from the original standard with each generation.
God hasn’t called me or you to be status quo, ordinary or average, according to the world’s standard. We are pressed to constantly adjust, adapt and stretch to life’s challenges with a mental, emotional and spiritual fortitude that defies our own reason and relies entirely on His.
As God’s special kids, we are called to be peculiar, non-conformed and transformed. Be in the world but not of it.
I suppose, in this regard, Jon has a head start on me.
One day God will reset the earth back to His original plan (Revelation 2:1-4). All will be right again and finally normal will be what it was always meant to be.
I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Romans 12:2 “And don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
*Don Piper with Cecil Murphey, “90 Minutes in Heaven,” (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fleming H. Revell , 2004), pg. 137