We were at a family reunion a few years ago and I had a conversation with one of my family members. The conversation probably started off with normal things like “how are you?”, “how old are you now?” and probably questions about my family but we ended up talking about my dad and some of the decisions he made, specifically choosing to be a missionary in Honduras.
I shared some experiences which in hindsight had positive outcomes in my opinion. The conversation was coming to an end when these words came out of my family member’s mouth, “I’m just glad you turned out normal”.
It sounds worse than I took it. But it did cause me to do some reflection on what that meant to them and means to me.
Here’s the outcome of that reflection.
I want to be normal, actually, I don’t
I don’t want to be normal. Well, I do. But I really don’t.
There’s a struggle in me to be complacent and just fit in. Don’t give too much, don’t sacrifice too much, don’t get too excited about Jesus, don’t risk too much, don’t spend too much time on that religious stuff.
But I want to be more than just a good citizen—a law-abiding, tax-paying, no cuss words kind of guy. I want to pour out every last drop of my life for Christ. My heart desires to please my King in everything I do with every moment of every day.
Is normal really normal?
What does normal look like? At least in my experience, it looks like going on Sunday listen to a message that is hopefully not too long and super inspirational.
It’s a Christianity that doesn’t require me to make decisions that seem foolish to my neighbors or my family. Normal Christianity looks very similar to everyone else’s life but with more conservative moral standards—at least in public.
Jesus’ normal or someone else’s?
Jesus calls us to anything but normal!
Don’t read the gospels if you want normal. Any person who had a genuine encounter with Jesus left radically changed, never normal — Zacchaeus, the women at the well, the women caught in adultery, the apostles (minus Judas), the demon-possessed man, and countless others.
All changed because they met Jesus.
He says pick up your cross, give it all away, love those who hate you, go to the back of the line even if you think you deserve to be first, serve instead of being served, it’s about an inner heart transformation rather than an outward appearance, and it’s about loving God with all your being and loving others the same way you love yourself.
None of that fits into normal.
We don’t belong to this world so we should expect to be normal.
And who wants to be normal when you can be like Jesus.