Let’s face it. We aren’t living in a “Leave it to Beaver” world anymore. That’s why I relate to Claire from Modern Family a little better than June Cleaver. Do I have dinner on the table at 5 pm nightly? Of course not. I work and don’t even get home by five. Do I like texting my daughter at college rather than calling her to see how her day was? Heck no! Unfortunately, calling her would leave me hanging for days. Sensibly, I text her and she responds in nanoseconds. These days we are forced to ask ourselves, how can we connect without relying on the reality of what we were raised to believe was normal? I think Theresa Mazza does a great job with this post. We adapt and reconsider what we value daily–it may not be “normal” for us, but it just may be what we do to stand for what we think is right. Change is hard in the dance of life. Occasionally, we take a leap of faith.
Here is Theresa’s recent post–be sure to visit her blog at http://www.theresamazza.com
Cultural and societal norms seem to move as fast as the white waters of the Colorado River. The recent NBC series, The New Normal, highlights this reality. Every day it seems like there’s a new normal. What was normal 90 days ago is old school, out-dated, and irrelevant. Remember when paying for your flight included your luggage? That was then; now it’s normal to pay additional fees for each piece you check. Or remember when Christmas shopping meant fighting crowds and shopping till you literally dropped? But what normal person would put themselves through all that when you can shop for just about everything online and have it delivered right to your front steps?
The biggest question is, who decides what’s normal? The truth is, what’s normal for society doesn’t always become the norm in our personal lives. It’s normal for mothers to dress like their daughters these days, but maybe you can’t imagine adopting that as a personal norm. It’s more normal than ever to get a tattoo but, although I think tattoos are cool, I admit I’m all talk when it comes to getting one.
So what are we to do when we just can’t adopt the new norms that surround us? Do we picket and boycott, give in, do nothing, flounder in between, or do we resolve to continue loving people and allow Christ to shape our normal rather than society? “That’s normal” should never be the reason we accept something as a norm. Normal for the believer must come out of a relationship with our Creator.
In Genesis normal shifted as fast as it’s shifting now. It was normal for Adam to hang out in the Garden, walking and talking with God. It was normal for Adam and Eve to walk around naked. It was also normal for people and God to be so connected that God always knew where they were. But then, normal changed.
Adam and Eve decided to adopt norms that were not in the interest of each other or their relationship with God, but self-interested. They left God out. This decision changed normal for them. In this Genesis story we see fear of God becoming normal over connection with God, we see blame becoming normal over caring for one another, we see a God who was normally delighted in his creation experience disappointment, we see a God who was able to give, now having to take away. It wasn’t just the first sin; it was the first time humans adopted a new normal outside of the normal God had established for them.
Self interest and the desire to know more and experience more allows normal to define us. Interest in others before ourselves and a desire to know God allows us to define normal. When our relationship with God is the deciding factor of the normal in our life we can influence normal instead of normal influencing us.
When we embrace God’s idea of normal, we can be a part of positive shifts in the society and culture we live in.
A “me” society can become a “we” society.
A violent people can become a peaceful people.
An exclusive local church can become an inclusive local church.
Global awareness can become global impact.
Followers can become leaders.
I recently spoke to group of teenagers about normal and left them with these two things:
Desire God first, and influence normal instead of letting normal influence you.
Where do we start? In the beginning…where God desired to walk with us, talk with us, share everything with us, create with us, and love us. Pursue God. Choose and live by his idea of normal for you. Then embrace and glorify him in your normal everyday life.
Romans 12 from the Message Bible says…
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”