Sunday, January 12, 2014

Me (trying to be normal)

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It was most unexpected.  My old college friend, Lydia, wrote a hilarious Facebook post about a conversation with a coworker on the topic of the spider who lived on Lydia's kitchen windowsill.  Apparently this spider set up housekeeping there, and in the interest of encouraging the spider to stay so she and her family could observe its habits, Lydia began catching flies whenever she saw the opportunity, in order to feed them to her spider.  In the process of doing so one day at work, Lydia found herself explaining her flycatching behavior to the coworker, and discovered that observing the friend's response was almost as fascinating as observing the spider.

In a subsequent post there was more dialogue, and right there in the middle of it (when trying to change the subject), Lydia dared to say in writing what most of us think nobody realizes about us.

Me (trying to be normal): ...

THAT is where I truly burst out laughing.

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If you understood the incongruity of that statement, you would too.  There is no hope of Lydia ever being "normal".  She far exceeds normal.  She is a beautiful, creative, all-out servant of God and people.  There is no time in her life for normal.  And more importantly, there is NO ONE who knows Lydia who would want her to be "normal".  It would be a tragedy, really.

But isn't it what we are prone to think we want, to be normal, to fit in, to fly under the radar?  We might be happy to distinguish ourselves in some ways that might be considered successful, but we sure don't want to stand out because we are somehow different.  What untold energy is wasted by people trying to be normal, while at the same time trying to dare to be extraordinary?

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Here is what we all need to realize:  We are all broken.

Every one of us.

We like to think it's the people who have less than we have--materially, relationally, emotionally, socially, medically--who are broken.  And we who convince ourselves we have achieved (an appearance of) "normal" are responsible for helping fix the broken.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks to the churches.  He admonishes the believers at one church because they think they are so self-sufficient, not realizing that they are "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked".  Yet another church he encourages with the words, "I know your afflictions and your poverty (this just after reminding them of his own death and resurrection--he KNOWS from personal experience!)--yet you are rich!"

It sounds so comfortable, so safe to be normal.  It seems like the way to be an insider instead of an outsider.  But it's only an endless demand to keep up appearances and hide the truth.

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When you are broken enough to know you have no hope of ever being normal, then you finally have hope of being free.  Free to heal.  And free to be an agent of healing.

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This morning at church we heard music and personal stories from the Teen Challenge Choir.  It's an international faith based treatment program for people battling chemical addictions.  We host them every year, and it is incredibly moving to hear their stories of brokenness and the road to healing.  They all know what it is to let go of the fallacy of "normal", in exchange for the hope of freedom. Today, though, the best part was hearing them sing this song.  

It's so important to know our identity.  It's not the names on the name tags.  But it's not "Normal" either.  The truth lies somewhere else entirely.  I hope you know what your real name is.  

8 comments:

Amy Stead said...

Tracy, your perspective and the beautiful voice in your writing is so ....what's the word....Embracing, accepting, affirming, including. I would read the book if you wrote one......thanks for reminding me it's ok to be broken because I am made whole by Him.

Tracy P. said...

Oh thank you Amy, for your kind words, and for taking the time to read. I think there is a whole book in this blog, and your chances of making something cohesive out of it are about as good as mine. ;-)

Lydia said...

Tracy, I am humbled and moved. The freedom of knowing, yes KNOWING that I am never going to be normal, don't want to be normal, don't want anyone else to be normal because I find uniqueness delightful, is profound indeed. Thank you for capturing this truth!

Missy P said...

Tracy....many thanks for this post. Your writing is truly a gift! Reading this reaffirms for me that His love makes us complete. Although I am glad He included some friends to share our journey.

Life with Kaishon said...

I want you to write a book.
I did not like 1,000 gifts.
I like how you write.
Real and gritty : ).
You make me smile.

Unknown said...

what Kashion said...except I LOVE 1000 Gifts...God used that book to bring me to a place of thanksgiving during a hard time of my life.
thank you for being transparent!
Cathy B

Tracy P. said...

Thanks, friends! Whether a fan of 1000 Gifts or not, I think it's safe to say that the author is trying her best on a daily basis to get out from under the tyranny of "normal" to live free. An amazing number of people have found hope and help through her words to do the same.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love to think of myself as normal Tracy but I'm almost daily reminded that it just isn't so. I think of myself as strong, someone who will remain steadfast in times of trouble, but if I do it's only by the grace of God. Right now I'm having a bit of a health issue with sciatic pain. I think I'm strong, full of grace and even stoic. Ha! I'm mostly grumpy and impatient and if it weren't for God's grace I'd be screaming at those who least deserve it. I don't want to be normal any more. I just want to be lifted up by God, carried by Him and forgiven when I'm not that normal as defined by Him. :) blessings, marlene