nor·mal (nôrml) adj.
Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical.
As a general rule of thumb….”Normal” is living in a home, apartment, condo either with friends, family or even alone. “Normal” is holding a job (or looking for one) or staying home to raise a family. “Normal” is going to school…mostly every day….learning, doing homework, making friends and eventually graduating. “Normal” is going to the doctor every once in a while when you’re sick and having your yearly physical. “Normal” is going out with friends (sometimes on a moment’s notice)…going to concerts, going shopping, going to social events. “Normal” is planning for the future.
But I want to take a moment and think about these next questions:
What happens when “Normal” ceases to exist in the way in which you knew it?
What happens when your version of “Normal” is far from anything anyone around you understands?
Unfortunately, sometimes in life, “Normal” seems to lose its way.
When that happens….the “Normal” world that everyone else exists in continues on without you and you struggle to find your way through unchartered territory to find your “New Normal.”
Often your friends and family will try to meet you at your “New Normal” – and even some will linger with you there for a while – but ultimately, they return to their version of “Normal” and life goes on.
With every new crisis, the reality becomes clear – your version of “Normal” appears to be quite different. The more complicated things get, the harder it is for your friends and family to meet you at your “New Normals” – and, eventually….many of them can no longer find common ground or the will to endure the heartache or stress that you have learned to manage with grace and determination (and sometimes great fear and discouragement).
But if you ask me….when it all comes down to the nitty gritty….”Normal” is overrated.
NORMAL is an idea, a set of rules that everyone is supposed to follow – and, when you don’t follow – it makes people uncomfortable. Often times, without even realizing it, people inadvertently try to force people to fit back into their idea of ‘what things should be like’ instead of looking at it and accepting it for what it is. And, sometimes, people get so uncomfortable with you not fitting into their “Normal” view of how things are supposed to go – that they have to walk away.
But, what if…..WHAT IF we threw the word “NORMAL” away and started over???? What if….WHAT IF we stopped long enough to realize that the more we fall into “Normal” – the more we fall out of our own uniqueness. Each one of us has a life of uniqueness that we can offer this world. A life that has purpose, power, and poetry that can’t be set in motion under “Normal” circumstances. When we force ourselves to fit into the confines of “NORMAL” – we force all our potential out of our reach.
I want to challenge each and every one of you to see your life outside of the boundary of ANYTHING “Normal” and view your life as beautiful, unique, and full of opportunity….EVEN IN the chaos….EVEN IN the bad….EVEN IN the heartache.
These past few years, I’ve challenged myself to do this and it has changed my view in profound ways.
This view has pushed me to be more open about our journey so that we can show others that it’s okay to NOT be “NORMAL.” In sharing our journey, we have certainly become vulnerable and open to criticism, assumptions, and judgment. That was a tough thing to experience – but I’ve learned to be okay with it…and, in spite of it, we do our best to show the world that regardless of our reality, we don’t have to focus on our differences from the rest of our friends and family – we don’t have to compare or make it a contest as to ‘who has it worse’ – because we’re all in this together. We try to embrace the chaos and live it out loud…live with intention, share our hearts, share our story, find the good in all the bad. We want to lead with love, we want to give with grace, we want to herald our hope, we want to proclaim our peace within the chaos. Don’t misunderstand our story, don’t miss our message – there’s no room in our story for pity – while we may struggle and weep, we rest in the comfort knowing that our God is a Powerful and Mighty God and we trust in Him to carry us through every moment of every day that we are here on this earth.
To my friends who are feeling like they’ve been swallowed whole by “Normalcy” – you are not alone. I encourage you to stop looking at all the things you expect and start embracing all the things you have – there is blessing in the heartache, there is beauty in the chaos, there is joy even in the tears . It’s an active and challenging exercise that will grow you into places you’ve never dreamed your heart would ever go.
To my friends who live “Normal” lives – I challenge you to be extraordinary. You’re selling yourself short if you don’t, because there’s so much out there waiting for you to go find it, claim it, and shine because of it…but you’ll never experience it if you keep yourself enclosed within the confining parameters of “Normal.”
Love and Light,