Doug Creamer: What is normal?
Have you ever found yourself going through something and wondering what “normal” is supposed to feel like? Well, “normal” is…but now it’s not normal anymore. Maybe your routine got turned upside down by something like a big snowstorm, or an unplanned trip to the hospital. When things are not normal or your normal has somehow changed, how do you find your way back to normal?
Let’s take Valentine’s Day, which is coming up soon. We normally do…and you can easily fill in that blank. Then something happens and you have to do something different. Maybe you find that exciting and it makes life fun. But maybe normal has somehow changed for you and you aren’t quite sure what to do about it.
My pastor has been talking to our congregation about expecting an uncommon year. and maybe he is implying an uncommon life. I have found myself pondering his messages in some deep and personal ways. I have had an uncommon and very un-normal beginning of this year. As I look down the road, I believe that my normal routines in life are about to change. I am thinking about retiring from teaching, so the things that I have done for over 34 years will change.
I am beginning to wonder what normal will look like next fall. The routines that I have lived my life by are going to change. I was thinking about a friend of mine whose home was damaged in Hurricane Florence; she is living an uncommon life and wishing she could find normal again. I know a few people who lost loved ones recently. They will never have normal the way it used to be.
I was thinking about Jesus who grew up as the carpenter’s son. For thirty years he lived a normal life, apprenticing under his father Joseph. He got up and worked hard with his hands to build and create whatever the customer needed. I have to imagine that Jesus was a good carpenter, that he made some beautiful things for people. Then one day he gets baptized and goes to a wedding. Everything changed. He never knew a normal day again. He lived uncommonly from that day until his last.
There are so many people in the Bible who lived normal everyday lives. Then they had an encounter with God and life as they knew it changed. Abraham and Sarah became parents when they should have been great grandparents. David, a shepherd boy, kills Goliath and later becomes king. Daniel does what is right and seeks God for wisdom. Because he prayed he was thrown into the lion’s den, but God did something uncommon and kept those hungry lions away.
The list of people who have lived uncommon or un-normal lives goes way beyond the Bible. So it is not beyond belief that God could help us live lives that go beyond normal to a level that most would say is uncommon. We know we can’t do it alone. No one in the Bible lived uncommon lives without faith in God. They depended and leaned on God. They couldn’t see tomorrow so they focused on God.
Normally, it takes me a little longer than a year to read through the Bible reading a chapter every day. My normal routine has changed. I am reading the same book of the Bible over and over again, studying different translations. I am amazed by all that I am discovering as I approach my scripture reading in an uncommon way.
I have moved myself to the front row at church for the worship and singing portion of the service. I am hungry for more of God and want to experience His presence in a new and uncommon way. I do slip back to my “normal” seat for the message. If I want a new and deeper adventure with God, I am going to have to do somethings differently. Since life gave me a nudge out of the normal routines, why not discover some other uncommon things about God, my loving Heavenly Father?
A little over a month into the New Year I have decided that I don’t want a normal year with God and I want to encourage you to desire an uncommon year with God. I am not sure where the year will go, but I have put my hand in God’s and I am ready (I think) for a new adventure with Him. God promises that if we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us. Closer to God has got to be a good thing. Who wants normal? I want God!
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org