When It's Time to Stop Yearning for "Normal"
"Nobody wakes up thinking, "my world will explode today. My whole world will change." Nobody thinks that. But sometimes it happens."
I sat across from a precocious four-year-old as he licked almond butter from his lips and ran his cucumber slices through a mountain of red pepper hummus. He looked me directly in the eye and abruptly asked, "Did you sleep good? What did you dream about?" Mouth agape, I searched for an answer. The truth is, I haven't dreamt anything memorable in a long time.
I swallow a dry lump in my throat, sip my chai tea, and quietly respond, "Well, I don't really remember any of my dreams buddy." His four-year-old face falls a bit, and he accepts my paltry answer with a nod as he jumps down from the table. I begin to wonder, why don't I dream anymore?
I used to dream about my "normal" life. School stuff. Grocery store stuff. Picnics with husband stuff. Activities with the youth group stuff.
But when "normal" walks out the door one day and leaves your jaw on the floor, what's left to dream? Nightmares, yes. Dreams? Not so much.
"Normal" signifies comfort. Ease. A sense of knowing what to expect each day. The anticipation of a typical, predictable, and acceptable sequence of events.
Oh how I often long for those normal days. Times void of true anxiety. Days without significant worry. A space before fear and unbalance infiltrated and became the new, ugly, unpredictable "normal".
The more I ponder my yearning for a predictable life, the more I realize this is not the way God intended for us to live.
Let's consider the multitude of men and women in the Bible who suffered an unpredictable loss of normalcy. The comforts of life disappeared in an instant...I can totally relate. In some cases their lives were snatched away without warning. In other instances, they made choices that changed the ultimate trajectories of their lives.
1. Joseph- Living a peaceful life in Canaan with a father who loved him, dreaming vivid dreams of God's future provision, and seemingly oblivious to his brother's hatred, Joseph was blindsided when they suddenly sell him into slavery (Genesis 37). His normal life is finished, and he must begin a life he never would have chosen for himself. A life including: bondage, pain, and uncertainty.
2. David- One average day David was just a shepherd boy, protecting his sheep. His father asked him to deliver lunch to his three brothers who were fighting the Philistines (1 Samuel 16). As we know, David ends up defeating the giant Goliath that day and his life changes forever. He never goes home to his normal life ever again. No more tending sheep. Never again to contemplate his future in the quiet fields, or enjoy a meal with his father in their home.
1 Samuel 18:2- And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house.
3. Mary- Happily preparing to wed Joseph and begin her married life, without warning Mary is visited by an angel of the Lord who informs her that she is pregnant with the Son of of most high God. Huh? What? Life can never be the same. In fact, it's going to be very, very different.
4. The disciples- Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John were just your average fisherman. Pulling up nets day after day. Rising early, working long hours, and mending their nets. Until one day, when Jesus walks by and they drop
everything to follow Him. (Matthew 4, Mark 1) They don't really know what they're in for. The miracles Jesus would perform in their sight. The crowds constantly surrounding them. They entered into a new normal far removed from their quiet fishing life. No more normal.
Everything can change in an instant. A car accident. A divorce. (Read here about the day my life blew up.) An illness. A death. An unexpected event. Our average, predictable lives blow up all around us and we have to decide which way to run. Towards our Jesus or away?
I've decided that our comfortable, predictable lives aren't easily accessible by our great God. We keep the doors and windows of our hearts closed when we settle in for a controlled life. A predictable structure that doesn't allow for God's leading. His timing. Dreaming His dreams. Living out His plans for our lives cannot happen in a vacuum of control.
Yearning to know our future circumstances does not allow us the mental capacity to yearn for the only true known in our lives: the person of God. His predictable nature and consistent person. His character. His love. His embrace is a shelter in our storm. A place of rest in the midst of an exploded life and heart.
Dream friends. Dream BIG. Dream God's best for you. His deft weaving together of our tough lives is no mistake.
There is nothing normal about God and His plans; and that's the best part!