Being normal isn’t quite as easy and painless as it once seemed to be. In fact, it’s more time consuming than ever. There aren’t enough hours in the day to buy, sell, drive, cook, clean, call, shop, eat, plan, study, write, review, schedule, and follow through on everything. Overwhelmed, overloaded, and exhausted, everybody talks about wanting more time, but only to “catch up” on what they are really doing—rushing, planning, worrying, and rushing some more. Families suffer. Health wanes. Priorities fade. Joy evaporates. Most people don’t know their life’s direction because their soul is dizzy from spinning around so much. Uninterrupted time to rest, relax, and enjoy life sounds like a line from a retirement home brochure. Normal is busy and getting busier.
When it comes to finances, it’s normal to go into debt so deep that you can’t see the way out. Money becomes a dark pit of worry, fear, anxiety, tension, and fighting. Most people I know are living paycheck to paycheck. Most make more money today than they ever have, but it’s never enough. Now more than ever, it’s expensive to be normal—so much cool stuff to buy and take care of, so many normal experiences you want your family to have. Only it’s hard to enjoy any of it when the financial noose tightens with each monthly payment.
Normal relationships require little and provide less. You and your spouse are so busy, so stressed, and so exhausted, there’s normally no time for each other. No wonder, then, that affairs are the norm. They provide the attraction, romance, and sex without the commitment, sacrifice, or intimacy required in a marriage. Similarly, you’d love to spend more time with the kids, but there’s just not enough time. They’re almost as busy and stressed as you are. It would be great to have deep, meaningful conversations and shared experiences that allow you to teach them what you know. Normal families, however, just don’t work that way.
And nothing is more normal than sex, right? Premarital sex, extramarital sex, friends-with-benefits type sex. Porn, experimentation, casual hookups—whatever feels good between consenting adults. It’s totally normal. Maybe our parents were uptight and repressed about sex, but we are more progressive, more liberated nowadays. In the 21st century, why in the world would anyone remain a virgin until marriage? After all, as one of my frat brothers used to say, “You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, would you?” Unfortunately, though, normal also carries a hefty price: guilt, shame, confusion, remorse, disease, addiction, unwanted children, and divorce.
Normal infects our faith as well, both what we believe and how we live it out. When we consider how people relate to God, it’s normal to either reject God altogether or believe in him while living as if he doesn’t exist. In churches, normal is lukewarm Christianity, self-centered spiritual consumerism, and shallow, me-driven faith. God has become a means to an end, a tool in our toolbox to accomplish what we want. The majority of people claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
And all this is normal.
But normal isn’t working.
Separating ourselves from what the world considers normal is not just a matter of obedience. God invites us to dance to a different tune, because he knows what’s truly going to satisfy and fulfill us.
Instead of living stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted, you can live a life of meaningful relationships, intentional scheduling, and deeper, fulfilling rest for your soul. Instead of choking with constant financial fear and tension, you can let God’s Word lead you along a path to financial peace, margin, and eternal investments. Instead of allowing your marriage to drift into parallel lives or divorced by default, you can experience true intimacy with your spouse. Rather than continuing on the normal sexual path toward pain, emptiness, and idolatry, you can allow God to heal you, change the way you think, and place deliberate safeguards in your life to protect you. God wants you to know him and love him – not just acknowledge him or consider him the cosmic sugar daddy.
If you let him, if you choose not to coast along the world’s wide-open road but rather to blaze a narrow trail with Jesus as your guide, then you’ll never settle for normal again. You’ll want only one thing. The God kind of weird.