Last month I spent 9 days in the hospital with an infection. Every few hours my vitals were checked, and my temperature hovered close to but not quite normal. One day the nurse came in, thrust the thermometer into my mouth, waited for the eight second beep, and said, “There you go, point three degrees from normal.”
I’ve thought a lot about that the past weeks since my return home. Point three degrees from normal. That’s how my whole life feels. I’m never quite there. Normalcy is a thing of the past. I am not the same. I am a different person than I was six months ago. I have a new lifestyle, a new relationship with my family, a new perspective, new eating habits, new activities, new friendships even. I live in my new world waiting until life is normal again. I will have to wait a long time.
We live in a world of expectations. Our society tells us that we should have instant gratification. We should have it all. Life should be normal. But what is normal? Who defines what normal is? Does normal mean my life should be easy? It is easy to believe that I deserve more from life. It is easy to fall into the trap that life should be easy. Life should be about me. It is simple to deceive myself into believing this lie.
But life is not about me. I wasn’t created for this. I was created in beauty. For perfection. For relationship with a beautiful God. To live in a beautiful world. I was created for an eternal purpose. To glorify God in an eternal life walking daily in fellowship with him. Then Satan came to the Garden. Sin took what was normal and beautiful and made it abnormal and ugly. Normal life became unobtainable.
Then Christ came and brought perfection. He made the unobtainable obtainable. He made it possible to have a normal life again. But this life won’t be normal because I live in an abnormal world. It’s a fallen world. It’s a world full of loneliness, pain, disease and heartache. It’s a world where my friends and I suffer loss and struggle through grief. This is not the world for which we were created. These hard things in life–this world of divorces, lonely singles, messy marriages, childless couples, illness, tragedy, widows & widowers, miscarriages, emptiness–this isn’t our true world.
I have realized that in my life, there is no normal. I am called to serve God each day no matter what that day brings. Yes, I am broken, bruised, poor and used, there is no doubt. But it doesn’t end there. In my brokenness I have a God who will hold the pieces together. My bruised body He will care for tenderly. In my weakness He is made strong. My used up body He will use for His purposes to bring glory to Himself. Because He loves me.
It is on that day when I am called home that life will truly be normal. Life will be exactly what I was created for, glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. And that life will be perfectly normal.
In their song, I Need You To Love Me, BarlowGirl sings:
I just never saw how You could cherish me
‘Cause You’re a God who has all things
And still You want me
Your love makes me forget what I have been
Your love makes me see who I really am
I love that! God has everything. He needs nothing. Yet He still wants me. That is the beauty of what I was created for. That is normalcy. So I will live life here on this abnormal earth. I will take each day to serve God in whatever He has called me, and I will live contentedly point three degrees away from normal.