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A Different Kind of Normal

November 9, 2006

I received this email from a friend this morning and was very blessed by it.  I thought I’d share it here for anyone else that might need to hear it as well. 

Subject: Another kind of normal by John Fischer

“Every time you forget that character is one of God’s purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances.” — Rick Warren

Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that we deserve to have a relatively easy life. We have a very false sense of what should be the norm. If someone asks you how things are going and you answer: “Fine,” that is thought of as normal – the way it should be. If there is anything wrong, and you answer that question with a qualifier (“Fine, but …”), then it is assumed that your life is not normal. If something is wrong, then your life is for some reason not what it is supposed to be.

In actuality, the real thing wrong is this kind of thinking. Until we change our thinking in this regard, life will always be frustrating. We will be preoccupied with trying to fix everything instead of learning life’s lessons. We will always be expecting things to get better around the next bend in the road when “better” isn’t anywhere on the map. Until we learn this, we will just wrestle with life instead of working with it – taking what God sends as our course description, and readying ourselves for each new lesson. Difficulty, surprise, hardship, and trials of every kind are the norm for the follower of Christ.

Paul puts it this way: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

Now that’s normal. If you want to grow as a Christian, expect this kind of treatment. And the reason for this is two-fold. First, life by nature is difficult and hardship produces character in us as we meet life’s challenges with the Holy Spirit; and second, when we go through ordinary hardship and difficulty the reality of the presence of God in our lives can be more easily seen, because the hope and confidence of Christ in our lives is in direct contrast to our situation, making God easier to spot. Or as Paul goes on to say: “Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us.” (2 Corinthians 4:11 MSG)

If normal for you means everything is fine and dandy, then brace yourself, because it’s definitely going to get worse. Count on it. God loves you too much to allow you to get away with anything less. And if life is difficult for you right now, rejoice in your opportunity to grow. We need to all start expecting another kind of normal.

I couldn’t have said it this well if I had tried!  I have always been amazed that some Christians think that because they have Christ in their lives then things will be easier.  The Word doesn’t tell us this.  I’ve always felt hat having Christ in my heart would mean I can deal with the rough things better, but NOT that there would be less hard times.  I have friends that tell me I always have some crisis or another going on and while I sometimes feel that way…who doesn’t?…it almost never seems like MORE than ‘normal’ for me.  Even little things like trying to master a schedule for the house aren’t necessarily easy for me, but each day I learn a little more and manage a little better. (I hope!) 

I pray that God continues to bless my family and my life through whatever version of ‘normal’ He wants for us.  In the process, I hope to rejoice in my opportunity to grow!!


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