My mom is awesome. Around 8AM every day of the week, she sends me a quote. She’s been collecting them for as long as I can remember and ever since I stepped into the lead role at Immanuel Church, she’s been sending me a little encouragement each day from her notebook. It’s great. One in particular has been stuck in my mind for a while now and I thought I’d share it with you: “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” Joe Anis said that; an executive with GE who sounds an awful lot like a philosopher from centuries gone by.
Could a statement be more true? Why is it that the closer we seem to get to people the more flaws we find in them? I mean, who annoys you more than your family? And yet, when you look at everyone else, they seem to be all smiles, hugs and kisses. Everyone else’s office is normal. Everyone else’s neighbors are normal. Everyone else’s cousins are normal. Or so we think. With this misconception of everyone else in mind, we go about trying to fix the people we do life with. We try to adjust them so they can be normal too.
But what if there aren’t “normal” people? What if life isn’t about conforming to a standard; a usual, a typical, or the expected? Last time I checked, our society values being unique; being who we are and not apologizing for it. So why then are we so consumed with being normal? Normal is average. And who wants to be average?
I love these few sentences from the Bible: “You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this” (Psalm 139:13-14). “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
To think God made us on purpose with a purpose is nothing short of mind-blowing. David says that we’re “amazingly and miraculously made.” Those are gigantic words to describe you and me. Then Isaiah says that God made us like a potter forms clay into a bowl or vase. Think about that, a potter shapes that clay into precisely what he or she wants it to be, and then people pay good money to put them in their homes. Astounding, right? That’s you! You are the priceless piece uniquely made by the Potter. There’s nothing normal about that. No two are exactly the same.
So what if getting to know people well, blemishes and all, really is about seeing how they aren’t normal? And what if instead of trying to reshape them into a standard, you were appreciating the uniqueness of who they are? This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t all be striving to change into the likeness of Jesus; of course we are to do that. But I know an awful lot of Christians who are good, God-loving people, but don’t seem “normal” to some. Think of how different the 12 disciples were… Peter was loud and brash. John was quiet and reflective. Thomas was a skeptic. And yet they all followed Jesus.
We’re going to find differences with whoever we’re close to, I promise. But maybe, just maybe, we can come to appreciate that, instead of long for someone to be more like someone else. What would that do to our marriages? What would that do to our friendships? Our work relationships? The dynamics with our kids? I think it would do a lot. So Mr. Anis, you’re right about normal people being the ones you don’t know very well, but that’s what makes God all the more incredible and the adventure of getting to know people so great. Here’s to abnormal.