We’re creatures of habit. We conform to what’s normal around us. God made us that way, and it’s a good thing.
It’s why you can turn on a light switch, walk across the room, read a book, and eat spaghetti without getting it all over your face (well, most of you). It’s how you build muscle, gain wisdom, and grow in character.
We adjust to that which is–or that which we make–our regular experience. What’s normal to us shapes us, trains us, molds us into its image.
But there’s a dark side to normal. Because normal doesn’t always equal good.
Sometimes what’s normal to us is unhealthy and unhelpful, even harmful. And the fact that it’s normal to us can make it difficult for us to recognize, and difficult to perceive the harm it’s doing.
I know a man who, as a boy, was groped by a family friend while on vacation. When he told his father, his dad didn’t do anything about it. So although he knew he didn’t like it, because the man acted like it was no big deal and his father didn’t seem to think it was either, it wasn’t until years later that a counselor helped him see that what he’d experienced was a form of sexual abuse.
A woman grew up with pornography laying about her house. With that as her “normal,” what impact did it have on her view of herself as a woman, of her body and her value, of men, of marriage, and of sex?
Another man expressed how his father rarely ever talked to him. With that as his norm, what did he come to believe about his own worth, about what it means to be a man, or about relating with men?
I’m convinced that when Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,” He was talking in part about uncovering the distinction between what we’ve known as normal and what He wants us to know.
He wants to give us a new version of normal.
Where are you currently stuck? Where are you repeatedly giving into temptation? Where are you letting others down?
Instead of berating yourself, ask Jesus if there’s a problem deeper down where all your “normals” reside. Invite Him to expose them and to replace them with what’s true.
And let us know if we can help.
Where do you recognize a difference between “normal” and “good” in your past or present? Leave a comment below.