Normal…this seems to be the word I am learning more about this week.
This word makes me think of my favorite book title, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them. It’s weird to me the different emotions and the different stigmas we attach to this one word.
We want to feel included and accepted. We don’t want to be an outcast to our peers. We might strive to be normal…to fit in.
Over a decade ago when I was struggling with an addiction to alcohol, I found myself praying pleading with God to please help me drink like a normal person.
I recently had a conversation with my son. He worries about being normal. He doesn’t want to be normal. I discovered that, to him, this means he fears being average. He has a strong desire to excel at something and to have a cool talent.
This is often a desire we carry into adulthood with us. I even remember telling my husband a few years ago that all my life I have felt like I am good at LOTS of things…I just don’t feel like I excel at any one thing. (On a side note, it really used to tick me off when I would come across an individual who seemed to excel at everything. They could sing, dance, act, juggle a dozen poodles over their head…;) You name it, they could do it.) The comparison trap is an ugly trap.
The other day when I could see my son struggling with feeling normal and average, I reassured him that he was so much more than this. He was special. As I spoke, he started crying.
His response reminded me that we have such a hard time believing this about ourselves.
My son then brought up an interesting point. He said to me, “But how many kids are told they are special?” I know what he was getting at. He wad implying that if all kids are told they are special…then they cease being special.
My response to him was the same response I would give to anyone who might be feeling average or normal:
I hope that everyone on this earth is told that they are special. Sadly, I know this isn’t the case. There are some kids (and adults) who never hear this. Or worse, they are told they are nothing. I told my son that he is special because when God created him, He created him to be one of a kind. There is no one in this world exactly like him.
We make the horrible mistake of allowing others to dictate our identity. We compare our talents and abilities to the people around us and we fall short. And every time we do this, I can almost feel God ache, just like I ached when I heard my son making this mistake. Child, you are so special. Don’t you understand this? You are special because I say you are special. Stop listening to what the world says and listen to me!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
Linking up with Shari today for Legacy Leaver Thursdays.