Friday, July 12, 2013

Longing for Normalcy

I felt the heat creep across my face as I sat in the waiting room, trying to busy myself in my book and avoid all eye contact.  Every time the nurse walked through the doors, I prayed that my name would emerge from her lips.

A scaly, itchy, ugly, poison ivy rash had taken over the left side of my face, causing my eyelid to swell, my eye to droop, my skin to puff out.  Raw, red, blistering bumps had sabotaged my usual creamy complexion.

At first, it wasn't a big deal.  I reminded myself that beauty is fleeting, and my hope is in Christ.  But all "truth" was forgotten, when I sat down in an empty chair the waiting room, and the woman next to me immediately stood up and moved several seats away.  My insecurity started mounting.

Part of me wanted to chase her down, rub my scaly cheek all over her perfect, blemish-free arm, and tell her that it was terribly, terribly contagious.  But most of me just wanted to hide.  Ashamed.  Embarrassed.

Did I stand out that much?  And did my face look that different, that "unclean," that I warranted the retreat of others?  My "abnormality"  was alienating, and more than anything, I just wanted to feel "normal" again.

My mind flashed back to several months prior, when my daughter and I sat in different waiting room. A small girl, 5 years old at most, approached us.  Eyes glazed and speech slurred, she was loud, disruptive, and desperately wanted a hug from my child.  And though I smiled politely and stayed put in my chair, I pulled my daughter closer to me to keep her from this girl that didn't quite fit in.

Only later did I realize that I was teaching my child to favor "normalcy --"  to avoid, retreat even, from that which is different, unpredictable, uncomfortable -- to crave "normal" people, with normal IQ's, normal functionality, similar beliefs, and cling to predictable people and safe relationships.  Was I inadvertently teaching my daughter that she too must BE normal, socially appropriate, and culturally relevant, at all costs?

Because Jesus Christ came for those who were abnormal.  Those who were outcasts.  Different. Sick.

I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; 
but the fat and the strong I will destroy..."
Ezekiel 34:16 (NASB)

In a culture where the "abnormal" and unclean had to remove themselves beyond the city limits and could intereact with no one, Jesus moves toward them, touches them, takes their place.  He didn't just love the abnormal, He BECAME the abnormal.

Parents, how might you be showing favoritism by celebrating normalcy and avoiding what is different?  How might you be encouraging your child, either intentionally or unintentionally, to pursue "normalcy" rather than godliness?  

Teach your children to praise God in their weaknesses.  Teach them to praise God for their weaknesses.  There is beauty, blessing, hope, and dependence when we rest in the Savior who came for the broken.  

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