This is from my great friend David Herndon's blog, and I think it's a worthwhile read. I'm biased of course; I think everything David writes is worth reading.
I watched the Nooma video, “Name,” tonight with some friends. As he always seems to do, Rob Bell, uttered one of the most profound statements I have ever heard in the shortest phrase possible. He makes me jealous in that way. Every time I try to say something profound it takes several paragraphs and the profoundness never seems to carry the weight I aim for. He also looks pretty cool wearing those glasses. I could never pull off that look. Anyway, this is what he said on the topic of comparison:
The question is not what is normal for most people. The question is: what is normal for you?
The idea is that we spend a great deal of energy and time worrying about what is “normal” and we determine our “normalness” by comparing our lifestyle, thoughts, ideas, actions to other people’s lifestyles, thoughts, ideas, and actions. Another way to say it: I determine what is right for me by determining what is right for others.
Over-simplified example: If everyone around me wears a red shirt, then maybe I should wear a red shirt.
There are several definitions of “normal,” but my favorite one is this: serving to establish a standard.
Normal is establishing the standard. Normal is achieving the goal. Why do we so often compare to others when determining what normal is? Because we have not set a standard for ourselves. Why do we fear being abnormal? Because it means we fall short of the standard. You may not realize it, but the search for normal is what your life is based on. Every decision you make, every action you take is in an effort to meet the standard. All of this leads to one very important question:
What is the standard?
All too often our standard is whatever everyone else is doing, thinking, saying. But Romans 8:28-29 says this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, Christ Jesus.”
Normal is establishing the standard. The standard is the purpose. The purpose is to become like Christ.
Not to become like others, but to become like Christ.
What would your life look like if, instead of constantly trying to be like everyone else, you just tried to be like Christ?
What would your conversations sound like? What would your budget look like? How would your perspective change? How would your life change? What would our world look like if we all unanimoulsy strived to be like Christ?
Jesus is the most normal person who ever lived, yet to most of us his life looks like the most abnormal way of life we’ve ever seen.
Maybe we need a new definition of normal. Maybe we need a new standard of living.