In a culture that oversells, overvalues, and overplays the thrill-a-minute adventure, “normal” is just, well, . . . normal. Bland. Ordinary. And who wants a boring, normal, ordinary life?
After being in Spain for a month-long adventure and sabbatical of a lifetime, where I hiked over mountains, traversed through valleys and saw amazing sights of Romanesque and Baroque architecture, I was due for a little “normal.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love adventure and excitement. But I don’t want to live there . . . every day. . . nonstop. We were not created to sustain a 100-mile pace and 120-heartbeats per minute. We were created to live in balance, rhythm, and with a healthy pace. In other words, we were created to live in the normal, accentuated with moments of adrenaline, not the other way around.
I like my normal bed, my normal house, my normal job, and my normal, old, 2000 Toyota Sienna. I like my daily routine of devotions and prayer and then getting to my normal office, grabbing a normal cup of coffee, and then easing into my normal work of study, meetings, planning, and “visioning.”
Ned Campbell, my friend and Servant Leader of our Men’s Ministry, told me that when you climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, you can only stay at the top of the 19,341 peak for fifteen or twenty minutes, due to the lack of oxygen. It’s exhilarating, I’m sure, to make it to the top, but you can’t live there. Why not? Because that’s not normal.
The mountain-top experience is meant to be just that, an experience. But your day-to-day life is not lived on the mountain-top, and I venture to say, it shouldn’t be lived in the valley either. Both are momentary stops, not everyday life. Normal, day-to-day life is lived on the trail, the in-between, where sometimes you’re going up, and sometimes you’re going down. Sometimes you need to stop and rest. And sometimes you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But that’s normal. And that’s okay.
The Psalms are full of reminders of how we are to live life and find joy in the day-to-day and not just in moments of grand adventure. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1-2). “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Why don’t you take a moment right now and give thanks to God that you don’t always have to pursue the next best thing, the greatest thrill, and the grandest adventure in order to satisfy your soul? Thank Him that He shows up with you in the normal moments of your normal life.
“God does not always speak in the thunder and lightning. God often speaks in the still and silence” (Eugene Cho, Overrated, 186).