Posted by: Michael | May 21, 2012

What is Normal?

I have talked about this story and its impact on me for sometime.  Most recently I was speaking about it when I was presenting at the OCHEC homeschool conventions this year.   When I was putting together my presentation on “Homeschooling through adversity”, God brought this story back to the forefront of my mind.  Over the past week It has been there again, this time in relation to our own journey.  Therefore, I felt compelled to give it some more time and thought.

Several years back I had the great pleasure of serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the US Navy.    My specality during this time was that of a Psych Technician.  I had just graduated from my advanced school (Psych) and was fresh on the ward at the Naval Hospital Great Lakes.  I have to confess that I was a little full of myself and my training.  I was a new, hard charging, sailor ready to change the world.   As I was walking the ward a patient approached me and asked “What is normal?”  I, being the super Psych Tech that I thought I was, launched into a wonderful 10 minute speech on the world’s view of “normal”.  When I was finished she looked into my eyes, smiled, and said “Nope – It’s a setting on a washing machine”.  This one little statement struck me to the core.  It is something that I have pondered often and God has developed in me over the years.  At the time it forced me to think about things a little differently – including my arrogance.  Over the years God has further developed this into looking at where and why I am in my life.

So many times in our lives we struggle with the storms of life.  We find ourselves engulfed in what ever the strife is at the moment.  We so often proclaim “I wish things would just return to normal”.  Well, other than that setting on your washing machine, what is normal?  What is that state of exsistence that we are so eager to return to?  I am here to tell you that “normal” is where God has you right now!  I know that can sometimes be a hard concept to swallow.  Especially when things look pretty dark.  However, we need to remember that God is in control.  That His hand and purpose is in every aspect of our lives.  There is never a time that He is leaving us alone.  We have to lean on God!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and and do not  lean not on your own understanding”  Proverbs 3:5

He is in control.  Everything we face is used to strengthen us and prepare us for the future. That future may be yet another challenge or it may be the opportunity to walk with someone as they face their own challenges.  When you are on this journey with Christ it is always forward.  To crave a return to the past is moving in the opposite direction of Christ.  God wants us to keep moving forward, to continue to grow in Christ.  These challenges are used to strengthen us to face the challenges of the world and to develop perserverence.

“Consider it pure joy by brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because  you know that the testing of your faith developes perserverence.  And perserverence must be allowed to finish its work if you are to be mature and complete and lacking nothing.”  James 1: 2-4

Those of you who know me know that this is one of my favorite verses for a variety of reasons.  It is so true and speaks of our journey of faith.  When these storms are raging, do not look back, keep looking forward.  Stand firm in the knowledge that God is in control.  The God we serve is the creator of the universe.  He is bigger than the problems we face and always there with you.  Do not look back at the past, but at the glorious future that he has laid out before you.  So the questions remains:

What is the setting on your washing machine?

“I am not saying this because, I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through HIm who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4: 11-13)


  1. Whenever someone has asked me if I would like to live a normal life, my reply for the last five years has been “This is normal for me!” It was five years ago I figured out that, as you said, normal is where God has you right now. My life has been anything but the so-called cultural norm of normal during this time, but I sure have enjoyed this journey. The ups and downs, joys and sorrows, freedoms and burdens have all made my life become more amazing than I ever would have imagined.

    Excellent post!

    • Thank you so much for the comments. I could not agree more. Our life has been an amazing adventure. Sometimes that journey has been smooth and sometimes a challenge to wake up in the morning. However, through it all God has been there with us. I am sometimes asked if we ever think of going back to the way things were. I always say are you kidding! and miss this journey with the Father. Have a blessed weekend!

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