When I was growing up all I wanted to be was normal. With my dad in and out of jail and my mother paralyzed by Multiple Sclerosis and living in a nursing home my life was anything but normal. I always felt self-conscious around others, doing my best to put on a front of “normal” but knowing that I wasn’t really pulling it off.
As a middle-aged man I’ve come to an important realization about normal – there is no such thing. Everyone I have met in my extensive travels has been functionally dysfunctional! It hasn’t mattered whether they came from a stable home or complete chaos there has not been one person that I would call “normal.”Well adjusted, yes, but not normal.
In a sense this has been comforting and even liberating knowing that it’s not just me! Everyone else has issues, too! But in another sense it is quite sad. As fallen people we all are broken and most are doing their level best to put on their best face so nobody can tell.
So why don’t we all own up to the fact we’re broken and could use each other’s help? Fear is the reason. We are fearful people will think less of us if they saw the mess we really are. We are fearful we will be rejected by those we think are normal if they see we are not actually like them. We are fearful that if we admit our faults we will be less in our own eyes, which undercuts our sense of self-esteem. We are fearful that we cannot be loved if the “real” us is seen. We are fearful of being judged by others. We are fearful that we won’t fit in. We are fearful that we will be seen as weak. Honestly I could go on all day about the fears we have about letting people see the person we see and live with every day. The bottom line is we all do what we can to hide that from even those closest to us and do our best to be “normal.”
But here’s the problem with that strategy: We do it with God, too.
Of course, you’re not fooling Him; He knows you’re a wreck! And He wants to help by first loving you, second, helping you, and third healing you. But sometimes we don’t let Him because we’re too busy telling everyone, including God and ourselves, we’re okay.
I had a period of time in my life where I was very damaged and while I knew I was off kilter I actually believed that everyone else had the problem and not me. As you can imagine I was a real joy to be around in those days – arrogant, cocky, judgmental, manipulative, angry, and in complete denial. And during those days God sent people into my life to help me but I wouldn’t listen because I wasn’t the problem.
One day I figured out it was me; I was open enough to God’s leading that He showed me that I actually was the problem. Here’s how He did it; He said, “If you keep going through the same things over and over again and you’re the only common denominator it might be you!” Ouch.
Once I realized it was me I also saw how God had been trying to love me and help me by sending messengers into my life with words of healing, all of which I pretty much rejected due to fear. I knew I had to change my ways and it started by doing the scariest thing of all – submitting myself completely to God.
Submitting to God is terrifying because you lose control; you no longer can hide behind your masks and pretend to control your environment. No, instead you give complete control to God and let the chips fall where they may. It’s not easy but is the best decision you can ever make.
First God convinced me He loved me by caring for me, providing for me, and comforting me. I’d explain it but I really can’t. God just did amazing things both tangibly and intangibly for which there is no logical explanation. Then God began to help me. He again put people in my life to teach me, but this time I was open to the teaching and boy did I learn a lot! A BIG shout out to Karen Koch, Lisa West (now Lisa Mann!!), Paul Coughlin, and others who befriended me and stuck with me during the difficult “transition” period while I was learning.
Then came the healing.
The more I submitted to God the less fearful I became. God changed my outlook and showed me that I really had nothing to fear in the first place. All my concerns about being rejected, judged, made fun of, hated, and belittled are worldly things, which God tells me not to worry about because my home is Heaven. He also taught me that His Son, Jesus, experienced those same things and I had nothing to fear because Jesus had already conquered all of them.
Today I tell you that I am not normal. I have issues that I am still working on in my life. I fail often. My personality is a bit quirky – I’m intense, aggressive in speech, and blunt, yet funny, caring, and honest. Yet I am a son of the Most High and He sees me as perfect – just the way He made me. And I’m okay with that even if I don’t always fit in or sometimes rub people the wrong way (forgive me!)
The question I’ll leave you with is this: Are you functionally dysfunctional, too? If so, that’s okay! But if you want love, help, and healing take a chance and go to God and ask Him to take over your life and really mean it. You don’t need to live a pretend life out of fear when God can give you a life that is abundant!