In the change-the-world-generation, we learned to be afraid of normal. At least I think I did.
Was it that the American norms of speaking out, spreading ideas… freedom of speech… set our expectations too high?
Was it that materialistic baby boomers in the church emphasized the message of pursuing higher callings to their children because they secretly felt guilty for how far their generation had swung into materialism? ( I got that idea from Frank Viola in Pagan Christianity.)
Closing out the decade of my 30s has me stirred up with everything that’s going right and wrong in my life. Has me thinking about life lessons learned in my 20s & 30s. And it has brought into view a few goals before my 30s are gone. (Yeah, I know I said I would devote my blog to catching up on some of the back stories, but I also need to press on to some new goals at the same time.)
See, I’m too busy tackling ever-evolving projects to understand the fear of failure but I am realizing I may suffer from a fear of normal.
Just like the world of computers can be reduced to 0s and 1s, and genes are turned off and on,if life can be reduced the light of knowing and believing the truth, or the darkness of ignorance fear, and believing lies, then this fear of normal was eventually going to show itself, right?
Is this the thing that breeds comparison and jealousy even among the best of friends? Is this the thing that breeds fear at our spouses’ everyday attributes? Is this the thing that has us ever-asking which activities we should and shouldn’t invest in for ourselves and or kids…. while years pass beneath our feet?
What if normal just means whole? Balanced?
What if normal means everything in its place?
What if normal is best?
This weekend my husband and I were able to share a rare treat. We are both musicians, so you would think we love seeing live music together. Not really. Rarely is it the same person that we want to see, and as a family, the logistics are bad for individual entertainment.
But we happen to both love the music of blues rocker Doyle Bramhall. And going together to see him live without our children was NOT normal. Go us!
Yet my heart was a little troubled as the weekend went on. [Insert the inner-dialogue of an person who is watching someone who is living the life I once thought I wanted.] Years of travelling the world with beautiful people has cost him his marriage and a life with his two daughters. My normal life in comparison was becoming a beautiful treasure.
Yet, I have trouble seeing it. I thought I was too old to be misjudging these kinds of things?
It’s time for me to look around and see the beauty in the normal things, to value my true treasures.
I can’t manage all of the desires big and small, some of which are probably just a piecemeal covering over my fear of being normal.
And, really, it’s not that revolutionary. It’s never a bad time for recalibrating and re-directing. And relaxing into Phillippians 4:8.
“[W]hatever is [already] true, whatever is [already] honorable, whatever is [already] just, whatever is [already] pure, whatever is [already] lovely, whatever is [already] commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything [already] worthy of praise, think about these things.
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”f23b6ab6ad” submit_text=”Connect with me here.”]
It’s alot more than that, but that’s the best nutshell I’ve got. I could go into it but I won’t….because I”m already going into it …at my other location. I am currently blogging daily, YES I SAID DAILY, on my music website. I am moving to one home base again.
When I started blogging regularly, I moved away from the music blog because my blogs weren’t about music.
You can go there now and scroll through the last two weeks! Sorry I’m so slow in announcing it. Alot has happened in the last 3 weeks!
Like always, every few years I get weird and antsy about how the music and non-music compartments of my life mesh and collide. I recently changed my blog from “Sheer Drapes on My Windows” to ..”Joni’s Blog” as I prepared to do something different. And here it has begun. I am re-vamping again and letting joninichols.net be my ‘blog’ site…. and joninicholsmusic.com will become my music place. Sounds fair enough. (And for my old fans, joninicholsband.com will still direct to the music site.) And… dare I mention that we will probably release a Zach and Joni album and …um…. probably link a zachandjoni.com. Kinda ridiculous. Kinda awesome. I can’t tell….the forest and the trees thing. But it is what it is.
Things are still not linked. Not all posts have transferred, and I am going to integrate a few other things that I have not had in one place here. So the structure is not all in place.
This site is so ‘busy’ looking….but I am telling you when I saw it, it felt like my brain! I thought….’Ah, I found a home…. this can adequately handle all the stuff I got going on….in my brain!” Something about it. I like it. For now. In a few years, who’s to say? 🙂
Oh, and that’s a random cherry tree by where I live.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Blog, she writes:
“As a woman who was raised in a society where it is implied that women should be agreeable and amenable, where speaking up for yourself can label you ‘difficult’, I personally have found it difficult to do that very thing. Why is it important to have personal boundaries and make sure they are not crossed? More importantly, how can we keep them while coming off strong and not strident?”
Ephesians 4:15 “SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE!”
Whether that truth is encouragement, help, information, self-assertion, correction, whatever…. say it with the intention of loving that person and doing what is best for them. Speak the truth in love.
I was in the sixth grade probably, and it was my second early morning pancake breakfast to hear of during a kind of revival week at the Methodist church where I was went until high school. Of course, I thought this early morning pancake type deal was BOOORRRINGG! I didn’t go the first year with my mom…. when she’d asked if I wanted to go eat at the CHURCH? at 6:30 AM BEFORE SCHOOL? Are you JOKING?
The second year, I went. Why not? Mom was going. She was going again…so whatever!
I thought it was LAME! I was sitting in that cold chair surrounded by ADULTS and no kids, much less friends. WHAT WERE WE DOING!? And all that just for PANCAKES?? Goofy, cheap, rubbery pancakes?
And then some big chubby guy gets up at the piano, and I’m thinking, this has just got to be WEIRD! He starts pounding happily on that piano …. at like 6:00 in the morning? Really?? These people must be desperate for entertainment.
I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
And he started with the simplest, cheesiest song…. Did adults really sing this? This is a kid camp song! “This is the day! This is the day! That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made! I will rejoice! I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
It was pleasant enough to hear an adult play it who could play the piano…and at least I knew the words….but really, was I going to sing along? This early? And it was a tad corny. And who cares about the day being made by God this early? This ain’t no sunrise Easter morning.
And then the simple words he sang over and over starting reaching me……. I thought, this guy, this grown man….he must really think this..BELIEVE this….I mean..he’s taking this seriously…this kid song….so I had no choice but to start thinking about them myself.
This is the day the Lord made.
I can be happy in it, about it.
It’s a good day.
Nothing wrong with this day.
I’m awake and dressed and doing something before school.
Somebody made me pancakes.
It’s still dark and cold outside, but it’s warm and bright in here.
Somebody put up all these tables and all these other adults are listening to this same song.
A man is singing me a song.
And it’s nice.
He’s happy and that makes me glad.
What unfolded from there has got to be one of the warmest memories of all my childhood at church. I have thought back about the feelings of this moment time and time again. I felt warmed and soothed, safe, like maybe the world is really a place where you can be truly joyful. Like knowing that God made the day really is something, really is enough to be happy. Like maybe celebrating God really is worth a special secret-feeling gathering of anyone who will come.
Really, the Word of God* was working its beautiful “magic” on me…it was winning me over…penetrating my soul. “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, able to penetrate both bone and marrow, even to the dividing of soul and spirit.”
Seeds were being planted in my heart that very precious morning. The fact that someone was praising God and it wasn’t Sunday morning really had an impact on me.
Someday I would love to hug and hug and hug that man and tell him how much it means to me that He was willing to be thought a fool for doing the best thing on earth.
Recently I began singing to my kids again at night. I go through phases. I get sick of the long nighttime routine and phase them into do-it-yourself mode…. then I miss them and want more quiet time with them and land myself back into a job.
The most recent song…. “This is the day…”
At first Josiah said, “That’s a daytime song, momma!” …. but I sang it anyway. A few nights later (of course) it was all he wanted.
Anytime is a good time for that.
“I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.”
“Do not let your heart be troubled…I have overcome the world, ” Jesus said.
“Take your thoughts captive,” the Word says.
“Keep yourself in the love of God.” Jude 1:21
“Whatever is pure, noble, of good report…think on these things..”
*Psalm 118:24. “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”