I remember the day I decided I did not want to be normal. After years of trying to fit in, I was done. For me being normal had less to do with the clothes I was wearing or the activities I was participating in, and more with being fully functional. Raised in a culture where I was distinctly different than the American society around me, I spent the first many years of being an adult trying to prove to myself and those around me that I could be “normal”, too.
I do not remember what prompted it, but one day I said to my CR leader, “I don’t want to be normal! I want to be healthy. Normal people are really screwed up!!”
Unfortunately I often still find myself falling into the comparison trap. I look at some Christians and find myself thinking I could never be as spiritual as they are. I look at other Christians and breathe a sigh of relief that at least I am more spiritual than them, so maybe I am good enough.
I recently heard a testimony at CR and found myself thinking, “Maybe I am not broken enough for here either. Maybe I really do not have enough of a problem. Maybe my problem is all in my head. Maybe I deserve to be alone. Maybe if these people found out who I really was, they would not accept me either!” Then I thought about my past and the problems in it and shuddered. I had a problem! I have a problem!
Now the truth is most of us have not been on heroin, many of us have never murdered anyone, we have never been homeless, experienced severe domestic violence as a child or been a nonfunctional addict. So why would we fill a chair in a group of people seeking “recovery”? And why do people in recovery tend to think everyone else needs it?
I have been thinking about those questions this past week. For me the first is rooted in wondering if I deserve something as amazing as this. I wonder if I really deserve to be part of a group of people who have decided to let Jesus fix all their problems His way. Why do I get to be part of this story and how do I fit in with people who give everything? I do not deserve the honor of having people be so incredibly vulnerable with me.
I do not deserve to experience intimacy in brokenness, but Jesus Christ died so I can.
I realize one of the lies I am believing when I wonder if I simply take up space with those who follow Jesus is that there is barely just enough of Jesus and healing to be passed around. If I partake of it, someone who needs it worse will be left out; so I better come to Jesus and take just barely what I need, so there will be enough for everyone.
The cool thing about healing is it multiplies. Hurting people may hurt people; but free people free people.
It seems to me faith multiplies also. Believing people inspire other people to believe. Changing people inspire other people to change. Following people encourage other people to follow. I may be going off on a tangent, but what I am trying to say is there is plenty of Jesus to go around. He is never going to run out. When a voice tempts me and says that I have “recovered” enough and it is time for someone else to get a turn, I can tell that voice to go back to hell where it came from. There are no “turns” with Jesus, He can be enough for everyone on earth all at the same time. Healing is not for whom I judge most broken; healing is for anyone who is tired of being wounded. Healing is for anyone who is ready to follow Jesus.
So I am going to tell the devil to go back to hell. I am not ready or willing to become “normal” again. I do not want to be normal. I do not want to stand on the sidelines and watch others experience life with Him as they give everything to Him. I do not want to be afraid to join the fun. I want more of Jesus. I want Him to be the center of my life. I want Him to be the good news I share with everyone. I want to share Jesus with the world not remove Him from my life, so someone else can have their turn with Him.
Light bulbs may burn out, but candles light other candles which light other candles. Candles do not lose their light by lighting other candles. Light multiplies. Someday when my wick runs out, I hope I have lit dozens of candles who are lighting other candles who are lighting other candles until the world is aglow with His light.
I reckon that is why people in recovery think everyone else needs it. Sometimes we project our brokenness and problems on everyone else. Sometimes we spot denial in others instead of focusing on ourselves. But often we just want everyone on earth to experience Jesus in the way we have.
In the midst of my utter brokenness, He has changed me. What I could not fix in seven years of being a Christian who desperately tried to control her own healing and pain, He has done a really good job of changing in three years of following. When I quit focusing on how much I could get by with as His child and instead turned my eyes on Him, He became enough. Until then He looked like a horrible solution. When I compared the temporally prosperous to the spiritually prosperous, I could not understand how the latter could be such fools. But then I turned to Jesus, made Him the King of my life and became a “fool” in my old eyes. From experience I can tell you which one is the better route. Odd how sometimes I let the enemy get me to question why I deserve to be a “fool”.
Do you ever look at those around you with an incredible relationship with God and think you do not deserve to be like them? Do you believe Jesus is able and willing to heal your pain no matter how great or small you judge it?