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Oceans Away From Feeling Normal

Most days, I simply feel out of place. It’s not easy to explain, but struggling with anxiety and depression have a strange way of leaving me feeling “abnormal”. Of course, over many years of finding help through professional counseling I have learned that this is not the case. I’m not abnormal; I’m simply human and this is my struggle. Everyone is struggling and battling something. And yet…The feelings still haunt me ever so often.

Ever since I came to terms that I am battling a disorder, it’s been very difficult to separate my disorder from my identity. Of course, this has often left me feeling as if I’m lacking, devoid of normalcy, and broken. Oddly enough, the more I live, the more I realize that humanity is actually in desperate need of healing and redemption. All of us. I think we all know this deep inside our hearts, but we are not all willing to admit that we are broken and fragile, in need of help.

For most of my young adult life I longed to be popular, accepted, and celebrated, despite my efforts to stay true to myself. Whether it was high school sports, singing in a post-grunge band, or rocking the bleached hair (hey, it was the 90’s), I always wanted to make my place in the world. At the age of 22 when I was officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I was shattered with the idea that something was “wrong with me”. It sucked. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why would God allow me to struggle with feelings that were completely consuming?

It comes so easy, this feeling that we’re oceans away from feeling normal, lost on the other side of the world in a land of misfits. The truth is, we’re all misfits, we’re all uniquely designed. We don’t need to be “normal” to live a meaningful life. There is no normal.

A friend recently said that we all need to be a little crazy to live in such a mad world. Erwin McManus used to say (paraphrasing), “We are all in danger of becoming the worst version of ourselves. We also have potential to become the best. Our choices make us who we are.” I choose to believe that life is totally worth living and that Jesus is totally worth following with all my heart. I choose to make my world a place of grace. Call me crazy and I’ll take it as a compliment.

When I stare at the ocean I often think of how far I am from the other side. The same is with feeling normal; it’s simply beyond visibility from the shore. You know what? Maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s better to be far from normal, a misfit in a land of misfits in denial.

I’ll leave you with this to contemplate:

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG