From Abnormal to New Normal

One of my all time favorite movies is Young Frankenstein. In my opinion it is the best of all Mel Brook’s movies. I love it because it is funny, dark, twisted and slightly inappropriate with just the right amount of slapstick humor you expect from Mel Brooks. The cast of characters is impressive, but my favorite is Igor, played by Marty Feldman.

In an innocent twist of fate, Igor misreads the labels on the brain samples he is collecting for Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment. This mistake begins a chain of events that were both unintentional and irreparable when he chooses the brain he calls, “Abby Normal”.

Sometimes our lives can feel like a cruel twist of fate. When something beyond our control or knowledge has significant and lasting impact on us, and we are powerless to change the outcome.

Much like the young Dr. Frankenstein, we are forced to make a decision about how we will respond. Will we despair and give up or do we rise to the challenge and embrace the “abnormal” as opportunity?

We all face difficult situations everyday. For some it is finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful, job loss, foreclosure of your dream home, death/loss or caring for an ailing parent.

Often times when our circumstances are so far from what we envisioned for our life, we feel we’ve been deposited in some foreign land and we are unable to speak or understand the language. In other words we are lost. Emotionally we lose our identity, our sense of what we thought we knew to be true.

As a therapist I sit with people in the midst of their greatest hurts and help them sort through their feelings, process the choices they are making and offer hope that they are not in fact as lost as they thought.

We often approach life with the mindset, that we control our own fate and destiny. Then when circumstances rock our world, we get mad; at ourselves, with our family/friends and at God. We attempt to inform God about the way it is supposed to go down and hope He gets His act together.

We take the stance that God owes us an answer, and it better be a good one that makes sense to us AND makes us feel better, thank you very much. In our finite thinking we try to demand God to answer to us. When we engage God this way we grieve His heart and we miss out on the transformational process He has for us when we are willing to yield, trust and obey.

If God has you in a difficult season of your life and everything seems “Abby Normal” try surrendering the ideal of what you thought things should look like and trade it in for the “New Normal”. This is where God meets us in the daily-ness of life. A life surrendered and open to the possibilities of what God can do versus a life spent trying to convince the Lord why our way is better.

Hear me out; I am not suggesting that the New Normal is easy, fun or a short cut. I am saying that when we pursue looking at our circumstance and where God has us in our lives through the lens of opportunity, rather than what is missing we are more likely to find peace and hope in the midst of our challenges.

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4 thoughts on “From Abnormal to New Normal

  1. Carriechwierut says:

    Excellent post! I know lots of people who are living in a “new normal” and it’s a struggle for sure.

    P.S. Love that movie, too. “History of the World” is another Mel B. favorite of mine. Glad to know I’m not the only one who finds the absurd hilarious!

  2. Katie Chaney says:

    Wow Karen, you hit the nail on the head with this one.  Abby-Normal is my middle-name!  Years ago, my “new normal” took a lot of getting used to.  “Back in the day” a lot of us tended to look forward to being a wife and a mom when we grew up.  After getting married very young and living the dream for 7 years, things turned south and we didn’t know how to fix it.  Still we hung on for another 7 (and really shouldn’t have) and then finally divorced – me with 1 kid in tow by that time. [insert note here: having kids DOES NOT FIX an at-risk marriage] New normal?  How does one even do this?  But through the years it became normal and wrote and we adjusted.  Back then, I didn’t know Jesus.  I didn’t know who to turn to, to cry out to, to question, to rant with, to pray to……there was no one.  No one that I knew.  I look back at that girl, I look at her anguish, at her confusion, at her hatred, and at her pain.  It’s all a process; growing, shaping, molding, forming [not to mention kicking, screaming, biting, destroying].  I doubt I would be who I am now without that experience.  Sometimes I think how complete I might be if “he” were still in my life.  Then I realize I cannot be more complete than I am with the love of Jesus.  I don’t wish that kind of devastation on anyone, but surely it happens daily.  I’m not saying it would be easy even with Jesus at hand, but with Him there would have been a comforter, a sounding board, a healer.  The Bible says that “He will quiet you with His love….” How amazing that would have been.  My only wish for those adjusting to their own kind of normal would be to take that journey, no matter what it is, hand in hand with the One true protector, the only One who can safely navigate the waters with you and that is Christ.  

    Love you, girl!  Katie <  

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Katie – thank you for sharing your wisdom and your heart. I love how you are able to articulate your growth process and how much Jesus factors into that. You constantly amaze me with your ability to love. I’m honored to call you friend. I’m thinking you need to be  a guest post here on the couch soon! 

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