I am a small town family medicine physician. Last winter I was seeing many patients with coughs, runny noses, and headaches, as is typical during the winter months in the state of Minnesota.
During one of these routine visits a patient asked me if these symptoms, that were making her feel miserable, were normal. I hesitated in answering her and then tried to clumsily explain that the symptoms she was experiencing from the virus were common, but that a virus attacking the cells of her body was not normal.
We laughed when I said, “I guess that’s why they call it the common cold.” I reassured her that her symptoms would run their course and would require no further treatment.
After that conversation it dawned on me that we, as a society, often confuse common and normal. I believe we fall in the trap that as things become commonplace then we conclude that those circumstances or behaviors must be normal.
Let me give you another example. I have often heard parents referring to their children’s teenage years as some sort of black hole influenced by hormonal fluctuations, mixed with social stresses that manifest as emotional drama, reckless behavior, and outright rebellion. Unfortunately, I’ve also heard these parents justify this as “normal teenage behavior.”
Because of the mindset that this is normal behavior parents often “ride the storm” and are resistant or too intimidated to address the real heart issues of selfishness and rebellion. While I sadly agree that this behavior is common, I refuse to agree that this behavior is normal. Teenagers are desperately looking for parents to place loving boundaries about them so that they feel safe, secure, protected, and cared for.
Families are not subject to the culture, instead families set the culture of society. This has been the case since the beginning of time and it will always be that way.
We can look deeper into all aspects of society. Sexual promiscuity is rampant in our culture. As sex is transmitted across almost all TV shows, commercials, and movies it is easy to surmise that sexual “freedom” is commonplace in our society and culture. It would be very easy then, to be swept away by the cultural tide and consider this normal human behavior.
The “everyone is doing it” philosophy of life is slowly strangulating our culture and our children. If we continue to endorse the “it is so common, so it must be normal” philosophy then it won’t be long before drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, and promiscuity becomes considered a normal part of every child’s upbringing.
We see all around us the things that are common, but what is normal?
There was only one period of time in world history when the earth operated in perfect normalcy. That period of time is found in Genesis chapter 1 & 2. During that period of time God created the heavens and the earth, set a human family on the earth to take dominion, fill the earth, and subdue it.
This original family and their children were to set and reproduce the culture of Eden over the face of the earth. God created all of this, and called it good. This was the first, perfect, and only culture that would demonstrate normal human behavior. It would be centered on relationship with each other, and more importantly, on the abiding presence of the Almighty Father.
When sin entered the world, this normalcy was lost. Our separation from our loving Father left us as orphans, and selfish pursuits became common culture.
Jesus came not only to save us from our sin but to restore his Father’s original culture. This culture once again is to be reproduced by families. Families are not to be influenced by culture, they are to set the culture. We need to be focused on the Father’s original plan for his creation. Anything contrary to His original plan and will is abnormal behavior!
There is no “new normal”… only His normal.
Also by Dr. Claussen >> What to do when the “D” word enters your Marriage
Dr. Jonathan Claussen is a Family Practitioner from Staples, Minnesota. He is married to his beloved wife Amy and is raising eight wonderful children. He is also the founder and president of the “Family Restoration Project.” It was created to bring restoration first of all, to our identity in the Father as sons and daughters, which then creates strong marriages, empowered parents and healthy families. Dynamic Christian families in turn, display the power and influence needed to bring restoration to the entire world!