Friday, November 13, 2009

Grading On A Curve

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Would you trade your medical struggles for normal health if you also wouldn’t have the lessons you learned throughout it?

I know this is going to sound crazy to a lot of people. In all honesty, it sounds insane to me as I sit here physically feeling the way I do, but I can say without hesitation that I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned for good health.

And I really, really would like to be in good health. I’d love to walk outside, sing to my heart’s content, dance, go to a friend’s house, travel home for the holidays. I’d love to not have to think through every single movement I make and I’d love to be blissfully ignorant of the word debilitating.

But more than all of that… I love feeling at peace, believing, trusting, accepting and being open to life as it is. And when it comes down to it, I don’t want to trade fulfilling who God needs me to be for my own comfort. People used to tell me they prayed for my healing so I could be whole, but the only thing that would make me less than whole is if I chose what I needed over what He needed from me.

At the beginning of the book Crazy Love, Francis Chan talked about how we should be in awe of how God used such diversity and creativity in creation. He talked about how we compare ourselves to each other… thinking that if we’re not as sinful as the person next to us, then we’re on the right path. But the truth is that God created each of us uniquely for a unique purpose, which means God isn’t grading on a curve. There won’t be someone standing next to us to point at and compare ourselves to when we tell Him about our lives.

When I read that, about not being graded on a curve, I sat and thought about how we all continuously try to be like everyone else. To be normal… to fit in… to say the right thing and look the right way, to have the right job, the right house, the right clothes. We all say we’d never go back to junior high and relive those years of trying to fit in, but in truth I don’t think we ever move completely past it. And it’s the exact opposite of what God created us for. He made us diverse for a reason. He doesn’t grade us on a curve because it would be like comparing apples and jackhammers… two unique things created for different purposes.

Of course there are moments when I long for a more normal life. I’d love to have a husband and a family, a career and a social life. I want to be a part of things… a real, tangible, active part of the outside world. But the truth is, I have no idea who I would be right now had all that happened. I have no idea what my priorities would be, where I would have lived, who the friends would be surrounding me. God set me on this path and lined it with blessings. I can’t presume my dreams would have turned out better than His plans just because they seem easier in my mind.

There is a sentence under one of Chan’s videos on his website that talks about how all of us are striving for a normal life, but have we ever stopped to think that maybe the goal in life shouldn’t be normalcy? That one sentence made my circumstances make sense to me. If I judge my life against others… or even against the life I used to have… if I’m grading myself on a curve of normalcy, then of course I look short-changed. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to live the best life I can with what I am given.

Obviously my life is intensely abnormal compared to others, and these past few months have been the hardest of my life. But I still wouldn’t trade it for the normal one I always thought I would have, because this is the one He meant for me to live. It’s a relief to know we’re not graded on a curve, but instead loved for exactly who we are designed to be.

And I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

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