(Not) Normal Is A Good Thing
You know the type. Loud, huge laugh, talks a lot. You’ve met her at work or in your small group at church or she’s a mom on your kid’s soccer team. She is just ‘too much.’ Too much of everything, really. Honestly, she is someone you can only take in small doses.
Yeah, that’s me.
I was born with this big personality. I am an extrovert by nature and not afraid to talk to anyone. I’m highly relational and often dramatic. I sometimes cry at commercials (Folgers really gets me, especially the son coming home from war…where’s my tissue?). I sing along with the radio really, really loudly in my car, sometimes even when other people are with me. I use words like ‘to die for’ and ‘phenomenal’ in every day language. I’m extreme in my praise and excitement for others.
On the other hand, I don’t take criticism well. When someone I love is hurting, it’s like I’m hurting, too. I can get angry fast (just ask my kids…poor things.) I’m stubborn. I’m a recovering perfectionist trying to be perfect at not being perfect. I’m crazy hard on myself and sometimes my expectations of others could use a little tweaking. I’m pretty sure a black girl with attitude lives inside me, too.
I am almost never neutral. I don’t do the middle. I am extreme. I am too much.
I’ve discovered that some people don’t handle ‘too much’ too well. In fact, I’ve heard more than once that I need to ‘calm down’ or ‘not take it so seriously’ or ‘just get over it.’ So I’ve spent a lot of time trying to contain myself. Trying to be even keeled. Trying to find the middle. Trying to be ‘normal.’
It’s HARD to be normal, people. Especially when you just aren’t.
Of course, this is all based on someone else’s definition of normal. Yeah, it’s that ugly people-pleasing thing again. Why can’t I just get over it? (See what I did there?)
For a long time I stayed away from church because of this too much-ness. I thought everyone in church was super-holy and that I would have to drop my personality at the door before I went in. It was hard enough containing all this personality on a normal day, never mind a Sunday! It was as if going to church was one level deeper in normal. Holy pressure. So I just didn’t go.
Then I found a different kind of church. A church that was all about being real, wearing jeans, rock music, etc. The pastor was passionate, the people were a mess and for the first time in my life, I felt like I could do this.
I dove in and started to get to know this Jesus dude and how His dad created me. I started to realize that nothing is an accident, including my personality. God knew me before I was born (Jeremiah 1:5) and since He doesn’t make mistakes I figured that I wasn’t too much for Him.
I am reminded of a great scene from the movie “Father of the Bride” circa 1991. Annie has just broken off her whole wedding because her dum-dum fiancé gave her a blender for a gift. Her dad, George (Steve Martin) takes the poor bum out for a drink and tries to explain all about Annie and her personality.
You know, Brian...Annie is a very passionate person and passionate
people tend to overreact at times. Annie comes from a long line of
major over-reactors. Me. I can definitely lose it. My mother...a nut.
My grandfather...stories about him are legendary. The good news,
however, is that this overreacting tends to get proportionately less by
generation, so your kids could be normal. But on the upside, with this passion comes great spirit and individuality which is probably one of the reasons you love Annie.
Then Brian says it’s what he loves most about her. They make up. Wedding is back on and they live happily ever after. At least until the sequel.
This is so precious to me because it really points out that although Annie is an over-reactor (it’s probably not a coincidence that we share the name Anne) she is also deeply passionate.
It’s two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other and although part of me wants to stuff my over-reactor side into a barrel and send it over Niagara Falls, part of me now understands that God made me this way for a reason. It’s no accident. This personality of mine, no matter how twisted, will be used for His purpose. That’s pretty cool. But if I won’t be who He made me to be, will He get as much done?
You know what? Maybe some of the advice I got earlier in life is right. I do need to ‘just get over it.’ I need to just get over myself. This is who I am. God say’s I’m not too much.
So this is me. I am too much. And I like it.
How about you?