That's how the conversation started. My parents exercised almost daily. Hers did not. To me, exercise seems normal. To her, the whole concept is new, but she's working to change that.
It got me thinking about how we are creating our kids' normal. Not normal-- as in status quo. Not normal-- as in outward-appearances-matter. Not normal-- as in trying to be like everybody else. I'm from Portland, Oregon and our city's unofficial motto is--
I'm talking about the kind of normal where it just seems natural, logical...second nature. Habits formed. Patterns woven. Instincts chiseled. Grooves worn into the foundation of every day life.
On one hand, it's those simple things that my husband and I discovered in our first few months of marriage:
I like corn on salad; he does not. He appreciates clean; I appreciate organized. I enjoy walking; he likes to run. He uses a level to hang pictures; I use the multiple-holes-and-it'll-eventually-be-straight-method.
But it's also the important, life-impacting norms that are often molded during childhood. Will it seem normal to:
--spend time in God's Word? --fellowship regularly with other Believers? --open our home in hospitality? --forgive quickly? --show love-in-action when someone is hurting? --reach out to neighbors? --quickly offer help when someone needs it? --share our resources generously? --strive for excellence? --trust God deeper through hurts and struggles? --pray when there is sickness or worry or fear or anger or...just pray-without-ceasing? --look for God's gifts in moment-by-moment life? --eat together as a family? --use money wisely? --value the inward heart over outward appearances? --communicate honestly and respectfully? --go to the Bible for wisdom? --share Christ's gospel hope? --give thanks when we see His blessings? --love our enemies? --trust Him as faithful always? --even just eat-healthfully-and-exercise-regularly?
And it's not that people can't change, they can. And better still-- God can change people. Because "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). There is so much hope in that verse (SO much). God is the redeemer of broken lives. He is the healer of hurting hearts. Our Father lovingly washes away our old and makes us new.
But patterns and habits are difficult to break-- To change what has become our normal. It was just a reminder that every single day Little eyes are watching... Little ears are listening... My patterns, my responses, my norms...slowly becoming theirs. Pressing into my heart the question--
Sharing with thanks over at: