when normal becomes extraordinary

Last night I stayed up with most of America, much of the world, and all of Twitterdom to watch the Women’s Gymnastic Team take GOLD GOLD GOLD GOLD in the team all-around competition. Were you watching in amazement with the rest of us? Did you cry when the final scores hit the board?

Isn’t  it funny how year after year, we come to find ourselves on first name basis with the entire team?   I still remember routines by Mary Lou, Carly, Nastia, Shawn… and last night’s performances by Gabby, Jordan, Ally (and her parents), Kayla, and McKayla will go on the shelf of my Olympic memories with the others.  [What about THIS vault… seriously!?]

It was truly something to behold. The women… girls really… on the world’s stage.  A lifetime of training, sacrifice, and dreams come down to this moment.  Two minute routines on a spring floor. Fifteen second bursts of power from the vault.  A minute’s worth of gasps as they twirl around the uneven bars.  Three minutes of courage and poise atop that beam.

{to this day I can’t see a beam routine without thinking about THIS sermon illustration by Francis Chan, take a few minutes to watch it. I’ll wait.}

Last night as I questioned choices about hair [I'm a stickler for a proper pony tail or bun, folks], found myself wanting to meet the adorable little female coach, and marveled at one nearly flawless routine after another from the Fab Five… I was struck by one word they kept repeating to one another as each went up to do her part…


Just do it normal. You don’t have to do anything supernatural or extraordinary or miraculous… because you have trained so hard, spent so much time in the gym, practiced this routine so many times that your normal has become extraordinary.

“Normal”… the word was comforting to the ears of this sixth member of the team (I cried like I was going to take the stand when they won, after all). “You don’t have to pull a trick out of your hat, Gabby… just do what you know how to do…”  Crazy release moves that look impossible to connect… that’s your normal

And I wondered…

If that isn’t what or faith walks should be like.

Walks where extraordinary leaps… are our normal. Where trusting God instead of clinging to the beam {did you watch that Francis Chan video? If not, go back and watch, we’ll pause the programming for ya} is our natural. Where we don’t have to pull any rabbits out of our hats because we have spent so much time in the Word, are so prayed up, and have practiced His presence enough that the supernatural becomes our normal and our normal has become extraordinary.

Where stopping to pray with a friend, right then and there is just what we do. Where laying hands on the sick and healing is the norm. Where God says “go” and we go. Or “wait” and we wait. When He asks us to give until it hurts and we actually do it. And then we see Malachi’s word come to pass in ourlives as glory and power pour out into us.

Where extraordinary ministries like Paul’s are birthed. He laid hands on people and they were healed. He was imprisoned and the chains just fell off. People would run home with bits of cloth he had prayed for because there was power and healing in them.

Ministries marked by obedience.  Ministries marked by having met God face to face. Ministries marked by changed lives. Ministries marked by being completely and 100% sold out to the cause of Christ.

You and I can have that tooWe can have lives where the extraordinary becomes our normal.

When we are willing to obey.
When we are willing to sacrifice.
When we are willing to really turn from sin.
When we are willing to be sold out for Him.
When we are willing to be in our Word. Every day.
When we are willing to pray without ceasing.
When we are willing to trust that He is enough. Our Divine spotter. And that even if we try, and fail… He will use that to grow and refine us.

I want that kind of ministry. I want that kind of life. I want signs and wonders and miracles and supernatural and extraordinary to become my normal.

But I am not  going to become an Olympian by sitting on my couch and wanting. And I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I’ve been doing a lot of settling. And selfish living. And distraction.  It’s time to get this boat back on course.

It’s going to take work and sacrifice and obedience on my part. Like Gabby Douglas, it may mean leaving the comfort of everything I know to go deep into training for a year and a half (not seeing her mother a single time except for at meets…) 

Am I willing to give it all for Him?

Are you?

It may look differently than we expected, as little Jordan Weber discovered when cut from the Women’s All-Around Finals (which seems so, so, unfair…)

Am I willing to wipe the tears of disappointment from my cheeks and go to work for the team, the Body, the Bride… anyway?

Are you?

I want to live a life where “normal” looks a little like double lay out dismounts with a twist. Or aerials as high as my head. Or vaults that defy logic.  Where enormous leaps of faith are normal. Where miracles are normal. Where really TRUSTING Him is normal. Where normal has become extraordinary. 

Where normal is anything BUT normal.

[What about you? If you want to enter a season of training, of praying and seeking, with me... would you drop me a line? We'll figure out a way to set up a group... to hold one another accountable to deeper reliance on Him, bigger leaps, more extraordinary normals.] 

Father, help us to redefine our normal. Help us to have a faith that expects the extraordinary, and that trusts your will for our lives. Father… I confess that I have become distracted. I confess that I have not spent time with you, and Lord I long to change that. Would you help me? Would you send the conviction of your Holy Spirit to right my path? To turn my face toward you? Will you send along fellow athletes, Father, to work toward taking amazing leaps for you? I thank you for who you are, and for the way you can use one little word to refocus my life and my heart. I love you so much, Jesus… it’s in your name I pray… Amen.

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