A New Normal
Author: Ryan Burns
Well, I am having trouble knowing how to start this blog. We had an excellent message by Sean Murphy this Tuesday at the Life Course on taming the tongue. In his message he encouraged us to fast from sarcasm in order to better recognize opportunities for our words to bless. And so, as I said, I am at a loss for words.
Let me back up and give you a little history. I was born as a second child to a crazy little couple—one short spunky Italian mama, and one outgoing mustached Jewish father. The family got even crazier when you added in the combined total of 12 aunts and uncles and a plethora of cousins, equally full of…character. We were loud. We were happy. We were most definitely smart-alecks (though we probably would use more colorful words to describe ourselves).
In order to survive life as an Italian-Jewish height-challenged little boy I had to acquire certain skills. One being drumming. I was accomplished by the age of 3. The other being sarcasm. I was equally accomplished by kindergarten. In fact, I mouthed off so much as a 6-year old squirt that they felt it necessary to send me and my mouth home to my feisty Italian mother many times.
The biting repartee at overrun family reunions trained me well in the art of sarcasm. It was our love language, I guess. It became part of my everyday language.
So it was with some hesitation that I listened to Sean’s talk on Tuesday. After all, sarcasm is part of my culture, my heritage, my identity!
On the heels of this uncomfortable topic for me, I thought I would pose these questions to myself and anyone reading: how many things that God is trying to say about how I live my life do I allow my family or personal culture to filter out? Legalism and religious performance aside, are there areas that can stand to have a little scrutiny without the shaded lens of what is comfortable and “normal” to me? What greater partnership with God is limited by my unwillingness to see things differently? Because that is what is at stake here, not salvation, not the love of God for me, but the favor of God. Favor that is released as we make more agreements in our spirit with what God says is right. God is waiting with outstretched hand for us to join Him in building His kingdom…will I let little things like insincerity hold me back?
Now, I am not certain that all sarcasm will be gone for good, but I am willing to let the Lord show me the ways He wants to reshape my normal.