I have a friend who will say whenever anyone does something which he finds disagreeable (or even unusual): "That is simply not normal." Whenever he says that to me, I consistently answer: "I have never aspired to be normal,” to which he always responds: "Then you are a smashing success!" I think he’s correct. In fact, I hope so.
According to the dictionary, the word “normal” means: “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern; average.” Does that sound enticing to you? Do you aspire to be “conforming... regular... (or) average”? “Conforming” sounds like the garden variety “go-along-to-get-along” individual, the one who never rocks the boat and whose fingerprints are rarely left on anything important in life. “Regular”? That sounds even worse. “Regular” is close to “invisible.” It is someone who blends in to the point that he/she is like everybody else in the room. They project nothing outstanding whatsoever – they’re just “regular.” And then there’s “average.” How many athletes strive to be average? Or how many scholars? Or how many performers? Or how many artists or authors? I don’t want to trust my physical well-being to a surgeon who simply wants to do average work. When we set our standards high, even if we do not quite reach them, we still exceed what we would have been or accomplished had we settled for being “regular” or “average.”
Jesus said to the disciples: “Be ye perfect, even as God in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Was it possible for them to achieve that dream? No. But you remember what sorts of guys those disciples were. Simon Peter had a short temper and even in the Garden of Gethsemane used his sword to cut off the ear of a Roman soldier. James and John were called “sons of thunder” because of their quick and explosive anger. Judas and Simon were Zealots, people who believed that Jesus really needed to wage guerilla warfare on occupying troops. Thomas was a doubter. Philip could never quite figure out what to do or how to do it. As a group they lacked sensitivity to children and sometimes to the hungry. That’s what the disciples were like. So, how effective would it have been had Jesus said to them, “Just do the best you can”? Instead, He set high standards and lofty goals that would stretch them beyond their “normal” capacities. As the old saying goes: “Aim for the stars. Then, even if you fall short, you’ll reach the moon!” “Be ye perfect, even as God in heaven is perfect.”
So, here’s some advice straight from the mouth of Jesus: Never strive to be “normal” (conformists, regular, average). Set your goals higher than that. Avoid mediocrity and aim for excellence. That way, even if you fall short of the stars, you’ll still reach the moon.