You are not Normal and so am I

Reading non-fiction like John Ortberg’s “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them” is like getting a jolt back to reality. There’s one thing you usually get when you read a non-fiction book—application. I got loads of that when I read this.

John Ortberg is one of my favorite Christian inspirational authors. Some of the books he wrote are “If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat” and “Life You’ve Always Wanted”, both of which are part of my shelf staples. 🙂

In this book, Ortberg focuses on the importance of relationships and community in general. He provides ways by which we can build and strengthen our relationships with other people. He starts off with the premise that nobody’s normal. Everybody comes with a flaw or a certain kind of weirdness. Just when you think a person is normal, he will show his flaws once you get to know him. With our “abnormalities” comes the need to be accepted in a community. He said,

“To experience community is to know the joy of belonging, the delight at being known and loved, the opportunity for giving and growing, the safety of finding a true home.”

Whether it be with my family, my peers, or my colleagues I know that I have that desire to be accepted in a community. There’s something about connecting with another individual that makes me feel at home. Ortberg adds that we were created for community. However, we cannot build one overnight. It takes time and effort to be in a community. I love what he said in the chapter on Friendship,

“If you think you can fit deep into community into the cracks of an overloaded schedule—think again. Wise people do not try to microwave friendship, parenting, or marriage.”

Throughout the book, Ortberg uses biblical examples to illustrate the value of community and relationships. He retells some Bible stories in a modern way, making them relevant to our time. He spent a great deal on the building blocks of relationships such as authenticity, acceptance, empathy, conflict, forgiveness, confrontation (the gift nobody wants as he aptly puts it), and gratitude.

Very insightful and practical, this book gave me nuggets of wisdom to apply in dealing with other people and strengthening my relationships with them. You don’t have to be socially challenged to read this book. Anyone who interacts with people will find this useful in a society where flawed people are normal and acceptance is vital. 🙂