Around Dave Ramsey’s office, “weird” is a compliment. For years, Dave has been preaching that being weird is a virtue and that “normal” in today’s culture is broke.
Well, Craig Groeschel agrees. As the pastor of Lifechurch.tv, a booming multi-site church headquartered in Oklahoma City, Craig knows a thing or two about being weird. You don’t become the pastor of one of the largest and most influential churches in America without doing things a little differently.
In his new book titled (you guessed it) Weird, Craig talks about how to move past the stress and exhaustion of our normal lives into something more…weird.
Most people would hate to be called weird, but you seem to like it. Explain.
Craig Groeschel: For my whole life, I pursued normal. One of my biggest goals was to “fit in.” When I started studying scripture, God led me away from normal to a life of “weird.”
One girl was making fun of me and told me I should meet another girl who was equally as weird (and “overboard for God”). That’s how I met my wife, Amy. We’ve committed to a life of weird.
In terms of the way we live—our money, our health, our relationships, our schedules—why do you say it’s a good thing for us to desire to be weird?
Craig Groeschel: Well, to put it simply, because “normal” isn’t working—at least certainly not in the culture we live in.
- Finances: normal is debt, worry, tension, fear. Normal is broke.
- Schedules: normal is overwhelmed, overworked, stressed, burned out.
- Relationships: insecurity, betrayal, fear—unfortunately, normal marriages struggle and often end in divorce.
- Careers: normal to feel stuck working for a paycheck in a job you don’t like.
- Normal to feel empty—longing for something more, something better.
According to Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14, most people are on the broad road with the crowd. They find comfort in the crowd. But those on the narrow road—the different—are the ones who truly find life.
One of the things you talk about as being normal is busyness. In our culture, we’re all extremely busy and can hardly stop to take a breath. Can you expand on what you say about how we equate busyness with importance?
Craig Groeschel: The most common response I hear to the question, “How are you doing?” is “Busy.”
Everyone is busy. But busy doesn’t equal importance. Busy doesn’t necessarily equal productivity. Most of the time, normal people faced with an invitation to do something ask themselves, “Can I do it?” A weird person might ask, “Should I do it?” Weird people know that you can do more by doing less.
When writing this book one Friday (on my day off), my daughter Joy asked me to play “Go Fish.” I brushed her off doing my more “important” work. Joy looked at me and said passionately, “Daddy, I’m only going to be six years old for a short time! Don’t miss it!”
I closed my laptop—refusing to be too busy for what was most important.
In the book, I share the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10. Both of these two sisters fully understand the significance of Jesus and of his presence in their lives. They both believe he is the Son of God, and they’re both thrilled to welcome him to their home. Martha is intent on making the best impression on Jesus she can, so she busies herself with preparations. Mary sat down and enjoyed Jesus. Like most of us, Martha was convinced what she was doing was right! According to Jesus, it’s Mary who chose the better thing.
We have to learn to say “no” to the “good” to say “yes” to the “best.”
How has our culture misunderstood what it really means to be “rich?”
Craig Groeschel: Define “rich.” If you give most normal people that opportunity, they’ll think really hard, and then they’ll come back to you with an amount. And you know what’s the same every single time? That amount is more than they presently have. If you make $50,000 a year, to you, $100,000 a year is rich. If you make $100,000, rich is someone who makes $500,000.
Having the privilege to visit other places in the world, places where people struggle in genuine poverty, has dramatically changed my perspective. You have to think about how they must view things that we take for granted. To them, we’re so rich because we own cars and have little houses for them—called “garages”—like they’re pets!
We’re so rich that we pay people to prepare food and serve it to us. If you’re picturing a household with a chef and a butler, not so fast—I’m of course talking about restaurants. We’re so rich that most of us have a little room in our houses that nobody stays in; we just keep clothes there. We call these rooms “closets.” All of these are things we consider normal just because everybody around us has them, but they’re actually unique in much of the world.
Don’t settle for material riches! God wants to make you rich in friendships! Rich in impact. Rich in your marriage. Rich in generosity.
Second Corinthians 9:11 says, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Read the rest of the interview with Groeschel.