God reminded me this week: “Jonathan, you are ordinary.” I couldn’t decide if that reminder was discouraging or encouraging. I chose the latter. I couldn’t wait to get together with my Life Group guys and speak this promise into their life: “Guys, God wants you to know that you are ordinary.” Let’s just say that they were thrilled.
Please allow me to explain.
First, try this fun self awareness exercise? List your ordinary qualities. Here are a few of mine:
1- I just wear whatever shirt, pants, etc are on top of the stack. No real thought goes into my wardrobe. Jessica makes fun of my constant grey, v-neck outfit.
2- I run & scream when I see a spider.
3- I constantly wish I were napping.
But maybe more seriously:
1- I often worry about my kids and their future.
2- I go to bed many times feeling like I wasted an entire day.
3- I am really concerned that other people like me.
Many days my head will pop off the pillow and I have this great ambition to do something extraordinary. And when I go back to bed at night, I realize I simply neglected the ordinary – and still did nothing extraordinary. I often fear that I’ll wake up and discover I’m average. That nothing stands out about me. That I have no discerning qualities, no noteworthy characteristics, that nothing within me thirsts for more. That one day, I’ll discover I’m unremarkable.
If you’d be honest, you are just like that.
So many times it just doesn’t quite feel like you are living the “abundant life.” For you, it’s hard to overcome the mundane when fighting to finish school and pay the bills with your night job. For others, there just isn’t a lot of thrills for the mom changing 10 diapers (that’s 20 for my wife) before lunch. That adventure we were promised in our younger years might seem distant for the person who spends each morning in traffic only to return to the standstill once again at 5 p.m.
One principle I’ve learned as a pastor is that some tensions can’t be eliminated, only managed. This is one tension we can no longer ignore — living in a normal world full of tedious movement while knowing that we were also made for more. This tension is best managed when we wake up daily with a full awareness of how powerful God is and how deeply He loves us. Then, the ordinary becomes saturated with life. And we can celebrate this ordinary life because it is indeed incredible that God invites us to be a part of the story He is writing.
We can either focus on the grind, letting ourselves get lost in the jungle known as our lawn, drown in the sink of dirty dishes or be crushed below the weight of every other monotonous tasks. Or we choose to live above it. We choose to focus our eyes higher and “contemplate the Lord’s glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Because one day, something mind blowing may happen through you.
One day I may do something so extraordinary In my own eyes. Even in the eyes of the world. But my family will not be impressed if I go down in history as a great minister to large crowds on huge stage…but cannot be patient and loving with them in my own home.
I want to have the courage to do the ordinary things well. I want to remember that Jesus said if I am faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones (Luke 16:10). Embrace your ordinariness, for God will exalt the humble for His great name’s sake.