Extraordinarily Ordinary

For almost the past week, I’ve been down for the count with some bug that’s made me weak and tired. Thankfully, it’s moving on now, but for days I was just stuck in bed. And when you don’t watch TV and are too tired to read for long, there isn’t much to do. Except Pinterest (and I just lost all the guys reading this. Hang in there….it’ll come back around). While I looked at every pin ever pinned, I ran across this saying, and it really stuck out to me: Enjoy the little things…for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things…..read more to see why ordinary is okay.

For almost the past week, I’ve been down for the count with some bug that’s made me weak and tired. Thankfully, it’s moving on now, but for days I was just stuck in bed. And when you don’t watch TV and are too tired to read for long, there isn’t much to do. Except Pinterest (and I just lost all the guys reading this. Hang in there….it’ll come back around).

While I looked at every pin ever pinned, I ran across this saying, and it really stuck out to me:

enjoy

Ordinary (or the little things) means what is commonplace or standard; having no special or distinctive features.

Extraordinary (or the big things) means different from what is ordinary or normal; noteworthy or remarkable.

And I think we have started to set our measure for success based on if something was just ordinary or if it was EXTRAORDINARY. Did someone notice me? Let me post a selfie about this. Did I get 100 likes? And if there isn’t anything distinctive about our day or our week, we are kind of blah about it.

Even as a society, we’ve come to disdain the ordinary – that’s why so many people do so many crazy things to be noticed. Miley Cyrus, anybody? When someone asked her once why such extreme behavior, she answered by saying, “At least people notice me and are talking about me. I’m part of every  day conversation.”

People strive for this extraordinary every day experience that just isn’t real life, and they get discouraged and hopeless when their real day-to-day lives don’t exude extraordinary…..when in fact, they are extraordinarily ordinary.

It’s okay to be ordinary….(gasp! How’s that for a pep talk?)

If you look real close at the people in the Bible who have left an extraordinary legacy, there was a lot of ordinary in their lives. They may have had some extraordinary things happen, but for the most part, life was ordinary by any standard.

Take Joseph. He grew up in your average dysfunctional home. Granted, he got thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. Then he got lied about and thrown into prison. Then he got released from prison and made second in command of all Egypt. I’d call that pretty extraordinary. BUT have you ever considered that they covered over 20 years of his life in a few short chapters of the Bible? He had some highlights for sure, but for the most part, his day-to-day activities were pretty ordinary. Not noteworthy. Nothing to write home about, so they didn’t.

Look at the Apostle Paul. His conversion was pretty amazing and out-of-the-ordinary. He had some great things happen throughout his ministry and his missionary journeys. For goodness’ sake, he wrote almost 3/4 of the New Testament. Pretty extraordinary, right? But if you read his writings, he didn’t think he was all that and a bag of chips. He called himself the least of all the apostles. The least of all.

He didn’t just sit down one day and decide to write the Bible. It wasn’t because someone called from the Bible Society and asked him to write it either. He wrote letters. It was because he didn’t disdain the ordinary everyday task of letter writing that we have his revelations today. In fact, the majority of his life’s actions are not covered in the Bible. Why? Because it was made up of day-to-day everyday ordinary actions. He made tents. He rested. He studied. He just lived.

Look at Peter and John in Acts 3. They healed a lame man. Pretty extraordinary, right? But….I’m pretty sure they didn’t leave the house anticipating performing a healing. They were doing something they did every day. Something kind of ordinary to them. They were on their way to the temple to pray. Something extraordinary happened because they were living life in an extraordinarily ordinary way.

These men would probably not have characterized their lives as extraordinary – yet we look at them and think they were. Why? Because we only see the highlight reel – the noteworthy acts that made up a part of their lives. They saw the whole thing. They saw the days and weeks and months in between the extraordinary events. They saw their own struggles and failures and flesh. We see only the tiny part that was captured in the book of Acts and think, “This must be our every day lives!”

That will just set us up for failure and discouragement. Every day does not have to be extraordinary for you to have a successful life and leave an extraordinary legacy. 

I’m not saying not to dream big. Not to chase stars. Not to want to be a world-changer. I’m just saying not to be so focused on those stars or that dream that you miss the beggar waiting to be healed on your way to your ordinary job. A real world changer is the one who can speak to thousands but have the same joy in speaking to one woman at a well.

Enjoy the little things…..writing the letters, time with our kids, coffee with a friend, Bible study with the girls or the guys, being joyful and encouraging at work, any of those things that may seem so small and unimportant….enjoy those little things, because in the end we will see that they really are the things that made the biggest difference in someone’s life.

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