Several years ago, when I was just beginning to ponder the idea of working from home via the internet, I was having lots of fun listening to coaching programs meant to encourage and inspire those who wanted to work online. It was a great time of gathering inspiration and building a circle of friends.
One encounter in particular has never escaped my memory, even though it was probably 5 years ago and seemed like an insignificant conversation at the time. Today I’m running that conversation through my mind again, wondering if God is trying to tell me something.
The conversation came about as part of a group discussion after an online class about building your dream business or ministry. People were sharing what they hoped to do and we were being encouraged to step out and be extraordinary.
Honestly, it was a little bit overwhelming. So many wonderful plans and ideas being shared. So many big steps were going to be taken. The world was waiting for our gifts.
In a moment of overwhelm I typed this question:
“Is is OK for some of us to just be ordinary?”
And I got this response from the other students in the group:
“No! You are extraordinary. God created you to do wonderful things. We all need to embrace our brilliance and do amazing things for God.”
Or something like that anyway.
I know it was meant to be an encouragement.
I know that because I was made by God and given an assignment by Him that I am extraordinary. And that I can do extraordinary things. But that day I wasn’t feeling very extraordinary. I was in a season of getting almost no sleep because of a very unhappy baby. “Extraordinary” for me was any day that I did laundry AND made dinner. (Most days consisted of many hours of holding said baby. And I don’t regret a single one.)
When I was told by the group that we are all supposed to be doing something amazing I felt completely defeated. I wanted them to let me “off the hook” by telling me that what I was doing– caring for my baby and my family–was embracing my brilliance!
What I’m wondering today is this: could it be that my “extraordinary thing” that I’m supposed to do for God is not something that looks extraordinary at all but in truth looks rather ordinary?
Are some of us –perhaps most of us–called to be ordinary?
Do you ever hear women talking about their ministries? Does it seem like everyone has a ministry except you? Do you wonder if keeping up with your demanding 2 year old counts as a ministry? How are you supposed to do something amazing and wonderful for the Kingdom when you can hardly get a shower?
We can get so down on ourselves when we look around and see other women with very public ministries and here we are just living day-by-day, not doing anything particularly special. No huge ministry, not even a small ladies’ Bible class depending on our wisdom. Just an ordinary mom, wife, and homemaker. (And maybe not a great one at that at this particular moment!)
But maybe that’s what most of us are called to; being ordinary, but doing it exceptionally well. Maybe a picture of a godly woman, living in her brilliance zone would look like:
- A mom who truly interacts with her kids
- A wife who manages the stresses of her day such that she is pleasant when her husband comes home
- A friend who takes the time to cultivate true friendship and accountability
- A child of God who rests in His peace, thrives in His joy, and laughs at the days to come
I wonder how many ministries would be unnecessary if we all were just ordinary women, doing ordinary things, exceptionally well.
I admit, I’ve been one to long for something big. Something I can quantify and measure, and know that because I do that thing, I am successful.
But I’m done with that.
I’m done with trying to be amazing, trying to figure out what my grand calling and purpose is.
I’m done overlooking the extraordinary that’s found in the ordinary.
I’m ready to be quite content being the best Me I can be. Ministry or no ministry, business or no business, title or no title.
Are you ready?
I’m not advocating that we all just sit around and do nothing. I’m asking you to consider the idea that perhaps you’re already doing something extraordinary. The world–even the Christian world–just hasn’t labelled it that. And that maybe by looking for that one thing that will make you worthy, that significant contribution you can make to society and God’s Kingdom, maybe you’ll overlook the thing He called you to do.