The other day, I posted the below image on facebook as a personal reminder to focus on what matters.
Because Ordinary Is Extraordinary.
My friend Nicole commented, “Why don’t we believe it?”
woah. The words cut like a knife to my very soul. Why don’t I believe it? She’s right, I don’t, not 24-7. I write the words ordinary is extraordinary and #OrdinaryIsExtraordinary several times a day, and I know by my own actions, my own anxieties, my own failings that I don’t yet believe it.
If I believed it, everything would change — from my thoughts to my face to my hands to my time. If I believed ordinary is extraordinary, I wouldn’t worry about that email that never comes or shake my head over the bathroom scale or bite my nails or snap at my son or hold back from my husband or complain about the housework.
Ouch. Why don’t I believe it?
I want to know why, since Nicole brought it up. If I can find why I don’t believe, maybe I can change my unbelief to belief.
Here’s what I know so far.
- The media celebrates celebrity and denigrates ordinary. It’s everywhere – the news, advertisements, reality TV, magazines, you name it. We are saturated with the celebrity worldview, even Christian celebrity and political celebrity. Like junk food overdoes, it has sickened my mind and rotted my health to the extent that I don’t realize my dependence on it. It is well-nigh impossible to completely eliminate the voice of popular media in my life, so this celebrity viewpoint poisons my love for the ordinary.
- Social media filters the mundane out of ordinary, creating a pseudo-extraordinary that doesn’t match reality. That’s just a fancy way of saying real life doesn’t look like a pretty instagram, pinterest, or facebook feed. My real-life ordinary has more pimples, dingy floors, and furrowed brows than revealed on a smart-phone. My imperfections don’t look so cute in real life, more like actual mistakes and less like a stylistic choice. This disconnect between what my phone screams at me and what my kitchen counters accuse me of poisons my love for my ordinary.
- Bullies are mean. You know what I’m talking about, those ones we once called a best friend but now torment our minds and steal our confidence with their twisted words and manipulation. We are left to question everything about our lives, to double- and triple-think our relationships and outreach and worth, to wonder if our service and our heart and our love even matters. Heart abuse strikes at our innermost spirit and poisons our love for our own ordinary.
- Faith is hard work. And ordinary is all about faith. If I dare not just type but live every moment like the ordinary is extraordinary, then that action is itself the craziest, wildest faith in something I can’t see and may never see. It takes other-worldly courage to live for no bottom line, expense account, title, notoriety, or follower list, to set it all aside and make the ordinary an extraordinary sacrifice. Looking for the Extraordinary Now poisons my appreciation for the Present Ordinary.
- My enemy doesn’t want me to do what matters. I’m in a spiritual battle for what matters, and I fight that battle every day over the bathroom tile and laundry basket and math worksheets and remote control. My biggest problem isn’t my checking account or my quarreling children or my hectic schedule or my physical pain — my biggest problem is my inattention to the spiritual warfare being waged over my ordinary duties, duties that could, indeed, change the world if I did them for the Glory of God!
So, friend, why don’t I believe? I don’t believe because it is unbelievable. God wants to take my broken ordinary and use it for His extraordinary glory. That should be remarkable. That’s what is so extraordinary about it.