Everyone wants to be thought of as special or extraordinary. We want to be thought of as anything but ordinary.
Many of us try to be something we are not or spend money we do not have to keep up appearances. And it's actually pretty easy to present a false facade on social media with few well posed photos of smiley faces. We either want to feel special or we want to feel just like everyone else.
If this describes you, your children or your family, it may be time to reflect on how being ordinary can be good for your family.
But first you need to realize that ordinary may not mean what you think it means
Ordinary is not a “bad thing.” As an adjective it means:
1: of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events : routine, usual2: having or constituting immediate or original jurisdiction; also : belonging to such jurisdiction
3: of common quality, rank, or ability (source)
Here are 4 tips for making ordinary a good thing
1. Realize that God made you ordinary, and yet special too.
According to the above definition, you are not abnormal. You are a normal human. You are made in God's image. You belong to Him, are under his jurisdiction and are not any more or less important than anyone else He created. And that makes you special too.
You are unique. While it is true that some people are very good at something and they may earn a certain degree of acknowledgement for that skill, that doesn't mean you can't be the very best you there is. Instead of lamenting a skill you may not possess, try to find out what you are good at, and do your best at that. If you don't know ask a family member or friend what your strength or special skill is. I'll bet they won't have to think very long to tell you.
Having a different set of skills than someone else does not make you any more or less important. It makes you normal. There are no two human exactly alike in every single area. So, normal, means being different from others too. And everyone is normal, and yet special, all by God's design.
2. Strive to do your best no matter what your best may be.
Some children, and even adults feel pressured to get all A's in school or get the best review at work, or (you fill in the blank). It is very important that your child understands that you expect them to do their best, and that you also do your best. However, what happens when someone's best is not top notch? Did you study? Did you try? Did you do your best? If you did these things and still only achieved an average result, it is ok to acknowledge the effort, be proud of the effort, and determine to do your best again at the very next opportunity.
Remember that true proof that something has been learned is in the action of teaching that thing to someone else. And the ability to learn and teach something learned will take you farther than any grade or title ever could.
3. Determine to forget about what others think.
I know, it is nice to be thought well of, and I too struggle (big time) with fear of man. In fact, I'm reading a book now called When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency and the Fear of Man that is really good! But other peoples' opinions are not really what is the most important thing.
What is most important is knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do and acknowledging your God given abilities and uniqueness as an individual or as a family.
Do the things that you enjoy as a family, and/or that you know God wants you to do, even if they are a little different than what other families might do. It is amazing how liberating it can be to live to serve God only and not pay attention to what others say or think.
When you aren't as concerned about what others think, there is also another benefit: you don't have to try to “keep up with the Joneses.” You don't have to have the most recent cell phone on the market or the latest SUV. You know that not having to compete with other families will benefit your finances. You can save money for things that are important to you as a family rather than going into debt and being unhappy when the next newest item comes along.
When you aren't as concerned about what others think in ministry, you don't have to report the highest number of converts or the greatest amount of missions giving. You just report truth. You do what you do because God has called you to it and leave the results up to Him. You make your decisions based on God's principles and on what you value and do not be swayed by peer pressure or pressured to perform or conform.
4. Don't let your bad days affect how you live the rest of your life.
Everyone has days when things simply don't go the way they had planned. If you're having one of those days, it may be easy to let that affect the rest of the week, month or even the rest of your life. Acknowledge that there will be days like that. Tell it to Jesus. Have a good cry if you need to. And then get back to it, and look forward to a better day tomorrow. Praise the Lord, His mercies are new every morning.
Make a list of things you are thankful for, or things God has done for you. Look for anything good that happened that day and do your best to focus on that rather than the bad that may have happened. You will find that focusing on the positive, and cultivating a spirit of gratefulness will help you move forward rather than dwelling in the moment, or worse, in the past.
It is easy to be caught up in what others think or expect out of us. However, acknowledging our God ordained ordinary-ness can be good for you and your family. You don't have to live up to others' expectations. Your family can be themselves and be secure in the knowledge who God made them to be, both individually and as a whole.
What is on your heart today? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.