On Mediocrity

Usually when I hear about mediocrity, my mind immediately thinks of the negative undertones of the word. Examples: physically, I don’t strive to “just get by.” Mentally, I want to stay on top of my game, reading books, processing life, etcetera. In my job, my employer is looking for an individual who will go above and beyond the average employee. Spiritually, Jesus talks about spitting lukewarm followers from his mouth. Not really a picture of what most of us are looking to become in life.

I made a realization in the car this morning. I have been going to battle with myself for many moons over the concept of being mediocre. But I find myself being just that. Not in my attitudes necessarily, but just me as a person. Rewinding into my youth, I was pretty much all right at everything. I was an okay pitcher. I was okay at tennis, volleyball, basketball. I was an okay student. I was an okay teenager. In life now, I’m doing fine at teaching (however, I’m far from distinguished teacher of the year material). I volunteer enough (but honestly, I don’t usually go above and beyond putting my time in). I am decent at playing a keyboard (but I’m really not brilliant. You probably won’t be seeing me on the cover of Rolling Stone with my super-talented hipster band anytime soon). I’m plugging away at being a wife, a mom, a friend, but nothing about me is over the top. Not a hottie, not a super smart nerd, not a drop-dead awesome chef. I’m just fine. Middle of the road. Ordinary. Run-of-the-mill. Vanilla.

Regardless of what you’re thinking about my motives here, I am not looking for a kajillion people to comment on my thoughts about how all this just isn’t true about me. No, that’s not my purpose for writing this.

I think I’m kind of making a turn in my thinking. At least, I’d really love to. In the car, I had this thought.

Maybe God wants me to be mediocre.

“What?!” you may be inquiring, “How can this be? Doesn’t God want the best for his children?” People, I’m coming to realize my bents. And I’m beginning to wonder something about myself: if God blessed me with being dazzlingly talented at something, would my need for him diminish? Hmph. I relish control. I love when things go smoothly. If I had a skill that was extraordinary, I can wager to bet that my reliance on God would not be as great. It’s already not that great. I can’t imagine how it would be if I actually felt powerful.

Maybe God gets the most glory from my being ordinary.

An ordinary mom. An ordinary cook. An ordinary teacher. An ordinary piano [wo]man. An ordinary volunteer. Just ordinary.

I’m feeling two sets of emotions. The first part of me wants to keep grasping at being awesome: if I just practice more, if I can just say the cleverest thing, if I can just help this person (even if I’m not qualified to)… All glory and honor to me.

But the last part of me breathes a sigh of contented relief. Is this what it means to rest in Christ? To give up trying to be the person that I think will get the most oohs and ahhs from God and men? All glory and honor, then, to Jesus!

Could I do it? Could I rest in the fact that my home is nice, but if I don’t keep up with the Jones’, needing a bigger place, a nicer neighborhood, a trendier style, it’s okay? Could I feel at ease that my body just looks like this? That I don’t need to have the skinniest legs in the west, or a perfect profile, or those rockin’ new boots. Could I take it easy knowing that there might be days when I didn’t volunteer and there are still openings in the schedule? In essence, could I cease my waterwheel, thanking God for gifting me with simple, ordinary talents?

If I could do it, if I could let that restful truth sink in, that God made me ordinary for his glory, I think I could actually remove myself from a set of lofty dreams of what I can do/be/have, and put Jesus back on his rightful pedestal of King. What a deal.

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