Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exceptionally Average

     I have a fear. No, not spider or snakes, although I'm not a fan of either of those. I have a deep and terrible fear of being average. I have never wanted to be just another face in the crowd. Mediocrity revolts me to my core.
     The only problem with my feeling that way is that I am so very average. I made good grades in school, not outstanding but not bad. I have a decent job, not one that leads to riches, nor am I in danger of debtors prison.  I live my life in the thin shadow of my dreams of grander things, and then wake up to the unyielding reality of average. I have always dreamed of being a great leader, or great businessman, or prominent Christian author or speaker. Yet, I live in the land of average, as most of us do.  I have always sought after a college degree and a different job. I'd love to move to a larger community with more opportunities, and have often found myself despondent and unhappy due to my inability to reach the goals that would, I perceived, fulfill me.
     Then, recently, my pastor preached a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4:7 (HCSB), which reads, "Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us." 
     This verse is profound, and I must say that it cut me to my very core. It also reminded me of an essay I heard once. It is a short essay by F.W. Boreham called, The Poppies and the Corn. In it Boreham had this to say:

"There is a very lovable thing about poppies in the corn that I can never sufficiently admire. The poppies never belittle the corn, they glorify it. You'd think not the less but the more of the corn because of the poppies. At a rose show, one particularly radiant blossom puts all the surrounding roses to shame. They are beggared by comparison. That is because a show is all artificiality and affectation. Nature never humiliates her more modest children in that ridiculous way. As you watch the blood red poppies tossing in a sea of golden corn, it never occurs to you to institute a comparison. The poppies and the corn seem equally lovely. That is the glory of true greatness. Others are never humiliated in its presence. It elevates the mass. If a field were all poppies, the glory would have departed. The poppies need the corn. God makes nothing commonplace. Here is a gospel for those to whom the days seem grey because they have given up dreaming of poppies."

     My pastor's message has reminded me that not everyone can be famous or extraordinary, or is it that we are all extraordinary. We are all men and women made in God's image. Also, it has reminded me that so often things that may seem drudgery or trifling to me, are just what God has for me to do right now. I think of Moses' forty years in Midian as a shepherd. 
      I do not know what God has in store for me. I, also, do not know where He may send me in the journey of following His will for my life. What I do know is that I am going to try harder to surrender my way to His, to remember that my days here are a gift, and to enjoy and make the most of what and where I am, for His glory.  
     You and I need to always remember that we are made by a loving God in His image, and that we are all exceptional. I have no idea if anyone else feels this way, but if you are struggling with the idea of being, not what you want, but what God wants you to be, and often find yourself disappointed in thing not turning out according to your plan,  I will leave you with this poem that has helped me have more perspective.

A commonplace life, we say and we sigh,
But why should we sigh as we say?
The commonplace sun and the commonplace sky
Makes up the commonplace day.
The moon and the stars are commonplace things,
And the flower that blooms and the bird that sings;
But dark were the world and sad our lot,
If the flowers failed and the sun shone not.
And God who studies each separate soul
Out of the commonplace lives makes His beautiful whole.”