Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feeling Ordinary?

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands (Psalm 138:8 NIV).

Most of my life I have struggled with feelings of being “ordinary.” When I was in school I was always a “C” average student, except for a few classes that were of high interest to me. I never seemed to be really good at anything. This has bothered me for years. It’s not that I haven’t tried to be good at anything. I have. But there was always someone better or faster than me. I was just average.

Unfortunately, these feelings have followed me into adulthood. I seem to compare myself to others and never felt I measured up to everyone else. One time I was at a women’s Christmas party and everyone was talking about their degrees, and all the exotic places they have visited. Once again I was reminded that I was ordinary. Since that party, God has taken me on a journey to teach me that being ordinary is ok.

God led me to Scriptures that talked about how He has a plan and purpose for my life. This plan was custom made just for me. He has promised that when I look for Him, I will find Him. So, I kept looking.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

I began praying about these feelings of inadequacy and then I started studying the lives of people from the Bible. I saw many examples of how God used unlikely “heros,” ordinary people, to do extraordinary things. Think of how He used Moses, who had basically no self-confidence when it came to speaking, to repeatedly confront a powerful king and to deliver an entire nation from slavery. Moses did not feel adequate for this job and he questioned what the Lord instructed him to do.

But Moses said to the LORD, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?" (Exodus 6:12 NIV).

David was an ordinary shepherd boy when God anointed him to be a future king. Jeremiah, who became God’s mouthpiece to Israel, stated that he was only a child (Jeremiah 1:6). Ester was an ordinary Jewish girl, who later became queen and God used her to save a human race. And we can’t forget to mention the disciples of Christ. Most of them were ordinary fishermen with little or no education.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it (Acts 4:13-16 NIV)

The Scriptures are full of ordinary people doing amazing things for God. They didn’t ask to be used by God in these certain ways, God chose the way He wanted to use them. I believe all Christians have a desire to be used by God in some significant way. There is no greater joy than realizing God has used me in a certain situation, or as an encouragement to someone else. God rarely uses picture-perfect people. He uses imperfect people.

Through this journey I’ve come to accept that God has a plan and a purpose especially for me. Although I don’t have my name in lights or have accomplished the things the world says is important, God still uses this ordinary woman to do extraordinary things.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NIV).

Lord, I thank you that you take the ordinary people in this world to do extraordinary things. I don't want to live a mediocre Christian life. I want the abundant life that Jesus talked about (John 10:10). I want to fulfill the purpose for which I was created. I love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

C. Beavin
May 1, 2008

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