I’ve always considered myself to be an “average” gal. I’d even go so far as to say I’m relatively plain and ordinary. While I’m not ugly, I certainly am not a stunning beauty. I earned good grades in school, but I didn’t win any scholarships through my academics to send myself to college. I play two musical instruments and sing in choirs, but I know I won’t be getting any record deals in the near future. I came to see myself as just being… here. As an average person, I used to think that I was too mediocre and ordinary to make a huge difference in the world. Growing up, it was always the celebrities, the latest scientific discoveries, even the rich and famous who were seen as extraordinary or special. I never saw myself as special, and certainly not capable of getting a second look.
That same mentality carried over into adulthood, even after I’d married a tall and handsome man and had two adorable little boys that girls go gaga over. My husband and my sons are good-looking males, while I felt as if I was easily ignored for my lack-luster appearance. I was a plain Jane surrounded by gorgeous Gretas. I became the type of person who preferred to blend into the background and camouflaged into the scenery. I felt safe and comfortable there. It wasn’t until I had a chat with one of my former students about how she was feeling about herself. I’d spent a good hour with her talking about how she saw herself.
Jennifer* had come to see herself the same way I had seen myself all those years – plain, forgettable… you get it. In talking with her, I told her that I disagreed with her own self-estimation. Jennifer was not plain, but rather pretty in appearance, especially when she smiled. She was also a hard-working and intelligent student with aspirations to pursue the field of sports medicine or psychology in college and she had the academic records to do so. Above all, Jennifer was loved by her family, friends, and even strangers she extended kindness to on a daily basis. Jennifer was average, but in her own way she was extraordinary through that “average-ness.”
I watched this young lady as her shoulders slumped, and then I heard my voice tell her something I should have taken as sound advice for myself. “Average doesn’t mean you don’t have value,” I said. I continued to tell Jennifer that she may not have been destined for fame and fortune, but she possessed a greatness in what she did in each and every ordinary day in her own way. The same holds true for each of us. In fact, being average means you are able to do just as much for the people in your personal life, if not more, than someone who is famous and well-known. I began thinking of it in this way…
When I was a child, the people I heard about who I loved watching were famous folks on television. BUT, when it came to the ones I admired or who inspired me, those were the everyday people in my life. They were teachers, choir directors, volunteers at my school or church… in other words, “average” folks. Yes, they did everyday, simple things and were very ordinary people like you and I, but what they taught me, what they said, how they treated me, and how they treated others made a much more lasting impact on my life than any rock star, actress, or historical figure ever could. Why? Because they took time with me as part of their day, and included me as part of their life. They did a very simple and average thing, and made it extraordinary.
Kay Warren, wife to famous Christian Pastor, Rick Warren, said it best when she said that God loves to use average people all the time (see her devotional contribution at http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/god-loves-to-use-average-people). Trusting in our Creator, or Higher Power, that we are created on purpose and for a purpose means that even being average can be an amazing thing. We may not be on television or the radio as a celebrity, but we can make a lasting impression and be someone special to one person. When we begin to see ourselves as valuable and worth existing, even in our ordinariness, we then begin to realize that we already possess a greatness and power to do great things (albeit in our own circle as opposed to the bigger circle of the entire world).
Such situations of the average life becoming extraordinary are written throughout my book series, The Last Prophet (Books One through Four). Take an average, hard-working, and compassionate therapist such as the main character, Dr. Sophia Randall, and place her in situations where she can make an impact on the people she encounters in her life (people of all walks of life), and you have given her the opportunity to make her average life memorable among those she helps. Her career may be one of being a quiet helper in a clinic, but her encounters with her patients show how this seemingly unknown woman become the chosen last prophet in the fiction series.
Trust that even as an average person, you can do great things, one life and one person at a time. We may not see those moments happen, but we can still plant the seed for something beautiful to bloom by simply being. Being is enough. Who we are is enough – more than enough. So it really is true that ordinary is extraordinary to the one who believes they matter. Average is greatness for the one who acts with great love and intention out of goodness.
How will you shine greatness in the average life? What ways can you make the ordinary extraordinary? Comment in the space provided.
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* Names have been changed to protect identity