Are You EXTRAordinary? Here’s the Honest Truth
Growing up I wanted to be extraordinary – someone who stood out.
Until I was 16, I was the oldest and the only girl among four boys in my family, so in that small way I stood out. Then, my sister was born.
I wasn’t like the other kids in my neighborhood – that’s for sure! For example, I started my own library. I spent weeks putting the old-fashioned manila pockets in the back of each of my book with the book card neatly stuffed inside. That seemed normal to me! Incidentally, for those of you who are not old enough to know what these are, Amazon still sells them! Here’s proof:
My vision was simple: I wanted the children in the neighborhood to read more. Being an avid reader, I wanted others to discover the joy of reading too! And of course, returning the books on time was the perfect opportunity for them to learn responsibility, right? And a chance for me to make a few cents – early signs of my entrepreneurial side!
There were other early tip offs to my Type A personality, such as always wanting to be the teacher, being just a tad bossy, and having a serious competitive side.
Not only did I want to be in charge, but I wanted to be noticed! I wanted to be extraordinary, and all kinds of amazing! In truth it all added up to really wanting to…matter! Hello Fear Monster!
To adult life and that desire to matter continued to show up! My frazzled self was clear evidence that I was striving to matter – striving to be extraordinary. And I was one exhausted burned-out woman!
Over the years, I’ve wrestled with taming the desire to be extraordinary! After all, it was part of the reason I kept trying to juggle too much, and why I kept myself racing through life!
No matter how hard I tried, the attempt to escape ordinary didn’t bring me joy or fulfillment. It just made me tired.
Completely ditching my determined and driven ways would not be in keeping with my God given personality. However, my personality must be tempered by who God created me to be: loving. And when I truly allow God’s love for me to saturate my life, I know I am wildly special to Him and that there’s beauty in being ordinary.
Who God created you to be may not be the same. Perhaps God created you to be compassionate, courageous, or authentic. And if you are not sure who God created you to be, you might want to take a look at this.
As I’ve unraveled the myth of trying to be extra-ordinary, here’s what I’ve discovered:
1. The Cost
Trying to be extraordinary is extra-exhausting! It causes stress, and stress leads to all kinds of ailments, including insomnia, anxiety, health issues, and more. In fact, 60%-90% of all doctor visits are stress related! Isn’t that amazing? I don’t know about you, but the doctor is not my favorite place to go!
Plus, in order to be extraordinary, I must steal time from other important areas of my life in order to invest more effort into being extraordinary. That throws my life out of balance. And it makes me snippy which leads to friction in my relationships. And who really wants to be in a relationship with someone who is crabby and trying to be better than everyone else?
I think I would rather be ordinary!
2. The Motivation
My Type A personality makes me an obvious candidate for chasing extraordinary status. If you aren’t a Type A like me, you may still desire to be extraordinary. Perhaps your version of extraordinary is yearning for significance, being enough, or being competent. Or your pursuit of perfection, excellence, or success. Or could your people pleasing, comparing, or attempting to be the life of the party be your way of trying to be extraordinary?
Odds are good that behind that motivation is fear. And fear keeps you busy and striving and desiring that extraordinary label.
Remember fear is not from God – it’s from the enemy whose goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. Fear keeps you focusing on the wrong things all in hopes of being extraordinary, but leaving you depleted!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (ESV)
I want life: abundant life! Yes, I want that more than I want to be extraordinary!
3. The Cure
Rather than striving to be extraordinary, cling to the truth that God created you as an original. There is no one else like you. There never will be! That makes you special without even trying!
What makes you extraordinary is leaning into, and being intentional about being the man or woman that God created you to be. Notice I said “be.” When you believe that your value and worth come from reaching goals or success you will strive like crazy and push to get there.
When you believe that your value and worth come from whose you are, you can relax and be.
Whatever God has called you to do will be big and be something that you will be unable to accomplish without His help. It will require ordinary actions repeated day in and day out but in the end, those actions will add up to something amazing!
You see, when you are intentional with ordinary, mundane actions, it leads to extraordinary results.
Remember, His burden is light! He’s doesn’t want you to wear yourself out! I love how the Message puts it:
Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30
The idea of living “freely and lightly” sounds pretty extraordinary to me! The irony is that the more you are able to be yourself the more extraordinary you will be!
What about you? What’s behind your attempting to be extraordinary? What would it be like for you to bond with the idea of being ordinary and deriving your value and worth from Him?