Friday, October 23, 2009

Living Extraordinarily within the Ordinary

Hands up if you are a perfectionist. See the person with two hands up? That's me, always trying to do better. If that's you too, and I'm guessing it is, then here's a thought: God doesn't ask us to be The Best, He wants us to do Our Best. Cool, huh? He wants us to develop our gifts, talents and skills and to look to Him as our source of strength, help and creativity. He wants us to excel and be the best we can be...but stop comparing ourselves to others. He wants us to look to Him for approval, not those around us.
So, okay, now our standard is not the fallible mortal beings around us but an infallible, immortal, all knowing, Almighty God whose ways are higher than ours. And how can we ever live up to His expectations?
We hear the missionaries who speak in our churches and think, "I have to go to Africa to please God." Or we hear of some great philanthropist who has built a hospital and think, "I have to donate my life savings to please God." Somehow, we feel that God expects amazing, extraordinary deeds. And maybe, for some of us, He does. Some of us will be called to Africa. And we should be willing to part with anything for His sake, not to love any possession more than Him.
But maybe...just maybe...the extraordinary deeds He calls us to do are in the here and now. Maybe He calls us to live extraordinarily within our ordinary lives. Walking the extra mile, turning the other cheek, giving someone your shirt as well when they just ask for your coat. Maybe it's in the simple, every day things like being patient with the co-worker who asks you the same question for the eighth time that morning. Letting another car have the right-of-way without blowing your horn. Listening to someone else's problems when you are exhausted and heart-weary. Forgiving the one who broke your trust.
If we ask the Lord to enable us to 'build ourselves up on our most holy faith' (Jude 20), He will certainly show us the areas in which we can learn to live extraordinarily within the ordinary. I've got a long way to go, but I intend to work towards the extraordinary. After all, I'm a perfectionist, I can't help it!

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