Everywhere we go in our lives, whether its the mall or work or school or church or Instagram, we get the idea that we need to be better than we are, we need to be doing more than we are, we need to be achieving and succeeding and accomplishing 24/7. While we certainly do need to be productive and take care of ourselves and our families and realize certain goals, in our fast-paced Western environment, we’re often chasing after things just because we feel pressured to achieve for achievement’s sake, not because what we’re trying to do is necessary or a direct part of our walk with God and therefore our purpose on earth. Here are six reasons why it’s OK to be ordinary.
#1: The most important things in life are ordinary, too
Chances are, your family isn’t comprised of rock stars, Fortune 500 CEOs, or world-renowned astrophysicists, they’re ordinary people. A walk at the park with your dog or your boyfriend or your mom is pretty ordinary. Smiling at a stranger or drinking a cup of tea as the sun goes down are such ordinary things, they could be done every day by just about anyone! But the people around you and the simple joys are what make life on earth so wonderful. There the things that God has given us that are the richest blessings. And ultimately, they’re what matters. Don’t wear yourself out searching for a success that isn’t satisfying, when God is already giving you a million tiny blessings every day, just because He loves you.
#2: Social media doesn’t tell the whole story
Don’t fall into the trap of competing with your friends’ and role models’ online profiles. Although many people are very genuine and open about themselves online, social media is a curated collection of images and thoughts that people share, and generally they’re calculated to show the poster’s good side. Every time I check social media (which is less and less often, friends!), I’m inundated with images of my friends having amazing, sun-soaked photogenic summers, the amazing summer internships they had, their awesome destination wedding, incredible photography, and so on and so forth. I’m always happy to see my friends doing well, but sometimes, I catch myself mentally trying to compete, which is crazy. I know a lot of amazingly talented people, and I can’t be as great at each one of their specialities as they are! Besides, we all know that social media is only a 2D image. Remember that your friends and the people you follow on Insta often only post their successes, not their failures and the work in between. Be happy for someone when you see them doing something you wish you could do, and consider whether it’s something you have the time and energy for, don’t be jealous or beat yourself up for not being a pro at everything someone on the Internet has mastered.
#3: Your worth isn’t derived from your accomplishments
Chances are, you don’t love your family or your SO based on whether or not they have a 4.0 GPA, a great job, six-pack abs, and a great volunteer resume. (If you do, seek help!) So why love yourself based on those conditions? Much more importantly, you know that God loves you unconditionally, based on who He is and who you are, not on what you’ve done. As we read in Romans 5:8, God sacrificed his son for us “while we were yet sinners.” He certainly doesn’t care if you land that amazing job or get an A in that class or do impressive things on the weekend. It’s all about your heart for Him and others, not your schedule and your resume or your Instagram photos.
#4: You can’t be best at everything
As I touched on in the section on social media, there are a lot of amazingly gifted people in the world. You yourself have amazing gifts, and a purpose that only you can fill. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be superhumanly adept at everything. I really struggled with this idea in high school. I got jealous of my friends who were more athletic or musical than I was, and forgot to appreciate the talents that I did have. I got so used to my own abilities that they seemed routine, but what my friends and classmates were doing seemed so impressive. I’ve gotten better about it, but being in college sure doesn’t help some days. In such a competitive environment, it’s tough to remember that you should appreciate the gifts that others have and focus on the ones that you have, but ultimately, it’s the only attitude that will be satisfying. You’ll run yourself ragged if you try to be competitive with everyone, and miss out on opportunities to really zero in on your special abilities and use them to the fullest.
#5: Accomplishments are a means to an end
Sometimes, especially as I update my LinkedIn profile, I start to think about the things that I’ve accomplished at work and school as goals in and of themselves. Have you ever felt like you had to achieve more and more academically or professionally to validate yourself? This is a struggle for me, because I’m a very goals-oriented person. My natural bent is to measure the worth of a day by how many to-do list items I checked off and how many goals I achieved. But in actuality, none of those things are the true goal. I have to remind myself that I do my job to provide for my needs, not because it’s there to fulfill me. I take pride in my work, I want to add value to the community through what I do and learn, but ultimately, the need for work is to provide for my needs financially and add something of value to the world around me. Hard, honest work is satisfying, but it won’t fulfill me. Only God can do that. The same thinking applies to school and anything else out there. There are many good and important things for us to do, but they’re all just means to an end, not an end in and of themselves.
Hopefully this has been of some help to you if you also struggle with the temptation to measure yourself and your worth by what you achieve on a given day or in a given season. Remember, as VeggieTales wants you to know, “God made you special and He loves you very much!” That’s enough to give you an incredible sense of peace and wholeness. Everything else after that is just blessings upon blessings.
P.S. Stay posted for an upcoming Autumn Prayer Challenge!
Images from Unsplash.com