You and I Can Applaud “Ordinary”

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photo by seasonswithsoul

photo by seasonswithsoul

An observation on our culture:

“I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”–Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

We live in a world that glorifies celebrity. And that spills over into our daily lives. That mentality tries to define us…

By how many Likes we get on facebook.

How many people notice what we do.

How many successes we can count in our day.

When that happens, what Brene Brown said so eloquently above becomes true: we fear being ordinary.

What if our life doesn’t matter?

What if we do doesn’t really count?

What if no one recognizes our efforts?

We panic and strive and end up exhausted. Human souls are not made to prove themselves.

And yet in the middle of it all, there’s One who calls us to a different standard.

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very natureGod,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself. {Php 2:5-8}

Instead of fearing ordinary, Jesus embraced it. The one human being who could have walked into our world and instantly had fame, recognition and celebrity ran from it instead.

He chose a manger not a throne.

He spent 90% off his lifespan as a private carpenter and only 10% in public ministry.

He hung on a cross in a way that was even beyond ordinary, it was humiliating.

And because of that…

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name. {Php 2:9}

Don’t fear ordinary because in the Kingdom, it’s the only path to greatness.

Yes, God may call you to have a platform. Yes, you may find yourself in the spotlight sometimes. Yes, sometimes people may even say “extraordinary” to describe what you do.

And you will have God-sized dreams.

But here’s the freedom: you don’t have to strive. You can embrace where you are right here, right now and know that it is enough. You are enough.

Because the One who lives in you turns every bit of ordinary into holy, glorious ground.

Comments

  1. Maria Jones-Davidson says

    Hi Holley, I remember watching a truly incredible story on Australian Christian Channel the story of Mother Theresa. Watching her life story and the seeming ordinary work she engaged herself was such an incredible blessing it brought on my life. It was a few weeks or so ago when I saw the two series of her story. This woman of the Lord was not concerned in any publicity of her work nor she concerned herself of being famous. Far from it! She did her work because she loved Jesus and she loved helping the poorest of the poor. Her story and her work was so beautiful. The Spirit of the Lord was upon her. What I really saw was that Mother Theresa’s life and work was extra-ordinary, very special, saving life despite hardship. God bless you Holley and your hubby.

  2. Doris Compton says

    Thank you for the lovely explanation you wrote. How understanding you are and how well versed in your in your expression of your feelings. Love it!

    Blessings,
    Darsilou

  3. Dianna says

    Holley,
    Vanity…..its all vanity as Solomon says! What I regret is the years it took me to be at peace with this! I’m 57 and spent a lifetime being an overachiever….but still not even good enough for my overachieving family! It killed my joy for sure! Beautiful and timely words Holley as we head into the weekend where, if one watches the Oscars, this will be glorified in all the wrong and wordly ways!
    May the Lord make His face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us!

    Dianna

  4. says

    What if our life doesn’t matter?
    “What if we do doesn’t really count?
    What if no one recognizes our efforts?
    We panic and strive and end up exhausted. Human souls are not made to prove themselves.” Boy, how many times I feel that way! Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that we are called to be servants, not necessarily celebrities.

  5. Javene McCabe says

    DEAR HOLLEY…SO PERFECT FOR ME TODAY. I HAVE HAD AN EXHAUSTING WEEK WITH DOCTOR/DENTIST APPOINTMENTS AND JUST FEELING PLAIN WEARY AND WORN. TODAY I WAS TO GET UP AND OUT EARLY FOR OUR CHURCH’S WOMENS BREAKFAST GROUP THAT MEETS EVERY FRIDAY. ALTHOUGH IT IS A GOOD/GREAT THING I ENJOY I JUST WANTED TO STAY HOME AND HAVE AN ORDINARY DAY! I CHOSE TO DO JUST THAT…I MAY EVEN GET THE DISHES DONE AND SOME LAUNDRY IN BEFORE NOON! JUST WANT TO HAVE AN ORDINARY DAY. I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS IN SUCH A LONG TIME. I KNOW MY SISTERS IN THE LORD WILL BE FINE WITHOUT ME THIS MORNING AND THAT I CAN REST KNOWING IT WAS PART OF GOD’S PLAN THAT I STAY HOME. YOUR POST THIS MORNING CONFIRMED MY THOUGHTS. THANK YOU AND HAVE AN “ORDINARY” WEEKEND….JAVENE

  6. LaRhonda says

    Oh how well written! I have been reading Embracing Obscurity and it has really opened my eyes to many of my moments of feeling “unnoticed”. I try to be obedient and walk as close to God but I too have had moments when I have felt like no one sees me but then after reading this and continuing to read Embracing Obscurity I have no doubt that I am noticed. God sees each one of us and I want to be the apple in His eye.

  7. Javene McCabe says

    PS…I JUST LOVE THAT YOU HAVE ADDED SCRIPTURE VERSES IN YOUR RECENT POSTS…IT IS AWESOME TO READ THE WORD OF GOD IN THE MORNING WITH YOUR POSTS….IT MAKES THEM “EXTRA” ORDINARY!!! LOL

  8. Crystal says

    “You are enough”… I tear up every time I hear/see/read that… Something, I feel, I need to remind myself of more often…I don’t need to strive with such force.. I am enough.
    Thank you Holley.

  9. Charlene says

    Dear Holley, You are such an encourager, being a shut -in I sometimes feel so useless to the Kingdom of God, He knows my heart for which I am so grateful. Thank you so much for helping me get through my days. I look forward to hearing from you every day. .May our dear Lord continue to use you as you reach out to so many. Being at home does give me the time to pray for others. I thank God every day for the support of dear friends either by email or the weekly visits. Please know you are also a friend and are in my prayers as well.

  10. says

    Such a beautiful post Holley! Just what i needed to hear today!!! Thank you sweet sister, for encouraging all of us moms and “ordinary” people :)

  11. Susan says

    Thanks for the message, So true once again. God is great and we need to see our worth through his eyes and not ours. So easy to get caught up . Thank you going to embrace this scripture i really need it right now.

  12. Michelle says

    I did not know I lived with this fear until I read this. What a revelation! I DON’T have to strive, I AM enough! I can tell you that a weight has been lifted from my shoulders today. Thank you Lord for gifting Holley with these words!

  13. robin jurovich says

    Holley,
    in the world of (look at me) very few people are speaking this truth. Over the last few years the Lord has been working this in my life. I have felt like I have dissipated, lost my sparkle and became very, very ordinary. The beauty in this is I am free .

    Thank you for being a speaker of God’s heart.

  14. Susan Shoemaker says

    Holly, today’s post speaks to my heart. God’s calling is enough, no matter to what “platform”. Knowing He calls me to “this” is joy.

  15. Jen Fromm says

    aaaaaahhhhh. Beautifully written, and such a good message for me to breathe in. Relax and don’t stress about feeling the need for recognition or attention. At least for today :) I don’t have to put in the most volunteer hours, or donate the most cupcakes, or have the biggest coat drive, whatever else. Wow. Thank you for reminding me of Jesus–of all beings He could have been elevated in man’s eyes, but He emptied Himself.
    Again, aaaahhhh, sighhhhh…. :)
    Thank you, Holley.

  16. Cheryl E says

    Thank you, Holley, for this beautiful post. I so needed to read/hear this right now in this season of life. I am struggling right now with feeling that I’m enough in Christ. I know in my mind I am–just having trouble getting it into my heart. You have encouraged me today.

  17. says

    Morning dear Holley, love this! Every post seems to speak to where I need to “take another look” am I looking at me? Is my focus on my Savior? Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s Word with us your sisters! Way too often I have gotten tangled up in my thoughts ..God has been working it out! Praise His holy name!
    Oh Jesus, like a Shepherd lead us I pray,
    Sending His love your way! Hugs

  18. Sharon Bell says

    This devotional is ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY. It’s powerful and liberating! Now, to learn to consistently walk in this truth and realize that I am the most extraordinary version of me that God created! : )

  19. Emily H. Lucas says

    Thank you Holley for this beautiful message and so true and encouraging to me on a rainy cold day in S.C. Your Posts each day are blessings (my e-mail friend in Christ, Holley Gerth). Have a happy day. Love You
    .,

  20. Lisa says

    I am an overachiever…and struggle with my feelings about my ordinary life. I need to remember that I am enough just the way I am….

  21. Karen E. L. says

    :)))))
    I am Free to be just Spirit ~controlled Me! That is enough, for me.
    Thank you, Sister Holley.
    The photo is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever
    seen, in the World. It is proof that our Father
    does take the simple things and confounds the wise. And now,
    I will make some snickerdoodle cookies for my husband and my
    son, and know that I am making them for the Master, as those
    2 are His Servants. As I do it to the least of these, I do it unto
    Him. Isn’t He Awesome!

  22. Ruth says

    I often find that your messages speak to me exactly at the right time Holly and today is no exception.
    I have been going through a time of stress and many things have gone ‘wrong’ on all sides. This has culminated in my feeling fairly useless and , yes, ‘ordinary’. I have ended up thinking, “what have I done with my life, what have I done for my LORD?” etc etc.
    Thank you for speaking directly to me and being such an encouragement.

  23. Hollie D says

    It’s always the people who are extraordinary who tell those of us who are ordinary that it’s OK to be plain and go unseen. It’s the people who receive recognition who tell those of us who don’t that we shouldn’t want it or need it. It’s like the person with great wealth who says, “Money doesn’t matter.” Well, it does to the person who has none.

    I don’t want to be cruel. You seem like a very nice person with a genuine love for people. It’s just that I’ve been reading and hearing words like this a lot lately. I want to be inspired by those words – truly believe that it’s OK to be me, but my heart hurts too much to feel anything but pain.

    • says

      Hollie,
      I felt so sad as I read your comment and sensed your deep pain. All of us are extraordinary in God’s eyes and that’s all that matters. I have struggled so much of my life to escape being ordinary but I’m finally realizing that may just be who God has called me to be. I am praying that He will show me where He is calling me but in the meantime I’ve just decided to make my ordinary days the best that they can be by using every opportunity to look for the blessings He has given me and to be His willing servant wherever He calls me – whether it’s doing my family’s laundry or speaking a kind word to the harried cashier at the grocery store. Blessings to you – you are in my prayers.

  24. Heather DB says

    Oh Holley – thank you! I loved this! I keep reading the God sized dream stories on the FB page you made for us all and feel so… blah – ordinary .I’m not starting a ministry, I’m not writing a book, speaking tour anything… I’m just living life in a rather ordinary way – Thank you so much! as bev duncan wrote aboce – simply being is enough!

  25. says

    LOVE this . . “Human souls are not made to prove themselves.” Your post reminds me that the only time we’re told to strive in scripture is to strive to enter into God’s rest!
    “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].” ~Hebrews 4:11 AMV

  26. Becky Jones says

    The little plant that makes all the new ones was on a Crosscards E-card. It goes ahead to blow the seeds on the seed plant and they go floting around and landing everywhere. And saying to bloom were you land.
    Thaks for you blog.
    Becky

  27. Angie H says

    I’ve never thought of myself as ordinary. I guess because since I’ve been an adult someone is alway telling me that not everyone thinks like me, or sees what needs to be done and then gets it done, or is fearless in approaching strangers with a message that God has laid on my heart for them at that moment. Yes, I’ve got some strange looks but that’s okay because seeds were planted and the possibilities of something extraordinary growing from the ordinary are endless!

  28. Sherri Ohler says

    Holley, thank you. God’s been working to shift my paradigms in this way but it ‘feels’ so opposite of how I’m wired! It’s like you’ve given me permission to relax and just let it happen…. I think haha.
    Thanks again,
    Bless you in all you do!
    Sherri

  29. says

    Your words remind me of the book by Alicia Britt Chole, Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years and yours…Thank you, dear Holley, for always pointing us back to Him…hope you are over your cold ….

  30. Neena says

    Thank you Holly, we all have to be reminded of this from time to time.
    He is so faithful at making it the perfect time.

  31. says

    Thank you for your words. I struggle with this weekly. Why? I am not sure. Always striving, thinking there is more to this life than where I am right now. But, there may be, just not now. God’s timing is perfect and I must grow where I’m planted…thanks

  32. Cynthia says

    I am grateful to God for you and your work Holley. Your words always confront me at just the right time. I have felt less than ordinary so many times in my life.Thank you.
    My prayer is that you reach out to many more like me.

  33. Kim Johns says

    Thank you for these words Holley. I had a conversation recently with my husband asking why is it that some people you meet have done so much in their lives and yet others (like me) seem to live such ordinary lives, i struggle with this all the time. Neither of us really had an answer however after reading this I realise that I’m ok in my little ordinary life because I have God by my side and that is more than enough for me xxxx

  34. Betty says

    Thank you Holley! God Bless you…Holley I have always been ordinary and thought that wasn’t good. But as I have been living each day in this life. I found that it is ok for me to be ordinary. It’s not a bad word, it is a good word. Hope you and your family are enjoying this beautiful Bless Sunday. Agape! :)

  35. SAndy says

    This is awesome. This sounds like something everyone needs to hear. I may use this as a “special” in our church. I know that I dont’ have to envy people I just have be me and do what God made me to do.

  36. Rachel McRae says

    Oh, my word… how I needed to hear that today! After being called “average” on something that I thought I was better at last week, this is just the reminder I needed. Thank you!

  37. says

    Thank you Holley! for the post, it let’s us know that there is nothing wrong or shameful about being ordinary, as Jesus was ordinary, but extraordinary!!

  38. Holly says

    Holley, even though God has put a pause on your dream of a child, I want you to know He is working through you for so many. You are meant to do what you do and speak so beautifully to so many others of us who don’t find this voice in our regular daily lives. I have been striving hard seeking a new job, and was just told yesterday that, what seemed like my God-sized dream, was not going to happen. Instead of hearing self-defeating words in my head, I hear God speaking through you to my soul. You have once again, really spoken to me today. Your interpretation of God’s message is “Holly-talk/holy-talk” to me that is uplifting, encouraging, and life-changing. I’m beginning to be able to hear your words as my own now….God has a perfect plan and it will be fulfilled in His time. In the meantime, you have given me direction as to what to do….be still and listen.

    • Holly says

      PS I also don’t know why this email came to me today, right when I needed it, instead of nearly a month ago, when the others posted their comments….Amazing!

  39. donna says

    Thank you for your posts, Holley. I find myself these days being very tired and not knowing what direction to go in within my work life.

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