You Are Not "Just" Anything

I don't think most people even notice it when this word rolls of their tongues.

"I'm just a ____."

We use the word just like a shield, revealing a sense of uncertainty about what will follow. How are we being judged? Are we up to the standards of success? We want to deflect potential critique by letting people know that we already know that what we're about to say isn't all that impressive.

Except it is impressive... If we have the eyes to see it.

We are human beings, created in the image of an incredible God. Whatever we do as a job, whatever we do as a hobby, whatever we do as a volunteer, we bring unbelievable potential with us.

We can listen. We can care. We can encourage. We can forgive. We can serve. We can teach. We can make something new. We can bring life.

God has given humans the capacity to bring light and love and goodness into God's world.

Which means you are just amazing.

I hope you can receive that word today.

You are not just a _____. You are just amazing.

Permission to Have Ordinary Days

Source: overcoming-obstacles.tumblr.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” –Author Unknown

I ran across that quote on Pinterest yesterday and immediately repinned it. I love words that push me to seize the day. To not take any moments for granted. To live life to the fullest.

These words challenge and inspire me. Usually.

But something different happened yesterday. After I read this quote, the words planted an unwanted seed in my thoughts: discontent.

I tend to think of great days as ones on either end of a spectrum. I adore days that are gloriously wasted in fun and relaxation. I also feel satisfaction when days have been strategically used up for work and accomplishments.

I have a tendency to loathe the days in between. The days of television watching and errand running and dish doing and game playing. Days filled up with time slipping away and me wondering how I wasn’t able to do that other thing.

Yesterday was that kind of day. It actually had a few extraordinary moments, as I sent my oldest off for his first day of kindergarten. Before he left, we took pictures. When he got back, we went out for ice cream. Smiles brimmed wide as we forged memories. But besides those moments? I don’t know what happened. My day slipped away.

I went to bed feeling restless. Streams of discontentment meandered around my thoughts as I wondered for what I had just exchanged a day of my life.

That is not a faith-filled perspective on daily living.

It seems to me that belief in God is meant to bring a sort of balance in how we see time.

Life is brief. We are dust. Like chaff blown in the wind.

But we are also eternal. We have a never-ending future in front of us as this life flows into the forever God has prepared.

An emphasis too strongly on either side seems to miss the abundant life we are meant to have in Jesus.

The key element of keeping our perspective in balance, I think, is trust. We need to trust that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.

That means trusting that there is in fact a heaven waiting for us. We don’t need to suck the marrow from the bones of each day because this life is not all that there is. We can be content in good days and bad, extraordinary days and ordinary ones, knowing that our future is a long winding road of everlasting life.

But it also means trusting that God is moving in and through us each and every day. That our lives are an act of worship, and God cares how we spend them. That we should walk with open eyes and a sensitive spirit. That no moments should be taken for granted.

I love to dream and accomplish and experience and squeeze the potential out of everything. It’s no surprise, then, that I struggle with the former more than the latter.

So today, I am giving myself permission to have more ordinary days. I need to learn to seek contentment in God, not in my experiences. This is my act of trust.

Do you need permission to have more ordinary days? Or do you need to be pushed to seek more extraordinary ones? How do you keep a balanced perspective on time?

a symphony of unity in diversity

How would you describe the Church? That can be a dangerous question. The Church has made many mistakes through the years. Many people have been hurt from the decisions its leaders have made or from the people within its walls. But how would you describe the Church as it was meant to be? What is its potential?

I saw a beautiful video that, to me, is the perfect picture of what the church could be.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WhWDCw3Mng?rel=0]

Eric Whitacre had an amazing vision. He invited people from all over the world to participate in his choir. They didn’t have to have credentials. They didn’t have to look a certain way, or be a certain age, or speak a certain language. They didn’t even have to travel from where they were. All they had to do was submit a video. And that video was put together into something beautiful and moving; something far beyond what any of the people participating in it could have done on their own. This choir is an ambassador of beautiful music composed by a brilliant conductor.

But this choral symphony was not made without effort. It took a lot of work to scrub out background noise, so that all the tracks would work together in perfect harmony. I’m sure there were many mistakes made along the way. But now we can see that the hard work was worth it. I cannot imagine that a single person who participated in this choir regrets his or her decision to do so. They were able to participate in something much bigger than themselves, something that inspired and moved people.

I believe God looks out into the world and sees potential. He sees the potential within each one of us to do something beautiful with our lives. And He sees the potential of what we can do when we work together. That’s what the Church is meant to be.

As this choir was unified through singing the same song, the church is unified through the gospel message of Jesus Christ. But this does not make us a boring and static group. The Gospel message brings beauty, as the Church becomes the embodiment of unity in diversity. Each singer is still an individual: unique and with important part to play.

The key is keeping our eyes on the conductor. He is guiding us in how to use our gifts to bring beauty to the world. But, we have to watch for his signs. We can’t get sidetracked by the noise in the other rooms of our house. He can help us scrub out noise, but He needs us to stay in the room. Each of us has to participate.

I have a history of stretching analogies farther than they should go, so I should probably stop here. I may have gone too far already. However, I hope that this analogy brings you the same sense of wonder as it brought to me. This is an opportunity to marvel about what the church could be. What would happen to the world if the Church kept its eyes on what it was called here to do? What would happen to the world if each of us put time and effort into the part we were called to play?

We will make mistakes. It will take effort. But it is worth it. The church should bring beauty, peace, and hope to the world. The church is meant to be an ambassador of beautiful music.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21

(Eric Whitacre did a great TED video describing how this choir came into existence. You can watch it by clicking here.)

Comment