An Invitation to be Average

I have been spinning as of late.

I have ministry commitments coming out of my ears, I have writing assignments and ideas popping into my head every 1.2 seconds, and there’s this thing I have on the side called a full time job. My mind is spinning, and there are moments that I want to press my hands to my ears, squeeze my eyes shut, and scream. (Literally? Maybe …)

The hardest part of having a million things going on at once is that I long to do things well. I was raised by a set of parents who do things exceptionally, I married a man who loves to do things with precision and perfection, and my personality is fit to match. I don’t want to pick up a pen if I don’t know that the words that will flow from it will be meaningful and poised; I don’t want to pick up the phone to schedule a meeting if I don’t know I will be prepared and poised. I like to do things with excellence.

But my reality is a bit crazy. I drop the ball at times. I am late to meetings, I publish pieces with typos, I forget things at the store, and I lead half-baked ministry meetings. There are times, despite my personality’s clawing and scraping and pleading, that things are don’t done with excellence, but just done.

I was having breakfast with a friend the other morning and we were talking about her little one. He just might be the cutest baby I have ever met, and he’s smart as all get out. We were talking about how there is so much pressure on mothers to have exceptional babies – I mean, we even set them on the highest recommended nursing schedules in the hopes that they will one day have the highest IQ our genes can afford to them. I know I’m saying this without having children of my own, but I just think it’s so silly. I can’t help but laugh just a little bit at the notion that from the womb there are things you can do – or things you can neglect to do – to get your baby into Harvard. There just has to be so much more grace in this world than that.

I left that breakfast meeting in a mad dash to get to work. I like to be early. I’m the girl who likes to get anywhere ten minutes before required. But this was the second day in a row that I was pressed for time, fighting the stop lights and other drivers, and driving myself mad. As my frustrations mounted, I released the mental litany of flaws I was displaying to myself. From running late, to making slow exits, to slamming on the breaks because I was trying to change the radio station, my frustration took and inward turn and I evaluated the ways that I don’t live up to my own standards.

My spirit can turn so ugly so quickly. I glared at myself, so disappointed that I wasn’t living into the person I desired to be. I chastised myself for not being more organized, for not being more efficient, for not be more in control.

I came screeching to a stop light, realizing that gunning it through the yellow wasn’t quite going to cut it. As my finger tightened around the steering wheel, I dropped my head with a sigh.

I just want to be average.

What I mean is that I just want to be okay with being average. I want to make peace with not being the best of the best, with not being the top candidate, with not being the top of the totem pole. I want to be okay with being late once in a while, and forgetting things at the grocery store, and losing my keys. I want to give myself the grace of eating nachos for lunch once in a while, for not going to the gym this week despite my best intentions. I want to give myself the permission – no, the grace – of being ill-prepared for a meeting and admitting it openly. I want to just let myself be the normal, every day kind of woman that I am. And good gracious, I just want to stop trying to be the best.

Don’t we all?

Isn’t there something in you, too, that wants to just be okay with being average?

Yeah, me, too.

So here’s the invitation that I want to extend to myself and to you: be average. Just be a normal kind of woman who is trying to follow Jesus today. Embrace the goodness of the gospel that we claim as our own inheritance that says that we don’t have to be the best, that we don’t have to be at the top. Receive today that gospel that accepts you with warmth and love and welcome in the midst of your chaos and your tardiness, the gospel that meets you when you walk through the door with a huge smile and big hug. Together, let’s believe the gospel we preach: the Christ did not come to make us better at multi-tasking, but to save us from our self-reliant selves and bring us into a land of freedom and grace.

Today, I chose to make peace with being average, because it was my average, sinful, messy self that Jesus came to save. Today, I will practice patience with myself and others, and I will remind myself – again and again – that the gospel is for me in my average-ness.

Join me?

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