My husband loves to say things that completely catches people off-guard. For example, his favorite response when people ask, “How are you?” is to say, “Remarkably average, thanks. And you?” Most of the time people just nod and say, “Good, good” or they stop and say, “What?”
In a culture where most people respond with “Good”, my husband responds with “Remarkably average”. And that’s what makes him different.
In a culture where most people live their lives as left or right, black or white, weak or strong, I couldn’t possibly be any more remarkably average. And coming to grips with that fact has been a long, slow, painful process, but I’ve finally accepted that this is what makes me different. My uniqueness comes from being so perfectly remarkably average.
Throughout high school I got descent grades, took average classes, and joined a handful of normal extra-curricular activities. I wasn’t amazingly good at anything, but I was Choir President and German Club President my senior year. I mean, I worked hard and teachers loved me but I didn’t exactly stand out as anything special. I was good at lots of things, but not great.
In fact, I remember that during the last semester of my senior year, a college scholarship was available for a certain percentage of the highest ranking graduates. Truthfully, I don’t remember the exact numbers now but it was something like the top 25 students of the graduating class would receive a $2,000 scholarship…. and I came in as #26.
I could go on and on about the ways I’ve been remarkably average most of my life, but I don’t want to bore you to tears. In a nutshell, I’ve looked my entire life for a way to stand out from the crowd, to be better at something, to be noticed for my achievements, to be associated with one great thing, or to be known for something special. But why? Does it really matter?
Smack Down the Middle
Have you ever taken one of those personality quizzes that tell you what animal you’re like, what letters you are, what your strengths are, or what spiritual gifts God’s given you? People tell me all the time that they’re an otter or an INFJ, or a pastor/shepherd and all I can ever say is that I’m smack down the middle.
The test where you fold your hands and look at which thumb is on top to determine if you’re right brained or left brained? Yeah, my thumbs are side by side. I’m smack down the middle.
Is the shoe pink and white or gray and green? I see both. I’m straight down the middle.
Sadly, over the years, my desire to have a title, a label, or a recognizable affiliation has left me wondering who I truly am. Maybe some of you can relate. I love to cook. I love to homeschool. I love being a mom. I love being a military/wounded warrior wife. I love Jesus. I love to write. And I really want to write a book someday, but I have no idea what that book would be about.
Would it be a cookbook? A homeschool curriculum? A parenting book, a word of encouragement for military families, a Christian devotional? I have honestly started each one of these books and left them unfinished because I’m not sure that’s who I am. If I wrote a cookbook first, would anyone take my devotional seriously? If I wrote a fictional novel, would it be better marketed to the military community or the Christian community? I don’t know who I am as a person, much less as a writer.
We’ve all heard someone referred to as a “jack of all trades, master of none” and that’s never exactly a high praise but for me it seems to sum up my life. I would love it if God would just make me amazing at ONE thing so that I can grab hold of it ride it til the end, but in His infinite wisdom, God’s just made me OK at a handful of things.
Maybe that’s because He knows my pride would become a problem if I truly succeeded in a given area. God forgive me. Maybe it’s because He needs me to remain pliable for tasks that I might otherwise overlook. God use me. But after all this time I’m beginning to see that it’s because God needs me to be exactly who I am.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
Maybe God needs me to be the wife of a wounded warrior and the homeschooling mama of five kids that loves Jesus, writing, cooking, period dramas, social media, guacamole, and making friends because God needs me to reach people using each of those characteristics of my life. Maybe He wants me to reach people who would otherwise not be reached by ministry superstars or cooking experts or pillars of the military community. Maybe the Creator of the universe in His infinite wisdom knew what He was doing when He created this reluctant wall flower to be so perfectly remarkably average.
Maybe I’ll never grow into a tall tree. Maybe I’ll never be a prize-winning orchid. Maybe I’ll always be a dandelion. But I’d rather be God’s remarkably average weed than to be an award-winning rose that is outside His will for my life, because while I may not know exactly who He wants me to be, I do know that I was created to be His. And there’s nothing remarkably average about that.