Michael Horton has some really good advice in book Ordinary (Zondervan). After last week’s post on St. Francis I found some echoes in Horton. Consider the following.
“From childhood we’re told that we can be anything we want to be, do anything we want to do, make of ourselves whatever we dream. We often miss the trees for the forest, looking for ambitious causes instead of actual people God has sent into our lives that moment, hour, day, or year.”
“Meant to inspire us, this constant message can actually paralyze us with anxiety. This chapter focuses on the importance of staying at the posts to which God has called us: as children, parents, extended family, neighbors, coworkers, and citizens. We need to stop looking for extraordinary callings to give meaning to our lives, which often encourage us to think of others as tools in our self-crafting. It’s not ‘the needy’ who need us, but particular people—many of whom we come across every day. Our neighbor is right in front of us. Recall that closing line . . . from George Elliot’s Middlemarch: ‘The growing good of the world is pretty dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.’” (Emphasis mine. pp. 190-91)
Later he adds this.
“We look at the work of someone like Mother Theresa from the end point, as the Nobel Prize-winning figure who founded an order of nuns spread across India and around the world to serve the poor. However, she described her own life in terms of countless decisions and actions that hardly seem revolutionary on a daily scale. She learned to help the person she was with at the moment—actual neighbors, not ‘the poor’ in general, but people created in God’s image who needed something particular that she had to give.” (p. 194)
God grant us eyes to see the beauty of our “ordinary” lives and leave the “extraordinary” results to you.