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Significance without the spotlight

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A few years ago, I found myself drowning in life, fighting to drudge up the motivation to do more than the most basic of tasks. Not because anything especially bad was happening, but because not much of anything was happening. Life just felt too… normal. All around me I saw people doing Big, Important Things for Jesus—moving across the world to be missionaries, quitting their jobs and stepping out in faith that God had called them to something new, adopting children out of foster care. Compared to them, how could my quiet life as a mom to three possibly measure up?

Too often, we fall into the significance trap our culture sets: to live a worthwhile life, you must have fame, money, or power. You must do something BIG. You must stand out. To be significant means to be in the spotlight. Ordinary is nothing short of failure.

But what does God say?

One morning as I read my Bible, going through the motions but not really soaking it in, I decided to switch translations. One click, one glance, and I caught my breath. A familiar passage took on new meaning as I read it in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1 The Message).

Everyday. Ordinary. Offering.

As my heartbeat quickened, I read it again, sure that I misunderstood. But the words were still there. In fact, Paul went on to say:

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (verse 2)

I had bought into a lie, and it was leaving me empty inside. God doesn’t demand grand gestures to earn His pleasure. He wants our everyday, ordinary lives. He wants us to pay attention to what He is asking. He wants us.

Because here’s the thing: He created you. He has given you a unique set of gifts—and struggles. And He wants you to use those things to serve Him. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (New Living Translation). We are His masterpiece, friends! No, we weren’t created to sit on the wall. We were created to do good works. Not to earn our salvation—the verses immediately prior to this (Ephesians 2:8-9) make that abundantly clear—but because it is what we were created for.

As this truth sank in, I found myself transformed. My circumstances didn’t change, but my life did. Every interaction became an opportunity to be a reflection of Jesus to the people around me. Every moment a chance to thank Him. Some days I have had the chance to do bigger things, whether fun opportunities like sharing in front of a crowd or hard sacrifices like giving up my own comfort for someone else. But many days are just… days. Average, ordinary days. But I refuse to be dragged down to the level of our culture, to hear the enemy whisper that my ordinary life isn’t good enough. I know those routine days are being lived with intention and purpose.

This is God’s call on our lives. To live intentionally, not “importantly.” To be His masterpiece. You were made on purpose, for a purpose. You were created to be something!

But.

It isn’t about you. Or me. Our purpose isn’t fame and glory. No spotlights needed. In fact, our purpose isn’t even our own happiness. God has put us here on earth to give glory back to Him. To use our gifts—the gifts He gave us—to serve others and glorify God. We were made for this!

Tell me that doesn’t get your blood going.

The best part is… it doesn’t have to be big. Use your gifts right now in your everyday, ordinary life. Start small. Just do something. And place it before God as an offering.

That is the definition of a worthy life.

 

 

Photo by Paul Green on Unsplash