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What is “Ordinary”?

According to Webster’s Dictionary Ordinary can mean:

1. Of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events: Routine, Usual

2. a. Of common quality, rank, or ability.

    b. Deficient in quality: Poor, Inferior.

Oxford’s Dictionary defines Ordinary as:

Not unusual or different or special or unexpected in any way; usual

Synonyms of ordinary include Normal, Usual, Standard, Natural, Typical

It seems that somewhere inside of us there is a desire not to be ordinary. It may be because we think we’ll be lost in the crowd. It may be that we equate ordinary with inferior. 

There are seemingly infinite ways for people to express their uniqueness or their desire to stand out. Differences are expressed through clothing, hair, body art, vehicles, not to mention bumper stickers on vehicles. There are expressions that scream, “NOTICE ME! I AM HERE AND I NEED TO BE PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ME!”

Well, I have come to believe that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, however we need to see ourselves from a different perspective. 

I’ve read that a jumbo jet has six million parts, forty thousand rivets on each wing and that it takes 43 days for skilled technicians to build. I would not dare to say that the smallest rivets were not important. If I heard the builders say, “Yeah, this one had some rivets left over. We didn’t know where they should go. We didn’t have time to look, but it seemed sturdy enough. We threw the leftovers away.” I would not get on that plane.

I don’t believe God made anything or anyone for which He doesn’t have a specific purpose. If there is a “specific” purpose, it can’t be ordinary. Look in the Psalms. Ps. 147:4 He counts the stars and calls them all by name. Why would anyone waste time on counting and naming the stars, unless there was a purpose? Unless it was important? Unless it brought Him pleasure to count and call the names of His own?

God says SO MUCH MORE about you and about me than He counts us and names us. He counts our hairs. (I wonder if He has named them too?)

Psalm 139:1-18 is a beautiful portrait of the intimacy we were made to have with God. It is evidence that we are not ordinary. You are not ordinary. You are not inferior. You were not an afterthought. You were made, on purpose, for a purpose, that God Himself wants to reveal to you and He is excited to do just that. 

Read it slowly as if you are reading it to Him as He is listening.

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night--12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. 13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Read verse 17 again and again…

His thoughts about you are precious. Precious means of great value, not to be wasted or treated carelessly. Let’s not discard God’s thoughts about us because they reveal our identity. They reveal our value. They reveal our purpose and tied to all of these is His pleasure. (Rev. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.)

His precious thoughts cannot be numbered. This means He’s still adding precious thoughts about you to His repertoire. You cannot number something that is continually growing in number. He hasn’t laid you aside for the newer models coming along. His purpose for you hasn’t diminished alongside of anyone else. 

Even though days upon days seem ordinary and nothing seems to stand out or make a difference, there’s much to be said for finishing the race and remaining faithful. When you look at yourself through the lens of the scripture, you will not see ordinary. You will see an extraordinary God who wants you to know He is near.

One of my favorite verses to mediate on is Zephaniah 3:17…

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He is quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

(Skip Moen says the picture of “quiet in His love” is this: “I don’t need to say a thing.” Imagine a conversation between people who love each other deeply and intimately. One is weaker and needy. But the other loves so much that He says, “You have not shaken my love for you at all. I don’t need to say a thing.” This is the silence of approval. When God is quiet in His love, His smile is more than we need, to know we are His.)

And I would add, His smile is more than we need, to know that we are not ordinary.

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