“you’re special and unusually wonderful”
“you’re going to change the world”
“you’re better than everyone else”
This is the steady diet of messages that my generation has been bought up on. We’ll have a fulfilling career, rewarding relationships and healthy bank accounts. It will be wild and adventurous and filled with passion. Life will be a breeze, and people will be in awe of the impact we have in the world…
Sadly, our reality doesn’t quite live up to our expectations. There’s only space at the top for a small handful of people which leaves a lot of us disappointed. Day to day moments feel mundane and plain. Our colossal expectations have usually exceeded our reality.
We can quickly become dissatisfied with the lot in life that we’ve been given: we scroll through the moments of others’ lives on Instagram and Facebook and compare our behind the scenes to the highlights that they post. We become restless and unsettled, convinced that life isn’t quite as it should be. In the words of Bethany Schaeffer, “our greatest trial isn’t even that anything awful has happened, but that nothing epic has. We’re convinced our lives are not what they’re supposed to be if they’re just going along uneventfully.”
So how can we combat this dissatisfaction?
Understand that epic stories can appear quite ordinary
Not all epics are filled with adventure and thrill. What about story of Rosa Parks. She simply said no to giving up her seat on a bus, an ordinary moment that changed history forever. Look at the lives of the disciples – if they knew that they would be a student of the Messiah, they might have expected a grandiose king on a flaming horse overthrowing roman soldiers. Instead that got an ordinary man who washed people’s dirty feet and hung out with sick people. Maybe it felt quite plain and underwhelming.
Realise that epic stories involve acting for the greater good
Romeo and Juliet wasn’t about them, it’s about love’s power in reconciling their families. The Hunger Games isn’t about Katniss winning, it’s about justice for the different districts. Epic stories aren’t about the “main character”, they’re about the greater good. God invites us into the colossal story He is writing. The life you’re living really isn’t about you. We each have unique gifts and contributions to make to the world and when we choose to accept the invitation to take a role in what God is doing, we catch the vision of a Kingdom significantly weightier than our own.
Know that God cares more about doing something epic in you than doing something epic through you.
We can have an overly inflated opinion of ourselves and believe we’re way ahead of where we are. We can prioritise attaining grandiose achievements and believe that a change of circumstance will solve our discontentment. But God knows that changing our circumstances won’t make any difference if we’re unwilling to change ourselves. He may send us to far off countries to do this, but often he’ll call us to stick at doing the hard thing, to keep going in the job that’s so frustrating and to persevere in that tricky relationship. He will grow you through the ordinary moments. It’s in the repetition of the day-to-day, in the very places we most easily brush off, that growth so often happens, making packed lunches for the children, that conversation with your colleague, that small decision you have to make at school.
We need to see our lives from God’s perspective – to see the role that we’re playing. I love how Cara Joyner words it:
“When we wake up daily with a full awareness of how powerful God is and how deeply He loves us, the ordinary becomes saturated with life. And it is wild. It’s wild because not only do we breathe in and out under this perspective of God’s sovereignty, but we also remember that this incredible God invites us into the enormous story He is writing.”
So stay wildly ambitious and enthusiastic. Aim big and believe that if God wants to use you for great things, He will. But stay attentive to what he’s doing in you. Live a life bigger than simply building your own empire and don’t neglect the ordinary.