The Blessings of Being Average
I recently met a pastor who was so good at being a pastor that every conversation just left me gawking. He out-Pauls Paul when it comes to the whole “imitate me while I imitate Christ thing.” He was so relational AND strategic. He was completely authentic and grounded and relevant… he was all the buzzwords of what you want to be. I mean… Jesus is jealous of this person’s ministry.
At such times I find myself judging myself, why even bother? I’m just not that good and never will be. Have you ever felt that way? I can’t believe I’m the only one. Comparing ourselves is common practice. Whether its how fast you could run the mile or how many A’s you got on your report card – we can have a tendency toward constant assessment of how good we think we are based on how good everyone is around us.
I got this text from my wife earlier today: “I’m a great parent, they (our kids) are having fruity pebbles for lunch.”
We judge ourselves all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
Most of my life I have had the strong sense of being average to slightly above average at everything, well… except for the things I’m really bad at! 😉 (On a semi-related note: don’t ever ask me for directions.) I’ve had those moments when I wished I could be really good at something… because average seems boring. Then I remember a conversation with my younger sister. She had been with my kids and said to me, “Your kids are just so normal.” Now that may sound weird. But my sister and her children all struggle with genetic disease that makes some ordinary activities hard work, and some… impossible. When she called my kids normal (you can substitute average in there) it was a high compliment. She was a human development major in college with an early childhood specialty and she was just remarking that they were doing everything they should be doing, when they should be doing it. They weren’t struggling at the basics. They were just so dang blasted normal. 🙂
Sometimes… boring is a blessing.
So as I was eating lunch today I had a conversation about average again. And I got struck by an epiphany: average is exceptional. It is really an exceptional thing to be average. Here is why. No-one is really average. I mean statistically. An average is a somewhat arbitrary marker lying in the middle of a bounded set. If I take 1, 3, 6, and 10 the average of those numbers is 5. So the average is 5… but none of the numbers are 5. None of those individual numbers managed to be average. In fact if we want to push the point we could say: 1, 2, 8, and 9. The average is 5 but the number 5 would be completely unique to that data set and without peer. By being average it would be the most unique number in the room.
Average isn’t normal. Normal isn’t normal. It just is.. what it is. And if you ever managed to be the most average person in the world… that would be pretty incredible – EXCEPTIONAL even.
So what is this point of all this?
Maybe I don’t have one. 🙂
Maybe its that we should all leave off comparing ourselves. How good a parent we are, how good a student we are, how good a pastor we are, how good…
Maybe its that we ought to take a deep breath and give ourselves a little grace. I am the only me in the world. You are the only you in the world. And if I were to try to be you? It just wouldn’t go very well.
Maybe the point is that the world is challenging enough without making it harder on ourselves as we try to live up to some arbitrary standard… or force someone else to adopt our standards.
Maybe the point is: that God never said “blessed are those who are the best at what they do.”
Maybe its all of the above. Go have an average day – and thank God to be so blessed.”