Is it okay to be ordinary?
This question has been bumping around in my mind a lot lately.
Consider this question: If you ask your kids at the end of the day with you about how their day was, and they say “fine” or “okay” (rather than “excellent!” or “amazing!”), how do you feel?
I know my answer to that question. I want my children to say, “It was amazing! Best day ever! Mommy, you’re the best!” Hyperbole aside, the sentiment remains— there is something in me that longs to be the best. I don’t want ordinary days, I want memorable days. I want excellent, fantastic, larger-than-life days.
Something tells me I’m not the only one. We are a society in pursuit of the extraordinary. We celebrate it. We post photos of amazing meals, breathtaking views, mountain-top experiences of life. We sweep away the mundane, or somehow try to make even the mundane seem life-alteringly blissful.
And it’s not the social media posts or the longing for our children to verbally praise our days that produces this pushback against being ordinary. Everywhere around me, I see women who are actually doing extraordinary, above-and-beyond things: writing books, speaking publicly, running for office, starting businesses, creating and doing all manner of important, high-profile things. Let me be clear — I celebrate these women. Using their gifting! Making a difference! Creating and contributing to culture!
But what if you’re not one of these women? What if you have little to showcase on social media, and the most ambitious thing you’ve done is get out of bed each day to care for your little ones? What if no one knows your name beyond your family and your gynecologist?
I feel like this often. Of course, I still do things. Ordinary things. I take care of my children every day. I burn the candle at both ends trying to keep my household afloat, paying bills and cleaning and doing laundry. I cook meals for my family and for many other people we welcome into our house each week. I sing songs and change diapers and organize chaos and brush teeth and discipline and instruct.
But it’s not known. They’re not the kind of things that you broadcast on social media (“Just changed another diaper! Really doing great today!”). When someone asks how your day has been, it doesn’t usually make the litany of “things to share with strangers.” They’re quiet, behind the scenes things; simple. Ordinary.
But they’re also faithful. They’re day in and day out, constantly draining and fulfilling, simultaneously. In many ways, the life I live is very ordinary. But this ordinary? Perhaps it’s a whole lot more significant than it seems.
So if you’re the woman who’s starting businesses and changing cultural dialogue and authoring great, new reads, THANK YOU. You are doing amazing things. We need you to use those gifts for the good of the whole.
And if you’re the woman who’s not doing much that feels fit for social media, but you’re faithful in your ordinary life, THANK YOU. Our culture may make ordinary seem like second fiddle, it may not celebrate it publicly, but ordinary is good; it’s probably surprisingly rare. Thank you for blessing the people around you by demonstrating daily faithfulness, because this is anything but ordinary.