So what does it mean to be ordinary?  Being ordinary does not mean being mediocre.  It doesn’t mean we give up developing our skills, our competencies, our gifts as much as we can.  It doesn’t mean we settle for less than we are capable of.  We can still strive, practice, hope, and work at developing ourselves in whatever directions we feel passion.

However, it does mean we acknowledge some things to ourselves and that we confess those things to one another.  For one, we acknowledge that we are not exempt from the struggle. In fact, we can become living examples of what it means to struggle, strive, improve, lose ground, fail, and succeed, over and over.  They all go together.

There’s a formula for struggle in the Christian New Testament: struggle produces patience, patience produces character, character produces hope, and hope, when arrived at through this process will not disappoint us.

Therefore, instead of our ordinary humanness being a point of shame, it becomes the beginning point of some remarkable things.

First of all, it is only someone who is ordinary who can ask for help.  Only in recognizing our limitations can we recognize the possibilities that come from getting help from others.

Second, being ordinary becomes the beginning point for loving and supporting one another.  When the confession of our struggles becomes a vital part of our relationships, we no longer have to settle for admiration.  We can experience true relationship and community.

And finally, acknowledging our ordinariness becomes the beginning point for becoming more loving and accepting of ourselves.  As ordinary people we can do two things that only ordinary people can do.

Once in a while we can get ourselves, our energies and our daring altogether with remarkable results, and this gives us cause to truly celebrate.  We can also colossally fall on our butts without being devastated.  With the freedom to fail and to succeed, we have cause to celebrate both as part of the struggle we call life.

Acknowledging ourselves as ordinary has enormous implications– in our parenting, in our relationships with our spouses, with friends, with colleagues, in our church, in our school, in every aspect of our lives.  As ordinary people we have the freedom to strive, to put ourselves fully and passionately into a task, and to celebrate fully at those times we accomplish what we strive for.

We also then have the freedom and grace to stumble and fall without despair, because we no longer have to define ourselves by our successes or our failures.

We become “Ordinary People–struggling hard, learning lots.”