Free From Extraordinary

“If the devil tries to tell you that you have nothing [to offer] it’s because he’s afraid you will learn to release what you do have.”
—Damon Thompson

“I don’t struggle with insecurity,” I reminded myself, at least I shouldn’t struggle with insecurity. After all, almost every time I produce something or operate in my gifts I am met with reassuring compliments and positive feedback. It would be stupid and selfish of me to feel inadequate. It would be weak to not step out in what I know I am capable of.

But what if it’s all a lie? What if, subconsciously, I’m really not as confident in myself and my abilities as I thought? What if there is more that I am capable of releasing but unable to tap into because I fear not being enough?

I’ve only recently realized I tend to thrive in my gifts when in environments where I know they will be either a necessity or a celebrated treat. I shut myself down when there’s a chance that I will expose my delicate gift only for it to be trampled by a herd of superior creations, or when there is a chance that I haven’t minimized the flaws enough for them to be looked over. I will only express myself when my creation is tied up in a box neat enough that the imperfections won’t be shown and given in a moment when the competition is scarce.

This attitude is shown in the my feelings about giving presents. I almost resent giving gifts on birthdays or on Christmas because it is expected! The person is receiving gifts from everyone else, my gift won’t really be appreciated as much as it would be any other day. I may not have had the money to buy them what they REALLY wanted and I’m horrible with wrapping paper, so let’s face it, it’s not going to be perfect. My imperfect gift doesn’t matter, it is forgettable, it is NOT extraordinary.

And there it is. The word that encompasses what I truly desire and fear I will never attain: Extraordinary. Extraordinary lifestyle, extraordinary places, extraordinary writing, extraordinary beauty, extraordinary personality, extraordinary ministry, extraordinary miracles, extraordinary impact. The standard of extraordinary taunts me and calls me to strive for something that is open ended and unattainable.

Brené Brown totally knows the feeling and she talks about it in her book Daring Greatly,

“I know the yearning to believe that what I’m doing matters and how easy it is to confuse that with the drive to be extraordinary. I know how seductive it is to use the celebrity culture yardstick to measure the smallness of our lives. And I also understand how grandiosity, entitlement, and admiration-seeking feel like just the right balm to soothe the ache of being too ordinary and inadequate.”

So what if I, or something that I produce, never become extraordinary? So what if I’m not the best at what I do? So what if I’m not the only one who crosses that border into unmarked territory? So what if I’m not the first, the only, the greatest?

The truth is that extraordinary, like perfection, isn’t real, achievable, or vulnerable. I can’t wait for extraordinary to become within grasp in order to begin creating or living, or I will never produce anything of value. I must chose to embrace the simple impact of the words of my zealous friend Spencer: “Just start! Just do it! You will never know unless you try!” I must hold out my awkwardly wrapped gift with its lopsided bow and give it, whether it is December 25 or April 25, because its value doesn’t depend on it’s reception, but on its creation.

My value doesn’t depend on what I create but on the One who created me, and He’s pretty extraordinary.

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