Being Ordinary

Andrew Garland Breeden

For a long time, I was afraid to admit it: I was trying to fool the world into thinking I was someone I was not. I saw myself as someone to be reckoned with. If anything, I fooled myself; and looking back, I am not sure I did a good job of that.

Is the curse of our generation the deep insecurity we feel when we are faced with an ordinary life, the shock that comes from the realization that we are not who we thought we were and that all the energy we have put into being different than ourselves has been spent in vain?

teen texting2 TSP166671206We try so hard to be something we are not, convinced that if we try hard enough, the difficulties of life—the challenges, the losses, the failed attempts—will disappear. If we could be something or someone different, our lives would be much easier. I ask you to believe that this simply is not true.

I can’t think of anything more tragic than for someone to spend all of his or her life trying to be someone else, never figuring out and loving the person he or she actually is. The challenge is to embrace our ordinariness and the fact that, in this case, the path of least resistance is the best one. The challenge today is to discover the freedom in not trying so hard—for me to be me and for you to be you and loving everything about ourselves and one another. All the rest we can let go.

It’s not weary resignation. It’s not giving up or losing the fight. It’s not raising a white flag of surrender on the landscape of an economy in rubble, a society in unrest, or a world in turmoil. It’s not giving ourselves over to a malevolent universe that has failed to keep its promise. Instead, it’s a triumphant posture, a holy posture. It is the proclamation that being ordinary is not only OK, but it is right and good.

teen in headphones and bubble gum FTR TSP 479067310Let us all be ordinary and be OK with that. Let us be who we are. Let us love ourselves though we are not perfectly straight, toned, or articulate. Let us show forth our doubts about our intellect, our physical design, and our general marketability in a culture where good looks are the capital and insecurities the currency. Let us display those doubts in the open air, being honest about our fears and, at the same time, disarming them, for only then can we acknowledge their tyranny in our lives and begin to change. We are given no other charge than this: to be glamorously humdrum, fabulously normal, and beautifully common—for each of us to be who we are, nothing more or less.



Think of a time when you have tried to be someone other than who you are. How did you feel? What was the outcome of the situation? Spend some time today and every day embracing and celebrating who you truly are.

Andrew Garland Breeden is from Charlotte, Tennessee.

—from devozine (July/August 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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