This is me. Average.
I have found there have been different times in my life and my career where it just feels like no matter how hard I push that things are just not popping. Like the harder I try, the less that things are actually going on. There have been times when I just feel like I don’t fit in, when I don’t have any one area of expertise, when I don’t have some huge testimony to teach out of and when I just quite frankly feel … average in a lot of areas.
And then instinctively, I start feeling like “how am I ever going to really succeed when there’s nothing terribly special about me? I am just average at a lot of different things.” Anyone else go down that rabbit hole?
And so for anyone else who maybe feels like that on occasion, who feels like they just blend in, that they are invisible, that no one “sees” them….. I want to give you some encouragement and tell you some of the things that I do when I’m feeling like everyone else is winning and I’m still chugging along …. at average.
#1. Focus on the areas where you ARE kicking booty and where you have seen God’s hand at work.
There ARE areas of your life that you ARE kicking booty in. You just need to remind yourself of them. Maybe you are amazing at understanding people’s unspoken needs. Or serving challenged kiddos. Or making your house a home. It’s important on our occasion that we list our wins! Focusing on your strengths will take the focus off your shortcomings.
I had an example of this just the other day in my business coaching class. I was encouraging women to reach out to 3 creative brands that they would like to work with in their business and then report back at the end of the month on how it went.
Well because I am a natural goal setter, I did the “homework” too. Except in my typical self-driven style, I reached out to 13 brands this month instead of 3. Yes, 13!
I had the list of 13 brands sitting on my desk. And at the end of the month of those 13 brands…. I only heard back from 2 of them. I was 2/13. Now by nature I am a highly positive person. But 2/13 is discouraging for even me friends.
I had made the mistake of thinking that my dismal list would motivate me to keep grinding, hustling, whatever you want to call it into the next month. But instead that list was laughing at me. It was mocking me. It was NOT building me up on the inside. It made me feel lesser than.
It did the exact opposite of what I had hoped that it would. It made me look at everything that didn’t work this month instead of focusing on the areas where I did have big wins:
- I got to do a meet & greet with the lovely Rachel Hollis who is a woman who I truly admire online.
- I got to start my podcast, which is releasing February 15th (you’ll be able to listen on iTunes).
- I launched my first high-level VIP coaching program, which completely filled up!
By anyone else’s standards, this was a kick-a$$ month.
But when we start focusing on only things that didn’t work…. we completely forget the accomplishments that we have made.
We need to journal and make notes so that we can remember God’s goodness at different places in our life. Write it down so that you remember your previous times of need, times of desperation, when you were in pain, when you were totally average and God did some wonderful and mighty things in your world anyway.
Psalms 103 says “do not forget the good things”. As people of faith, we need to record and remember…..lest we forget all God has done.
Record and remember. Record and remember.
List your wins. It’ll do your head and heart good.
(from my favorite book, Crash the Chatterbox)
#2 Quit comparing yourself to other people.
I love this quote by my favorite online pastor Steven Furtick, “We struggle with insecurity because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Social media has changed the way we see people because people are able to manipulate what they want the world to know and to see about them. This is one of the reasons I feel so led to transparency on my Facebook page and in my upcoming book, #HotMess.
Often what happens is we will watch social media and we’ll see other people’s accomplishments and we’ll start doing this weird comparison thing where we start thinking, “Oh my goodness they are kicking butt. Oh my goodness they are kicking butt. OH MY GOODNESS THEY ARE KICKING BUTT (and then instinctively we think)…. “and I’M NOT”.
And that’s a lie from the enemy meant to discourage you.
Theodore Roosevelt has that great quote –“Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is so much truth in that.
There is something wonderful and marvelous that happens when we can look at another woman who is doing really amazing at staying in her lane and think –You know what? She’s a freaking rock star! And decide to not be jealous of her. Not to covet her giftings. And to applaud her instead!
There can be such cattiness between women. But when we reject those feelings that the enemy dangles in front of us, when we resist to position ourselves mentally as being in COMPETITION with another woman, when we really applaud another woman who is running her own race WELL…. something so amazing happens in both our life and in our business.
In proverbs, God tells us that “envy makes the bones rot”. We get envious when we are staring too much at what other people are doing and not looking enough at what God has done for US. We should be competing against NO ONE but our yesterday’s self.
Applaud that woman you see winning.
Remember too that you are probably only seeing her highlight reel. Cut yourself some slack.
#3 Learn to be content with where you are today.
This is a struggle for me as someone who has a lot of natural drive. I worked 2 jobs to purchase my first home at 21 for goodness sake. I have done 10 triathlons in the last 5 years. Its my natural bent to drive myself and try to pursue and make things happen. Anyone else?
I could look up a hundred Bible scriptures for you on being content and the truth of it is, it’s still tough. I have to commit myself to it daily.
I think it’s perfectly okay for us to have holy ambition, for us to want better things in life and perhaps want a different thing for our business or want to be debt-free or whatever. I think holy ambition is a good thing and it’s good to have goals and to know where we’re headed.
But the key is getting content in the spot that you’re in right now ….today. That is the hard part. And a lot of this comes down to whether or not, quite frankly, do we trust in God’s timing? There have been so many times in my life where I have pushed in certain areas, especially in my business. I pushed for a TV segment, pushed for my book to be released, pushed for different collaborations with different people who I wanted to work with.
And when they don’t work, I was left feeling frustrated and lesser than.
What I have learned is to trust in God’s timing.
Sometimes God says “yes”, sometimes He says “no”. And sometimes He says “not now my sweet girl”.
We need to just remember that God’s timing is always perfect. He is rarely early but he’s never late.
I can remember when I was trying to grow my decorative painting business years ago and I had babies at home. My kids were little and I can remember feeling like everybody in my industry was passing me by. They were going off to painting classes and collaborating with one another and working on big projects. I can remember feeling completely left out of that loop. I was changing another dirty diaper and watching another episode of “Bob the Builder” and I felt like the world was passing me by!
In hindsight, what a lie from the enemy that was! My husband and I felt very convicted that I was to stay home while our kids until they started school. And so I ran my business – a very successful business – the entire time with kids at home with me.
Then when our youngest child, Ava, started kindergarten four years ago it is almost like God said “Okay now we’re opening up the floodgates on this thing.” It was almost like God said “Jennifer, you’ve been so faithful with all these years leading up to this that NOW you are going to reap some of the rewards for your faithfulness”. And my business when nuts overnight. Seriously.
So I encourage you today if you’re at home right now feeling like the world is passing you by, if you have pushed pause on a career for a short time, I will tell you to honor the season God has you in. I know as surely as I’m sitting here that when we honor and trust in God’s timing that He will work all things out for our good.
#4. Remember that God does amazing things with average, ordinary and unlikely people.
If you’ve read the Bible at all you know that it is full of people who were probably voted “most likely not to be used by the Lord for anything amazing” if there had been a high school yearbook. Look at Moses who was a coward and a murderer. Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus…. ordinary and average on the outside.
What we have to remember is that God is looking for obedient people whom He can use for extraordinary things. Not just special people, not only people who have amazing speaking skills, not people who are fantastic painters or so forth. He just needs ordinary people who want to go where He goes.
In my case, I know I do not have some amazing testimony like Lisa Bevere.
I do not have a best-selling following like Jen Hatmaker.
I am not a professional interior designer like Joanna Gaines.
And I can’t paint cabinets as well as Segreto Finishes.
I don’t have a 7-figure business in a year like my friend Nicole Walters.
But God makes a habit of using ordinary people, doing average things….. to do BIG things for Him.
I can still be used in all my average-ness. I can still be successful with mediocre talents.
And you can too my friend.
So stay in your lane.
Count your wins.
Quit comparing yourself to others.
And continue to be obedient.
All of those things will position you (and I) for GREATNESS.
You have a uniqueness that is precious in the Lord’s sight.
You are not average my friend.
The world needs what you have.