Sometimes, the reason that there are masses of mediocre people in the world becomes abundantly clear to me: it is inherently easy to be medium. Not steaming hot-shot rise to the top, not down-in-the-dumps schlep. Just mediocre is a breeze.
I fight against the curse of mediocrity often and fail. I know I’m supposed to “enjoy the journey” and all that. I take yoga. I get it. But sometimes you just want all your hard work to pay off with some actual results and the corner that I know they are “just around” keeps getting further and further away, like it was made of stretched-out taffy in some sort of weird marshmallow nightmare.
I don’t mind working hard. I really don’t. In fact, I might even be manic about it at times. But an obvious character flaw of mine is that I often truly desire to give up when I work hard and work hard and work hard and find myself in the same. place. again. I wonder how much stamina I am supposed to have. I wonder why I have this stupid character flaw that desperately makes me want to just say _____ it (that blank space is for my church-y friends. I really, really, really wanted to say something else!!!!!).
It’s not just one area of my life. It’s everything. It’s the way I interact with my family. It’s my business. It’s my weight loss. Especially my weight loss! Yesterday, at my weigh in, I only lost 1 pound. While I know that’s very good, and I know it’s pretty amazing that I’ve lost about 22 pounds in 7 weeks, I’m supposed to be losing 2-3 pounds every week. This diet is tough and takes discipline, and I can definitively tell you that if I hadn’t had my husband here I would have quit a long time ago. I want this diet to be over and to transition back to a healthful way of eating. And damnit, I want to go out and have a glass of wine with my husband. But I still have 8 more pounds to go. And I can’t help but wonder, why can’t I be the one who loses 5 pounds in a week like other people do on this diet?
Last night in my yoga class, our teacher Emma’s opening statement said, “We have all that we need to thrive in this life and to attain enlightenment.” This is not a new thought, of course. I can always hear Christ in her teachings, and the Bible tells us that God has already given us everything we need. But then she said something else: “We need everything we have.”
I started thinking. Really? Do I really need this heavy dose of mediocrity? Do I need my anger, my desperation, frustration? Do I need this strange sort of energy-rhythm that seems at times bi-polar — where there are times that I work with intense focus and stamina and then other times float aimlessly through space barely making a dent in the work I am supposed to do?
Do I really need all this freaking weakness?
I’ve written before about how I often struggle to balance that fine line between the search for excellence and self-acceptance. I can push myself to the limits for while, but my limit-pushing has, well, limits. Emma’s comments made me begin to think that God made me a certain way. He made my rhythms. He made my body and my brain chemicals and He gave me my work and equipped me to do it. He’s given me everything I need. And He’s caused me to need everything I have.
I need my “D” personality that runs roughshod over other people’s feelings so I can learn how to ask for forgiveness.
I need my mediocrity because it frustrates me, leads me to the Word, where I lay it down so He can lift me up.
I need my foibles and quirks so I can connect to another person’s foibles and lead them them to Jesus.
I need my rage because when I give it to Him, He makes it holy and uses it to right wrongs.
I need my weakness because when it becomes apparent it points me to Him.
I need my pain so that Jesus can comfort me.
I need to be tired so I can rest in Him.
I need everything that I have.
So maybe the excellence will come in the self-acceptance. I don’t really know. Today I’m tired of fighting my own rhythms. Today I just want to lay it all down at His feet and let Him explain it all to me, to let Him send me adrift on His unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11-28-30 MSG). Like why I can’t look at my clothes, which are now a size medium, and be proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Because in that case, it wasn’t easy to be medium. It was easier to be extra-large.