Is this ordinary, unremarkable life the “wonderful plan” God promised to give me when I gave my life to Him? This mundane work? This tiring task of parenting? This difficult marriage? This unspiritual existence? This broken heart? This shattered dream?
God does have great dreams, hopes, and plans for us, but they are all found in Christ–not in our lives.
This, my friend, is your permission to lead a little life. An ordinary but pleasurable life. An average but beautiful life. A forgettable but everlasting life. It is safe to stop clawing for bigger and better. It is time to sit down for a while, take the longest, deepest breath you’ve ever taken, and look around.
If leaving this world with only a little legacy of love, a few good friends, and a short list of accomplishments that made a difference to a handful of people is considered failure, then fail. This is our permission to fail.
I know this message feels counter-intuitive to us, especially those of us living in the land of American dreams. But doesn’t living a small, successful, faithful life also feel so right? It is the legacy Jesus left for us to follow. Our big God came to our little planet to validate the true nature of a successful life. He lived a humble life that fulfilled His entire life’s purpose. Jesus didn’t heal every person, travel to every city, perform every miracle to make as many people believe in Him as possible. He felt no pressure to perform. He simply executed His purpose–to save you . He was at peace with the impact He didn’t make, the platform He didn’t grow, the people He didn’t meet.
Could we stop chasing “bigger and better” and actually accept what we already have? Dare we declare our real lives our dream life?
This little life is my dream life.
Feels strange to say it, doesn’t it? It might feel like you are lying to yourself. Or like you are talking yourself into buying a product you aren’t yet convinced will work for you. Declaring your present, imperfect life sufficient feels like you are giving up–on yourself, your dreams, and worst, on God, who you always thought had big plans for you.
Friend, what if I told you it is impossible to disappoint God, to miss your great calling, to let God down with a life that the world would judge as mediocre? What if I told you that all children of God die with extraordinary legacies–not because of anything we did, but because of what Jesus did in living an extraordinary life for us? Because of Jesus, we are free to live and die in anonymity. In Christ, we are confident despite the emotions that make us feel small–afraid, lonely, inadequate, rejected, restless. In Christ, we are free to stop grabbing for more and start enjoying His gifts. Jesus’s life redeemed the weaknesses of our lives that make us feel fearful, ashamed, rejected, inadequate. No life redeemed by Christ is a failure. It is impossible for Christians to truly fail! This is why the Apostle Paul can boast of his weaknesses in 2 Corinthians 12. He had died and his life was now alive in Christ.
Like the Apostle Paul, dare we declare that because we have everything we need in Christ, this little life is enough? Dare we boast of all the ways our lives fall short of our hopes, yet we are joyful? Dare we boast of our weaknesses, yet we are fulfilled? We look for God’s great plans for us in our jobs, relationships, marriage, children, parenting, experiences, ministry, and material possessions, but we will not find God’s greatest gifts in these. God’s great plans are hidden from us in Christ; they are not usually overt and obvious to us.
For those of us who were told, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” and are still waiting, hoping, and praying for Him to finally push the Execute button to activate that Wonderful Plan, this book is for you.
The “wonderful plan” turns out to be a little life with gigantic blessings in Christ. A life with Jesus is God’s wonderful plan for our lives.
Only those who grow small and strong enough to unite themselves with Christ will accept the imperfect little life, desire it, and even aspire to it.
“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Let’s grow into our little lives, together.
Your fellow pilgrim,