I recently read a devotional entitled Right People, Right Place, Right Plan: Discerning the Voice of God (by Jentezen Franklin). It directed attention to the ordinary vs the extraordinary: "Often, while we are busy grabbing lesser things, ordinary things, mediocre things, God is planning extraordinary things for our future. Don't let anyone tell you you can't reach the stars. God sees the potential you possess and when you follow His plan, you end up going places that you could never have dreamed of and accomplishing more than you ever imagined."
As I began to reflect, I had to ask myself how often have I been guilty of settling for the ordinary and grabbing for less. I think that there are times in life when everything is "good." The family is good, the job is good, the relationship is good, our health is good, and we even characterize our relationship with God as good. There is nothing wrong with being good, but if we stay good for too long, then we begin to believe that being just good is good. This leads to a sleeplike complacency and lethargy where we are content with functioning in the ordinary. Because everything is good, we have little desire to discover what is beyond the ordinary. Could it be that we focus on the lesser things and don't ask God for the extraordinary things because we feel that we are only worthy of the lesser things? Could it be that we live below who we are because we don't understand our true value? I remember times when I would limit my prayers and what I asked of God. It wasn't that I doubted God. The issue was with me. I did not think that I was worthy to ask for the bigger things, the better things, the extraordinary things. I dreamed of and only asked God for things that were within my reach. As an educator, I have high expectations for all of my students. My instruction is not predicated on my students' socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. In my classroom, there are no excuses. I teach and students learn-that is the expectation. I expect for every student to work to his or her potential and to make significant academic progress. Contemplating on my students and my expectations for them helped me to see that I needed to readjust my thinking. My limited dreams were a reflection of my limited trust and faith. By limiting my prayers, I was unintentionally limiting God! I discovered that I need to raise my level of expectation. As a child of the Most High God, I don't need to settle for mediocrity or grab for the lesser things in life. I need to enlarge my faith.
As we begin this new year, let us enlarge our faith by remembering that with God, all things are possible. He loves us and wants the best for us. Therefore, we can pray big prayers and dream big dreams. We don't have to aim low or settle for just being good. We are free to move beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary because God is planning extraordinary things for our future! When we align our dreams and ambitions with His will for our lives, we will be tremendously blessed.
"Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, Oh that you would bless me
and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and
that you would keep me from harm so that it
might not bring me pain!" -1 Chronicles 4:10