C.S. Lewis said, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Ah, C.S. Lewis. He really did say a lot of intelligent things, did he not?
I feel like we’re living in a time of mediocrity. I may have written about this topic before, so if I have, apologies.
I just started reading Poles Apart by Terry Fallis. It’s about this guy, Everett or Ev, who begins to write a feminist blog. Being a guy he has to take the pen name, Eve. The blog becomes a hit, which means I think he has to hide his identity. I imagine when women find out she’s actually a he, the sh… is going to hit the fan.
The reason why I thought of this book and mediocrity is that the character has lost sight of himself, of his dreams. He begins with lofty aspirations to change the world, in the area of social justice for women and ends up writing articles about mascara. (That must take some pretty serious talent for a man to write about mascara!)
I sometimes, well a lot of times, think about what I am doing with my life. I want to make an impact, but am not sure in what area or what I am to do.
My former pastor assured me I was doing my part. But…I don’t want to be an egg. I want to be hatched. I don’t want to settle for mediocrity. I want greatness.
I want to be like that little chick with his foot/claw on the egg, as if to say, “I am in control of you egg. Take that!”
(Just a side point, I am aware that failure is a part of greatness – we must make mistakes and be okay with it. We’re human!)
So, how do we figure out where we would like to put our time and energy? There are so many worthwhile causes and places to where we can put our effort. Here are some initial thoughts:
All the solid advice people, say start at home, with family and friends.
Back to the Future – Not just a cool movie from the 80’s with Canadian icon Michael J. Fox, but clues to what we loved to do when we were kids.
Write down all the things that make you happy/give you a sense of joy.
Write down all the things/issues that excite you.
Write down all your talents and gifts – Believe me, you have a lot of them! Ask friends (trusted, good, positive friends) for their input.
Surround yourself with positive people who love you for who you are. In my twenties, I was hanging out with people who were not of like-mind. They weren’t necessarily bad, we were just not compatible.
Live in the present! This is a hard one for me. When I start to think about the future, I get anxious. Natural, given I have no idea what is going to happen. I just recently was reminded to live each day, day by day.
And, lastly for my spur-of-the-moment list, The Power of Habit says to change one thing. Just change one thing! I am still working on my one thing.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes: “Change your thoughts and you change your world” (Norman Vincent Peale). Expect good things in the future!
Remember the old witch from Snow White? “Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?” When the mirror doesn’t give the correct answer, the witch goes ballistic.
When I was in Grade 3, I had this moment in class one day. I watched the boys go completely gaga over the new blonde girl in school. As I sat watching the scene play out before me, I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to have to take care of myself because no boy is ever going to do that for me.’
A friend of mine thought I was already preconditioned to think in this way because of my upbringing (an alcoholic father, a mother with mental illness, and to top it all off a farming step-father, who worked 14 hours a day). I spent most of my time alone.
But, I think I also saw something else at play. Our culture loves the blonde, blue-eyed ones. Those of us who are dark are made to feel inferior, undesirable, unattractive – ugly.
Years later, I read these words in the Song of Solomon:
I am very dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
like the tents of Kedar,
like the curtains of Solomon.
Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
because the sun has looked upon me.
I loved it! Now, I’m actually light-skinned (olive) to be exact, but with my dark brown hair, I felt affirmed. “I am very dark, but lovely…”
I am not quite sure why cultures value lightness. But, it also extends beyond our Western borders.
I discovered and it was recently reaffirmed that even in Sri Lanka and India, light skin is the ideal. So, if I ever do get quite desperate for a husband, I’ll only have to travel 17 hours by plane to get myself one- not bloody likely. Especially since it really annoys me that dark-skinned guys in India and Sri Lanka do the same bloody thing to women that happens to us over here.
See, we really are similar, us humans! BAH! I’d prefer it we could focus on the good similarities and try and work out the bad things.
The point to this part of the Song of Solomon is that the woman is “black, but nonetheless beautiful.”*
Celebrate who you are today – You are unique and beautiful!
I quite like Steven Spielberg. I heard a story about when they were making The Prince of Egypt. They were discussing what the voice of God sounded like. (Val Kilmer played God and Moses.) Steven Spielberg said, “It sounds like your voice.” Brilliant. And so true.
A lot of times we think the voice of God needs to be loud, to bellow at us. We need a huge sign to tell us what direction to move in life, which job to take, or not take, who to marry, who not to marry. The list goes on and on.
1 Kings 19:11-13 says, “And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?””
After the strong wind, earthquake and fire, a low whisper came and in that low whisper, the voice of the Lord.
Naaman was a commander for the King in Syria’s army. The Bible says, “He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper” (2 Kings 5:1b). In a raid the Syrians carried off a little girl from Israel who worked for Naaman’s wife. She told her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3), which I think is pretty amazing considering she was now a slave, far away from her family and home!
At any rate, Naaman went to his superior and asked for leave to go find the prophet Elisha. When he gets there he is surprised to find that the prophet sends a servant, who tells him to, “[g]o and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).
Naaman became angry and went away, but his servant convinced him to do as he was told. When he came out of the water the seventh time, his flesh was restored.
Naaman wanted the strong wind, the earthquake, the fire. What he got was a message from a servant, a whisper.
In my life I have asked for signs, wanted the BIG giant sign I couldn’t miss. I think it must have to do with my insecurities and may have a bit to do with my perfectionism. I don’t want to make a mistake, especially as a Christians or as a person of faith. I want to get it right. I don’t want to fail God or fail my mission – purpose.
But, here’s the thing – I am not God. He can still work even when I mess up. (Notice, “when” not “if”?)
We will all make mistakes and that’s okay. I don’t even know if we can make a wrong decision. I think Christians can over-spiritualize everything. (There are definitely things or career paths we shouldn’t choose, but as my pastor pointed out in one example, unless you hear a clear direction on God, it’s okay to leave the job you hate!)
I can’t count how many times in the Bible God tells us, “Do not worry”, “Be anxious for nothing”… God is in the whisper.
Here’s a little clip from Steven Spielberg called, Listen to the Whisper (I first saw this speech on CareerJoy’s blog, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15501eac8c9bde8f)