Breaking Free from Mediocrity
The temptation to live a life that has no impact in this world can get strong at times. (Didn’t think I would start a blog with that statement did ya?!)
Maybe you’re reading this and your thinking, “Not me Melissa! I want to do big things with my life and change the world.” If this is you, that’s awesome! I’m so glad you have a passion to make a difference in this world. But the thing is, a lot of people start this way, but finishing and making dreams a reality is a whole other picture.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”
This is my life verse. I remember finding this verse when I first became a Christian. It struck a chord within me. It was like God was saying, “If you just trust and follow Me, I can do more in you than you ever could on your own.” Eight years into following God, and He has proven this verse to be true many times. He is faithful to His word.
Before I chose to follow Jesus, I had nothing going for me. No plans, no direction, no dreams. I had no clue what to do with my life. I was anything but a “go-getter” and a “dream-chaser.” I couldn’t even think of a dream I wanted to chase! But then, Jesus grabbed a hold of my heart. He transformed me from the inside out and infused me with dreams, passion, and purpose- all rooted in my love for Him. I wouldn’t be who I am today and doing what I do with my life if it wasn’t for Jesus changing me.
As we follow God with our whole heart, He is going to give us dreams and vision for the future. He is going to speak to our hearts about the plans He has for us. Psalm 130:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God has all your days written out. He knows where you are right now, and sees every second of your future. He has designed you to fulfill plans that you were destined for, all for the mission of God to reach every man, woman, and child for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s exciting. It’s invigorating. And it’s hard.
Anything that’s worth living for doesn’t come easy. So many of us (me included) want the easy road. We don’t want to fail, face trials, or tribulations. In our nature we don’t want to sacrifice to make God’s dreams a reality. But this is what it takes. If you want to fulfill God’s plans for your life, it takes dying to self, allowing God's spirit to empower you, and becoming a living sacrifice for God to move through you to change the world.
What I find interesting about Ephesians 3:20 (“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”) is that the author of this verse, Paul, wrote it while he was in prison. We can see this at the beginning of this chapter. Ephesians 3:1 says, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—“
When I first discovered this verse as a brand new believer, my mind automatically went to numbers. By this I mean it went to how many people God could use me to reach, how big something could be, how great of a life I could have, etc. But once again, Paul wrote this in prison. He wasn’t in the greatest of circumstances and yet he wrote “Now to Him who is able to do far more than all we ask or think…” You know what I learn from this?
Breaking free from mediocrity isn’t just about quantity (how many people I can reach, how much money I can make, how big something can be), it’s about quality (complete faithfulness to Jesus even when things seem insignificant).
Paul was making a difference in prison. Even though he was in chains, it didn’t stop him from preaching the gospel and making an impact for the kingdom of God. We need to have the same mindset as Paul- that no matter where life may take me, I will choose to be faithful to God right where He has me. (And what’s amazing is that God did use Paul in ways he probably couldn’t even fathom- the words Paul wrote inspired by God are still being read, preached, and believed today, thousands of years after he wrote it.)
Our generation is so consumed with getting people to like and follow us. We want to show everyone how incredible our life is on social media, and we wasted precious time that could be used to actually do some good in this world. I like social media, and I have it. But when I fall into the temptation of followers and the quantity of how many people I can reach, I lose sight of the quality of my relationship with Jesus.
Living past mediocrity isn’t just about quantity- how many people know your name, how much money you make, how big of an impact you can have. Living past mediocrity means making an impact even if no one knows your name. It means being faithful to the One who does know your name, and you remain steadfast regardless of where life may take you.
I began this blog with talking about the temptation to sit back and not doing anything worth-while with our lives. I can guarantee you will face this temptation throughout your journey of following God and following His will for your life. But do you know the number one key to fulfilling His plans without giving up?
It’s found in the few verses before Ephesians 3:20…
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
His love for you is what will keep you going. When you're entire life is rooted in love for Jesus, it doesn't matter what will come your way. You will keep pushing forward because your life belongs to Him.
Following Jesus is more than just checking off a list of accomplishments. Following Him begins when you realize how much He loves you. When you encounter His love, there is nothing that will strip you from Himself. No matter what you face, what trial may come, or what sacrifice you need to make, you will do it because you love Him and want to show Him your love through your entire life.
Being rooted and grounded in God’s love is the key to breaking free of mediocrity and living the quality of life Jesus died to give you. When we live for impressing people, gaining money, or building our own kingdoms, we will never be fulfilled. We will jump from experience to experience, always looking for that next high. Jesus is the only One who can give us constant fulfillment no matter where life takes us.
God’s love for us is what will keep us on the straight and narrow. His love for us is what will keep our hearts in check and live with pure motives. God wants to use each of us to make an impact that reaches beyond ourselves, but the outcome of that is always up to Him, not us. Don’t use your time trying to make God’s plans fit in your life the way you want them to. Use your time to be faithful to God, and let Him work out the outcome in His way and time.
No matter how hard life may get, keep pushing forward. Ask God to continue to reveal His love to you in ways that would compel your surrender to Him. His plans are far greater than anything, anything you could ever do on your own. His love for you is better than life itself.