I’ve never been fat. Chubby, yes. Squishy, sure. But according to my doctor, my BMI puts me in the just-barely-average range. “I would suggest not putting on any more weight,” was her advice to me last time I had a checkup. Words every woman wants to hear: that she’s teetering on the edge of being overweight and one more plate of nachos could send her right over.
I’ve also never been skinny. I’ve never had the pointy edges of my bones show through my clothes, and I’ve definitely never been told that I look like I need to eat something. I’ve always been somewhere in between. Normal. Average.
It’s that way with most things. I’m not a model, but I’ve never been called ugly. I’m not a genius, but I’m smart enough to survive in most bearable conversations. And if I’m not smart enough, I can usually make a joke about it and hope people don’t notice. I’m funny but not funniest-person-you’ve-ever-met funny. You get it.
It’s taken me years to make peace with falling somewhere in the middle. Listen, I’m not typing this in a pool of my own tears. I’m not here to elicit a thread of sympathetic comments about how special I am. I KNOW I’m special. I’m unique and quirky and thoughtful and caring and a list of lots of other things that make me who I am. We all have our own lists, and it’s a beautiful thing that each of us is built so differently. Trust me, every time I meet medical professionals, I tell them I’m thankful there are people in the world who can handle needles on a regular basis without crying. (I mean, needle-induced crying is purely hypothetical, of course.)
I’ve been in a small group with my sisters and some dear friends for a couple months. Just last night we had a conversation about doubts. One of our discussion questions was something like “Are there things in your life that make you doubt God can use you?” I didn’t know quite how to contribute an answer at the time, maybe because I didn’t want to admit I’ve ever struggled with such a thing. Of course I’ve always believed God can use me! I have so much to offer!
But the question has been on my mind for the past 24 hours, and now I know why. I’ve repeatedly let doubts keep me from fully experiencing adventure with God — from being vulnerable and open enough to allow Him to use me to the fullest extent. I’ve spent so much time buying into the idea that I’m an average person that I’ve often disregarded what He’s placed in my heart that makes me extraordinary.
And I don’t want to forget those things ever again. My passions. The loves of my life and bits of my DNA that, quite literally, make my heart beat.
By the world’s standards, I may be just a normal girl. But I think I’m finally at a point in my life where I can break out of that box. After all, God has used average people for incredible purposes throughout all of history! Mary and Joseph were just a normal couple until He got ahold of them. He didn’t choose royalty or the wealthiest or smartest people to raise His son. He chose two people who were faithful to Him and, despite being scared to death, answered “yes.” I have to constantly remind myself of that when I ignore the nudge.
You know the nudge.
It’s that undeniable feeling that God’s calling you to do something. Ok, maybe it’s less of a nudge and more of a push off the ledge, free-falling down to the point of no return. And it’s scary! I’ve ignored it so many times, thinking someone more qualified should do the job. That someone more outgoing would be able to reach more people. I’ve even told myself that someone more spiritual would be better suited for the task at hand.
But I don’t want to ignore the nudge anymore on account of how the world may classify me. I want to embrace “average” for what it is but live beyond it. I want to wake up every morning and ask God to use me DESPITE my doubts. To admit that I’m a normal girl to the world, unique in His eyes, and I’m meant for amazing things.
There’s a continuously unfolding story only I can tell, and maybe it should start something like this:
I’m Tara. I have an average BMI. I earn the median household income. I got average SAT and GRE scores. But I’m the only person like me, and I’ve been called to live an extraordinary life.