Sound a little extreme? Maybe so. But have you tried our brand new soup made from powdered unicorn horn, camels milk and babies breath? Guaranteed success every time. You will not believe the results. In fact, if you give the same dedication to this soup regimen that you give to all your other efforts to be healthy and save money, you will absolutely flush another $39.99 down the toilet in less than thirty seconds! Sign here please…
What is it about the human race that loves extremes so much? Marketers know all about this proclivity and they capitalize on it in 100% of their advertising. “This revolutionary laundry soap will remove every single stain your children could possibly inflict upon their clothing and give you a massage!” People involved in movements of some kind use it as well. Politicians clearly think we’re insane with the claims they make. “If you vote for me, I’ll make sure education is completely overhauled, that no one is ever hungry again, that platinum health benefits are free to every American, that your dogs will live to be 35 instead of 15.” There is no such thing as a moderate political claim.
I might be slightly exaggerating but seriously, when was the last time you saw an honest ad? “This pill will help you feel slightly better than before you took it. So it’s likely a very good idea.” “I will try not to completely destroy your country while I’m in office and will make every effort to improve on a few things.” “This stain remover will take care of a few of the things that your kid can get into, but won’t even think about touching that bloody grass stain.” Oh gosh no. Everything is the end of the world, or the cure for it. And if you don’t do it, you’ll die. Alone. Broke and miserable and no one will come to your funeral.
How many people do you know who categorize themselves as OCD? And how many of them do you know who are actually, clinically OCD? My answer is like, 200 and honestly, probably 1. I know one person in all the people who are self diagnosed with OCD who could probably benefit from a medical diagnosis. Most of us who claim this are just intolerant of imperfection and hard to deal with. OCD has nothing to do with it, and frankly, calling ourselves OCD is possibly insulting to those with the clinical condition. We should probably just go ahead and admit that we’re selfish and demanding. Is there a pill we can take for that?
My mom and dad taught us good words. Big words that most people don’t learn all their lives, much less when they’re seven. The first of these good words was discretion. I didn’t know the full depth of its meaning at the time, but they employed it when they were allowing us to decide how many cookies we should eat, how late we were going to stay up and so forth. They would say, “use discretion” as we sprinted for the candy bag. What a brilliant thing to teach a child. Synonymous with “Think before you put 12 cookies on your plate. If you stay up til midnight how will you feel for school tomorrow? Remember that everything you do now has consequences later.” Use discretion. Humanity needs this phrase. It’s a game changer.
While we are inundated with miracle cures, fantastical claims, ego boosting platitudes to reach for the stars … remember to use discretion. Remember that ordinary is actually a pretty wonderful place to be and it’s reality. A friend of mine recently sent our study group an article called “The Power of an Ordinary Life”, that you can read if you click here. It was full of beauty and wonderfulness … permission for your life to be ordinary and fabulous.
So, why go with the less extreme and shoot for ordinary? Such a thought is so counter cultural it almost sounds like heresy. Here are a few reasons to consider moderation:
- It is reality. Most of us aren’t born with the talent to be all stars. The world isn’t designed that way, and that’s super great for us. We can calm down and enjoy our lives. Olympians stand out for a good reason. Bill Murray tweeted this during the Olympics and it’s almost ridiculous how much I loved it.Yes. This. Ordinary is a good place to live. We don’t all have to swim like Michael Phelps, tumble like Aly Raisman, or run like Hussein Bolt. We could just be the best versions of ourselves. I for one, am an excellent omelet maker. Come by on a Sunday night, and I will prove this non extraordinary claim.
- Usually, the one who is actually right, feels no need to scream about it. Just recently I read two articles giving opposing views about a parenting choice. One was over the top, obnoxiously omniscient throughout and claimed that if you weren’t making her choice, you supported killing babies. The other was professional, quiet, made good points and addressed as many concerns as possible in as calm a voice as possible. Guess which one I put more stock in. Ignore the extreme claims and believe the non anxious research. It might not be as eye catching, so it’s probably telling you the truth. We have neither the time nor the motivation to live our lives in extremes of perfection, so believe in reality and be happy.
- There is Biblical precedent for it. Philippians 4:5 says “Let your moderation be known to all men…” Ecclesiastes 7:16 states “It is not good to eat too much honey…” (Unless it is raw, local honey because then it will cure everything bad that has ever happened to you…) There are hundreds of verses teaching the wisdom of contentment, satisfaction with the life God has given you and living in moderation. God gives promises of peace, joy and fulfillment for those who find their way to approaching life with discretion. Proceed accordingly. And just for the record, I love local, raw honey.
- Lastly, if you are prone to believe every screaming voice, no one will give you any attention when you find the things that are truly miraculous or horrific. I completely believe in miracles of healing, in fantastical bravery, in heroism that defies all logic. I don’t believe you can drink a protein shake that achieves these things. I believe that some actual atrocities of humanity are being allowed and perpetuated by society. Child slavery is a real thing and is probably supported by your buying choices (I’m looking at you Hershey’s chocolate squares). Sex trafficking happens and is far more prevalent than we like to think. Abortion kills actual human lives. Some things are extremely bad, and if we scream about every little thing, no one will listen when we talk about the big ones.
I’m a mom. I have enough people yelling at me and giving me guilt trips. I don’t need an add to claim to get every stain from every article of clothing, I just need ONE that will remove mildew stains. I don’t need you to claim that every nutritional choice I’m making is killing my children. I just need to know how much protein is really in that protein bar, or is it just a candy bar wrapped in green and natural brown to trick my brain into thinking it’s healthy (that’s a real thing they do. Buyer beware). Turn off your ears to the late night screamer adds and try something for yourself to see if it makes YOU feel better. Read ingredient labels so you can tell for yourself if you’re drinking lemonade or a cleverly marketed, chemical concoction. You may be healthier for it. You will definitely be more informed for it.
Enjoy your delightful, ordinary life … and always use discretion.
If you have an extraordinary, ordinary talent (such as omelet making), please tell me about it in the comments. Let’s spend a few minutes glorying in the way we were uniquely designed!