I came across a thought we might want to consider this morning: "Only the mediocre are at their best." (Jean Giraudoux) Well, that certainly puts it right out there, doesn't it? There are days I feel pretty good about what I accomplish, while others just pass without me really doing all that much. How do you I think I feel about those days when I don't accomplish much? Usually I am a little bit discouraged by my 'lack' of 'doing', but I am learning to 'do' less and 'listen' more - not because I don't want to 'do' something, but because I have learned it is easier to do it once than repeat the same failures time and time again!Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?— and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at— the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! (Psalm 90:12-17)
Life isn't about 'doing' as much as it is about doing 'well' the things we are called to do. When we ask God to teach us to live well - living with wisdom and making right choices - we are about to be rewarded with a whole lot more than the 'mediocre' we can produce on our own. What is God 'best at' in your life? Go ahead and answer that one right now. If I were to answer this, I'd have to begin by saying he is 'best at' setting things right in my life that I have managed to get wrong. There are a whole lot of things in life I set out to do that God will never 'confirm' as the 'right' thing for me to be doing - those are the things he somehow 'sets right' in all his grace, love, and wisdom. I don't know how he does it, but each time I settle for the 'mediocre' in my life, he comes along and changes my perspective to desire more.
Why is that? God wants us to always be 'at our best' - he knows settling for 'mediocre' is not going to ever get us to that point. How many times have you been 'surprised' by God's love? I cannot possibly count the times his grace has rushed over my life, filling me afresh with a sense of his deep and passionate love for this one gal out of so many others he has created on this earth. When I am not 'at my best', he is right there to encourage me to get up, start afresh (not just start again). There is a difference between starting 'again' and starting 'afresh'. If we always do what we have always done (starting again), we will always get what we have always gotten (meaning we need to start yet once again).
God changes our 'again' into 'afresh' because he knows the only way to be free from the mediocre choices we make is to be filled with his grace. It is his grace that teaches us - that shows us there is something other than what we have always done that will lead us into something we have never known before. The 'barely adequate' choices we make are somehow transformed into the 'more than exceptional' ones he desires for us. The poor choices are no longer appealing to us. I don't always understand how God changes my 'again' into an 'afresh' start, but I do know he is always faithful to do just that. Maybe what many of us need is not just another 'again' moment, but rather a truly 'afresh' moment. Just sayin!