I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I call “walking the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.” When we are called of God, chosen by Him, and anointed for His purpose, we are constantly pursuing spiritual things while still having to live and walk in this world and in this earthly body. We still have things we seek as people, and then coupled with spiritual pursuits, we are walking that fine line between what we may seek as people and the many things we begin to seek in the spiritual realm.
People who haven’t had real intense experience with spiritual things tend to approach the issue much like we do when we are first coming to the accepted realization about encountering the “extraordinary.” People are, “Oh, I wish that I had that kind of experience!” “Wow, I wish I had that kind of insight!” Initially we are all, “wow!” and crazy over what God is doing. The extraordinary dominates our thoughts. We want to know more, seek more, and experience more. What others fail to realize – and we, ourselves, as well in the beginning – is that walking with the extraordinary becomes like anything else in our lives. As much as it might seem wrong to admit it, it is the truth. The more we walk with God and experience the things of God, the less we think about them. There are positives and negatives to this. The positive side is that walking with God becomes a part of our lives. It becomes so much a part of it, we stop thinking about it; it is as natural as breathing. We don’t always feel anointed or particularly set apart for something because we aren’t doing it for ourselves. It’s a part of who we are; of our very being. The negative side is, that in considering it a part of our ordinary existence, we don’t always approach the extraordinary with much excitement. It’s something we do, on a regular basis, and unless something really out-of-our-ordinary happens…we don’t think much about it.
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”
Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”
The angel answered,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.
“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.”
(Luke 1:28-38, MSG)
After leaving the Catholic Church, the first Biblical character who caught my eye was Mary, mother of Jesus. We don’t have a flood of information on Mary, and as a result, people have spent the past two thousand years filling in blanks about her. Oftentimes these blanks are quite inaccurate. When studying about Mary and her life, I was very aware of the ways in which tradition embellished on her to the point where we lost sight of who she was as a person. I’d heard about Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” and “Mother of God,” but I realized in this pursuit to over-accentuate her extraordinary that they lost sight of who she was in the ordinary realm. Other traditions reduce her extraordinary and over-accentuate her ordinary: she was just Jesus’ mother, and no one or nothing else. Mary was not a goddess, nor an idol; she was not divine; but she was also more than just Jesus’ mother. Mary was a person; she was herself; she had an experience with God; she was Mary. She was someone who, day in and day out, walked the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Sure, she’d had an angelic encounter and became the mother of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us; but she also still had to live her life everyday, with dishes to be done, a house to clean, and a child to raise. She still had her own opinions and perspectives about things in the culture of her day and she still had aspirations, interests, and personal goals. Even though she’d had this major encounter with God, it probably didn’t feel all that major after awhile, because it was still a part of her life – it was a part of who she was. Walking the extraordinary, she was still surrounded by the ordinary, and still had things that needed focus and attending to. It might have been a nice idea to picture her sitting around, glowing all day…but that’s just not what happened. She still went on to get married, have other children, maintain her life and family, and yes, eventually, even delving deeper into the spiritual realm as the opportunity presented itself to her.
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
(Luke 1:46-55, MSG)
I am not sure what we expect of those who have extraordinary experiences and walks with God today, and, even more so, what we expect of ourselves. We are still people, walking out everyday life. We still have bills to pay, responsibilities to meet, chores to do, and life to lead. We are still people who like the things we like: good food, good music, good movies, enjoyable company, friends, and general life. Things still interest us, be they hobbies or pursuits. Some still want to be married, have families, enjoy a good night out, and yeah, still, even if you don’t want to get married, we all know an attractive person still turns your head and makes you appreciate what the good Lord created. We are called of God, walking that fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary, but that doesn’t mean we cease wanting or doing normal things. And yes, at times, it gets very hard to find that balance between the ordinary and the spiritual. We are all still people. It doesn’t make us less anointed, it just means that we are trying to figure out how we can “walk with God” and maintain the sense of God’s presence in our lives as He works within us to become more authentic versions of the people He has created us to be.
(c) 2014 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.