The Ministry of Mediocrity

It came at a time that I needed it most. I was knee deep in comparisons; trying to keep up with the Joneses (and failing miserably) and that’s when I read it.  A friend of mine wrote a blog post about her “ministry of mediocrity.”  This was years ago and she doesn’t blog anymore but recently I contacted her to ask if I could write about it here. I still think about that post often and I’m so thankful she said yes.  It has to do with the “purpose” side of home-keeping, hospitality.  And it has nothing to do with a perfectly made bed, fluffed pillows, or a well curated gallery wall.

It has to do with being mediocre.

So what is this ministry of mediocrity, exactly?  Well, it could mean inviting friends over to hang out with a sink/counter/table full of dishes and not apologizing for them.  It could also mean not shaving your legs or repainting your chipped toe nail polish and still wearing shorts and sandals because its hot outside.  Its remembering that we’re all human, nobody’s perfect, and revealing your own imperfections creates a space for true connection.  Sound scary?  Maybe it is, a little.  But its also brave and leads to intimacy and realness- creating a sense of belonging that we all crave.

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When we furiously scrub our houses, selves, and lives to gleaming perfection before interacting with anyone, we give this impression that this is how life really is.  We appear untouchable and unreachable. Our homes may be even a little uncomfortable.

But what if instead of perfection we purposefully aimed for mediocrity with the intent of ministering to others?  What if we aimed for just “good enough” housekeeping?  Just “good enough” cooking, party-throwing, hair-fixing, decorating?  Whatever it is that eats you up because you’re just not perfect or its just not your thing- let it go. Enough of this super-woman “I-can-do-it-all” lie.  When we reveal our imperfections to one another, we actually minister to eachother, saying “you are free to be exactly who you are.”

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When someone invites me in from the perspective of a ministry of mediocrity, I feel at ease, I feel comfortable. I know they are more interested in connection and friendship rather than creating a mirage of perfection. I am allowed to be myself and reveal my own imperfections: messy house, unshaven legs, at times ill-behaved children, and all.  They have ministered to my soul by just being themselves: which is at times genuinely, perfectly mediocre.

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11 Responses to The Ministry of Mediocrity

  1. Danni May 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    Love this!

    • Bethany May 11, 2016 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you, Danni!

  2. Courtney May 10, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Thank you, Bethany! Enjoyed this. And shout out to my pal- Dacia. 😉

    • Bethany May 11, 2016 at 8:12 am #

      Thanks Courtney! 🙂

  3. Sally May 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    I really, really appreciated this post! I’m in the middle of burning the candle at both ends and failing….I too, am much more comfortable with mediocrity and friends who care about me, not what I have or what I can do for them. Thanks!

    • Bethany May 11, 2016 at 8:13 am #

      I appreciate that, Sally. Yes it is such a blessing to have friends like that! xoxo

  4. Asha Suresh May 10, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    Well said ! The woman of today multitasks so much that she is bound to be ( a lil ) less than perfect in matters of the home.

    I am still learning not to rush around like a whirlwind cleaning up before guests arrive …but i .
    am slowly getting there.

    Thanks Beth !.. a very meaningful post

    • Bethany May 11, 2016 at 8:13 am #

      Thank you so much, Asha. I am in process of learning that lesson as well.

  5. Sue May 14, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    Yes. Very interesting. And isn’t it ironic that as we strive to simplify and streamline our lives and expectations in the domestic sphere, hopefully freeing us to pursue more meaningful endeavors and relationships, we often find ourselves increasingly devoted to developing and maintaining our social media lives.

    • Bethany May 14, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

      Interesting observation, Sue. And I think that’s why it’s so important to strive for vulnerability and honesty in real life relationships (and online as well!). Today’s technology offers a great deal of wonderful ways we can connect but also more opportunities to compare our failures & insecurities to others’ “highlight reels” Its a perfect storm for perfectionism and isolation, which is why I see the need now more so than ever for this ministry of mediocrity in our real life relationships. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  6. Tamara Johnson May 31, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    I love, love, love this Bethany!
    ~a very refreshing perspective~

    Really happy i found your blog!
    Thank you!

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