How Can My Ordinary Life Make an Extraordinary Difference in the World?

by Sally Matheny

How can my ordinary life make a difference?
(Pixabay photo)
Ordinary. We all feel it.

As we age, we wonder. Are we making a difference in the world?

In the end, we want our lives to have mattered. To have lived with purpose and in such a way that brought about significant change.

Many people work like a whirlwind, searching and striving to accomplish some grand something.

Others have their life gauge set on survival mode or shift to mediocre living the rest of their days.  

There is another way to live. Our ordinary lives can make an extraordinary difference in the world.  

I’ve been reading a powerful book, Kisses from Katie, about how a 19-year-old from Brentwood, Tennessee, who went on a short-term mission trip to Uganda in 2006. Her obedience to go where God was calling her, and her willingness to continue following Him, changed her ordinary life to an extraordinary one.

By the time she was twenty-three-years-old, Katie had established a non-profit organization to help 400 impoverished children in Uganda. She adopted fourteen orphaned girls and raised them as a single parent living in Uganda while running the non-profit. The Lord blessed her with a husband a few years ago and they have now added a son to their family.

Because I fit all of that into one paragraph, it makes it sound wonderfully amazing. It is! But you need to read Kisses from Katie to learn of the enormous challenges she has faced daily for over a decade to get a true picture—to understand the magnitude of the poverty, deadly diseases, and violence. To get a glimpse of the dark hopelessness and see the blessing of how God is working in the midst of it.

Not only did Katie’s life shift from ordinary to extraordinary, but because of her willingness to reach out, hundreds upon hundreds of other lives are thriving in exceptional ways and making a difference in the world.

Kisses from Katie

Katie’s story is mindboggling. And wonderful. And overwhelming.

It makes me want to love big, deep, and wide. I thought I already loved like that but I think I’m falling short.

Comfortably short.

Perhaps your family is like mine and supports missionaries and sponsors children through non-profit organizations. That’s good! We need to do those things.

We’ve even been blessed to participate in short-term missions over the years. Reading Katie's story reminds me it's time to get back out of my climate-controlled, sterile environment. Perhaps it's time to venture into unfamiliar territory again.

But, also God is bringing to my attention, to pay attention. I need to pay more attention to the people He brings in my path right where I am, today.

There are times when my ordinary slips by without me noticing. When I’m grocery shopping, running errands and keeping appointments. When I’m homeschooling, answering phone calls, or conducting a meeting.

Sometimes I forget that in every ordinary moment is an opportunity to make an extraordinary difference in the world.

We don’t have to go to Uganda. That was God's plan for Katie.

It’s not where we live, but how we love. God wants to work in us right where we are at this moment. He may call us to travel across the world or just across the street. But, I’m quite sure, at some point, He will call us to move out of our comfy corner.

It's not an easy thing to ask God to shake up what we’ve grown accustomed to and use us however He sees fit.

It requires courage to trust God step-by-step. He wants us to let go of our fears. Rely on Him, not on ourselves, or on other things in this world.

What amazing miracles might we miss because we choose to go only as far as what we trust our own knowledge and strength to take us?

It does not matter what we think we are capable or incapable of doing. What matters is what we believe God can do.

God commands us to love people, to use whatever He’s given us to share His truth and His love with others.

In the ordinary moments, we can choose to join God as He does something extraordinary.

All we have to do is stop and pay attention to who He brings into our lives each day. It may be a person across the world or across the street. Someone we live with or a total stranger. Some soul needs us to pause and show them the love and compassion of Christ.

Not just tell…


Put down the cell phone, the remote, the to-do list. Whatever it is. Just for a moment, stop rushing to the next “thing.”

Take time to really look at the people God places in front of us. See them as Jesus sees them. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting on how to love them.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of these my brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”    Matthew 25:40

Yes, we can burn out trying to do too much. We must ask God for wisdom in setting healthy boundaries.

But we must also pray for discernment. Are we creating boundaries or building barriers?

Who will God bring into our ordinary day?

Seize the moment to make an extraordinary difference through love.


  1. Sounds like a good read. I'm going to check it out. I enjoy reading accounts of how other Christians have answered God's call on their lives.

    1. Oh, Cathy, you would love this book! I'm nearing the end and I have loved every page. She has another book out I want to get after I finish this one. Have a joyful day, Cathy!


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