When I was studying film and TV in grad school, my dream was to become an executive producer in Hollywood. I was determined to make a big difference for Christ in the trenches of Tinseltown, intent on affecting media from the inside out.  

It’s been four years since graduation, and my address is nowhere near California. Instead, I live in middle-class suburbia. I have keys to a minivan, not a production van. My ministry isn’t at studios, executive offices and movie sets; it’s at the post office, grocery store and my own home.

Too small?

There are days when I struggle with not making the "big" difference I’d dreamed about. I long to do something more "significant" than changing diapers, to rise above my nondescript life – nondescript because it’s far from the ideal I’ve been taught in the media, in education and even by some well-meaning Christian leaders: "Dream big! You can do anything!" 

With this ideal ingrained in me, I honestly thought I’d someday leave a huge mark on the world. After all, big dreams equal big impact, and I had big dreams. But somewhere along the way my ambitious dreams didn’t pan out.

I now receive regular e-mail updates on what my former classmates are doing. Many of them are influencing Hollywood. When I read of their accomplishments, I sometimes ponder, Why them and not me?

Called here

Right now, God expects me to enjoy my Christian adventure in a quiet, seemingly uneventful life, marked by the day-to-day of loving God, my family and those within my community. As I do this, I choose the approach so perfectly captured by early 20th-century writer G.K. Chesterton: "Being contented ought to mean in English, as it does in French, ‘being pleased.’ Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and being resigned to live in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position."

I shouldn’t despise where God has placed me in this season. Nor should I resign to live a comfortably mediocre life. I need to approach each day with the sort of contentment that seeks to make the most of it.

When Paul, Silas and Timothy, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, instructed the Thessalonians to aspire to live quietly, they weren’t telling them to sit back and focus on themselves. They were instructing them to be content. You and I are called to do the same, because the truth is, though many of us aren’t doing what we once dreamed, we can still change our world for Christ by small but significant actions.

Godliness by example. We’ve all heard the saying, "Actions speak louder than words." We can influence those around us by being a living example of what we believe in a humble, deferential manner.

Influence the next generation. Whether we’re parents, aunts or uncles, grandparents or family friends, we can teach the next generation to love and serve God. Contrary to popular opinion, this is one of the most important things we can do.

Love our literal neighbors. Take the time to forge and foster relationships with them. Stop to talk with them when they’re out in their yards. Look for ways to help elderly neighbors or military families with a deployed mom or dad.

For those of us who are living "nondescript" lives, we can make the most of our earthly adventure by our love for God and our love for others. Some do this in Hollywood. Me? I’m doing it in suburbia.

© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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