I was so full of  nerves. I was about to meet 7 bloggers who I’ve read and admired from afar for some time now. I’ve even been nervous about interacting with them online since I had this idea that they were “bigger bloggers” (whatever that means) than I and might not be interested in talking to a nobody.

Rachel, Elizabeth, me, and Jana in Miami

But it was like meeting old friends. We were all so excited to see people we sort of knew after flying alone to Miami. We’re all behind World Vision and child sponsorship 100%. Everyone grinned, hugged, and settled right into a happy team of world travelers. We’ve talked each other through take-off, turbulence, and landing, we’ve shared headache medicine and fellow-passenger stories, and we’ve distracted each other from home-sickness when the tears started dripping.

We’re all of us just ordinary people.

I can hear some of you now (hi honey! Hi Mom!) saying, “Joy! There are no ordinary people!”

I agree and I disagree.

Yes, God created each of us unique and special. Yes, God has a very specific purpose for us. And yes, God has given each of us different skills, talents, interests, and personalities. Elizabeth Esther may not be good with metaphor, but she’s hilarious and direct and makes peace with people. Nish can’t sleep on planes and hates numbers but she knows how to fill out a customs form and has a skilled eye for photography. I’m really scatterbrained and may or may not have already left my phone on a seat at the airport (thank you God for grace from the passenger who turned it in), but I am your mobile tech support and can find my way through blog code.

But when we start to idolize people and either hang back (like I do) or fawn over them, we are elevating some over others on the basis of an artificial yard stick. We in North America are especially fond of measures like fetes of strength or musical performances or money in the bank or page views on a website.

I’ve seen this hurt those who have significant deficits in one area or another – the differently-abled who can’t run track because of their wheelchair or heart condition, the lover of music who can’t sing or coordinate their fingers to play an instrument, the poor who are trapped in a system that rewards laziness, the small blogger who writes beautiful words in relative obscurity.

I’ve also seen this hurt the one who excelled for awhile on the yard stick and then….  didn’t.

By saying that we’re all ordinary people, I am breaking that artificial yard-stick across my knee and throwing it out the door.

I have no more intrinsic value if I can run a five-minute mile or hit a home run, if I can play Moonlight Sonata from memory, if I am successful and rich, or if I have a “popular blog” (whatever that means).

You and I are the same – we’re people made in the image of God who give God joy when we use the gifts given to us.

And so are the people of Bolivia. They are image-bearers with assets to be developed and gifts to be exercised for the mutual benefit of all.

We’re just ordinary people.

A few thoughts tapped out yesterday as I winged my way across the equator towards Bolivia.

Sponsor in Bolivia