On Loving the Ordinary

It hardly makes our Instagram feeds or Facebook pages, but we spend most of our time living in the in-between, the ordinary, the mundane moments of life.

We trudge through our work weeks to get a break on the weekends.

We plow through the day to celebrate and kick back at night.

But what about the time in between? Do the moments and days between the big moments count for anything?

In them, we work, manage our households, provide for ourselves and our families, build friendships, create a life for ourselves, and try to keep all our ducks in a row. Those are the days filled with washing dishes, cooking dinner, packing lunches, washing laundry, mopping floors, wiping runny noses, reading bedtime stories, filing reports, checking emails, and running errands.

They are the ordinary days, the regular rhythms of our lives.

We don’t give these regular spaces much value but view them as the mindless path to the more important and productive times in our day. But more and more I see that these routines, chores and daily times of transition are the liminal spaces where we can meet God.

We need not separate the sacred from the ordinary, the “quiet times” and church attendance from our vacuuming and showering. Jesus showed up with a body that ate, slept, walked, built, taught. He told life-changing stories in fields and by mountains, shared truth around tables and while he washed feet. He listened and obeyed the Spirit at every small turn, trusting in the Father to accomplish His will through Him, step by step, person by person, meal by meal. – Aimee Kollmansberger

Did you catch that? We don’t have to separate the sacred from the ordinary. Every moment is sacred. Especially when you consider we don’t know how many more we’ll have.

There is beauty in a well-made meal, time spent with friends and family, a quiet evening alone, a project well done, a quick break to breathe deep, a brief message to encourage a friend, a doodle, a good book, art, and anything that makes us laugh.

We belittle the small moments when we discount their ability to bring us joy. When we rush through them toward the few and far between big things, we don’t do the small moments justice.

They provide the safety and predictability of rhythm when other things get too chaotic. And the simplicity and beauty of them hold so much beauty and joy.

They are the very things that keep us grounded. They fill up our lives in seemingly small ways, but when we look back, we’ll see that they were everything. They’re our normal, our solid ground, our home base.

We could be living lives that are more consistently joyful if we took just a moment to pause and realize the amazing potential our daily lives have for bringing us joy in seemingly small but noticeable ways.

 

Further reading:

On Finding God in the Pots and Pans by

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Our “Calling”

Oh, the ever-so-elusive “calling.” I can’t tell you how many articles and books I’ve read, hoping to find the one that will once and for all spell out what it is I’m supposed to do with my life. But the fact that I’m still searching proves that I have had no luck finding such an article or book.

(Hint: That’s because it doesn’t exist.)

There’s no book or article that can definitively tell me what job I should pursue, where I should live, or what my life journey will look like in detail.

Everyday, I’ve been feeling the pressure
I always gotta know the plan
It’s a weight that I’ve tried to shoulder
I thought I could, but I can’t
And I’m so tired of chasing dreams
When I am wired to let you lead

You’re changing my heart
To want what You want
To love how You love
And that is enough
There’s no greater plan
That I need to know
You only ask me to follow

-Tenth Avenue North, “What You Want”

As a Type-A control freak, I know full well how tempting it is to want to have everything planned out. I don’t like it when things don’t go the way I planned. Even worse, I don’t like it when there is no plan at all.

But when it comes to our lives, God’s will isn’t always black or white. Yes, of course He gives us commandments and guidelines (love as He has loved us, obey our fathers and mothers). But He doesn’t tell all of us to quit our jobs and travel overseas to be full-time missionaries in the traditional sense. He doesn’t expect us all to have jobs in churches, youth groups, or campus ministries.

He just asks us to love. Right here. Right where we are. Right now. Today.

He cares more about how we live than what we do. He’s more concerned about the position of our hearts than the location of our feet.

The way my pastor explained it last weekend was that God’s will isn’t a blueprint; it’s more like a game plan. Blueprints go into very fine detail and are incredibly precise. They have to be exact or things will fall apart. There’s no deviating from a blueprint. Game plans, on the other hand, are far more flexible. There are still guidelines to keep things from getting out of hand– rules to make things go more smoothly– but there is freedom within those boundaries. Changes can be made to account for different circumstances.

What I realized is that my calling was more like a life message.  A life message is less a motto and more something you become and embody in everything you do. And what I found as I was struggling in my business and wondering if I’d made a wrong turn is that I could live out my life message in any job.  While being a life coach.  While working at the World Market.  By being a copywriter.  And you can too.  – Danielle Allen, One Foot Coaching

So when you’re struggling to grasp what God’s perfect, pleasing will for you is, remember some of the things He has called us to do:

-Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt 22:36-40)

-Go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)

-Love others as He has loved us (John 13:34)

-Care for widows and orphans (James 1:27)

-Serve others in humility (John 13:14)

-Store up treasure in Heaven, not on earth (Matt 6:19-21)

That being said, we were each created uniquely, and we will impact the lives of those around us in ways others can’t. Our purpose is to discover how we can use our talents to point the world back to God.

Our job is to say yes.  God’s job is everything else. – Danielle Allen

It seems so intangible, this “purpose.” What it really comes down to is finding a way to do what you do to the glory of God. Embracing challenges. Facing fears. Taking chances. Having faith that even if you don’t see it yet, it will all work out.

God works in the imperfections. Stop worrying about getting everything right and trust God to work through your weaknesses. When we recognize our limits and God still works through them, He gets all the glory. And that’s the beauty of it. You were designed specifically for this time and place, and the world needs what you have been called to do. Begin building.

-J. Scott McElroy

We don’t have to do it perfectly. We just have to do it. We have to stop letting the fear of not doing the “right” thing keep us from doing anything at all.

And in everything you and I do, we need to love. Love God and others. In our workplaces, we are to love. We are to be light. In our homes, we are to love. In our schools, we are to love. In our neighborhoods, we are to love. In our friendships, we are to love. Regardless of what our day jobs and titles might be, our real job is to live like love wherever God has placed us.

 

Further reading:

Living Out Your Calling by Danielle Allen, One Foot Coaching

Don’t Overthink Your Calling. It’s Closer Than You Think by J. Scott McElroy, Relevant Magazine

 

Image source: www.todayschristianwoman.com