My last post on The Jesus Ripple Effect seemed to resonate with many of my readers. In it I pondered the radical life of simply following the Lord through turning away from sin and loving others. So I’m revisiting a post from over a year ago while I prepare to blog over the Christmas season. This blog post was titled The Radical Ordinary. In it, I reminded myself that living a simple life as a Christian can be radical.
This Thanksgiving I happen to be pondering how thankful I am for simply living life in Christ. Sometimes I’m tempted to think that life can be mundane and that I’m missing out on something. I mistakenly accept the lie that I should be doing something “bigger.” I take for granted the blessing of simply living the abundant radical life in Christ. If you struggle with the same at times, I pray you find this post encouraging.
I also pray that you find joy in the abundant radical life in Christ this season. Happy Thanksgiving!
Do you ever need strength and courage to live just an ordinary day?
Sometimes I feel like I’m washing dishes all day. Like today. I could almost promise you that I stood at the sink non-stop. I’m not complaining really. I’m thankful that I have dishes to wash because that means we had food to eat. I’m just saying that some days it seriously feels as if I washed dishes all day. Some days I feel joyful about that. Some days I feel like I might go crazy.
Tonight my little girl took out her stethoscope to check my heart. She said she could barely hear my heart. I asked her what she thought was wrong. She said that maybe it wasn’t working really good because it was night time and I was tired. I wondered if maybe it really was as cold and hard as it sounded to her.
Yesterday was a different kind of day though…no ordinary day. It was our anniversary. It wasn’t just our anniversary of marriage 8 years ago but my anniversary for entering into a more “ordinary” life. The BEST day of my life.
Before marrying my husband I enjoyed living a somewhat exciting lifestyle. I enjoyed traveling around the country for a sales job and living in the inner city of St. Louis doing missions work among refugees. I was drawn to the idea of living a radical life for Christ. For me, that played out in leaving St. Louis county and moving to the inner city with a few other like-minded friends. It seems that the moment I married, my entire life turned completely upside down. It wasn’t just my status: Single to Married. In the year that I married, I went from the previously mentioned lifestyle to living in a small town (my hometown) and leaving my job to stay home with our first child which was born just before our first anniversary. I felt that my entire identity had been altered. Although I loved my new life, I also felt it went from being exciting and a bit “radical” to quite ordinary.
This ordinary life can feel hard some days because Jesus calls me to love my husband and children well. There are all kinds of ordinary moments that must be attended to. Dishes, laundry, guinea pig cage, dog, laundry, dishes, homeschool, make food, dishes, food, dishes, food, dishes!!! All of this ordinary stuff which adds up to ultimately loving my family well. These miniscule acts that, if left undone, leaves a family undone.
It takes courage and strength. And really I don’t have it. I don’t have what it takes in my flesh to love my family well all of the time. But I do have Jesus.
Thank God I have Jesus and He is showing a selfish girl how to yield to His Spirit in everyday ordinary life. Even on days when my heart feels cold and my little girl tells me something is wrong. I wouldn’t give up a single moment of this ordinary life for a day of what I had before.
But for some reason today had it’s harder-than-normal moments. So I’m thankful for a blog post that I stumbled upon. It was a blog post written over at The Well Blog by Trish Harrison Warren. It helped me to see anew that perhaps the ordinary life isn’t so ordinary. That it is truly extraordinary when we choose not to wallow negatively in the ordinariness of it. But to see it for what it is. She said:
“Now, I’m a thirty-something with two kids living a more or less ordinary life. And what I’m slowly realizing is that, for me, being in the house all day with a baby and a two-year-old is a lot more scary and a lot harder than being in a war-torn African village [She had been there before]. What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life. Caring for a homeless kid is a lot more thrilling to me than listening well to the people in my home. Giving away clothes and seeking out edgy Christian communities requires less of me than being kind to my husband on an average Wednesday morning or calling my mother back when I don’t feel like it.”
Does anyone else feel that? If you’re not married stay with me here because perhaps you find it hard to / need courage to love your neighbor, your family, a challenging friend or co-worker(s).
I think she’s onto something. Loving the people in our lives well is the single most radical thing we can do. It makes the ordinary extraordinary. It’s radical because Jesus Christ commands it. It’s what He did perfectly. It’s what sets the Christian apart from the world.
Or maybe the most radical thing in the world is to live well a life that isn’t just ordinary but a great disappointment. Maybe it is a disappointment because you’re not married or maybe it’s a disappointment because you are. Maybe your marriage and / or family itself isn’t a disappointment but there are many disappointments within it.
A friend told me this week that she plans on living a victorious life trusting God is working in her and in her situation despite the fact that so many seasons and aspects of her life have been and are hugely disappointing. Though she doesn’t feel God has blessed her in many areas, she is choosing to trust God that He is still there caring for her and active in her life.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12: 30-31).
Is it any wonder that the greatest commandment was this? This is how we love well and this is how the world will know Christ.
By continuing to love God and trust Him and love others well in this ordinary life of ours.
I’ll finish this post with Trish Harrison Warren’s final paragraphs of her blog post: