The idea of an adventure sounds exciting. Who doesn’t want epic tales of bravery and grandeur, dragons slain, giants defeated, treasure discovered? But when I look at my own life, the ordinariness of it is a stark contrast to the grand adventure story in my head.
There are dishes and vacuuming. There are diapers and laundry. There is grocery shopping and trips to the dentist. There are taxes and emails. There are head colds and naps. Very ordinary.
In Joanna DeWolf‘s article “Life is just so daily” (which can be found here) she talks about the difficulty she finds connecting her lofty ideas and how they actually play out in everyday life. I think her title says it all. Life is just so daily. I love the conclusion she draws after a talk with a friend.
One day I was having lunch with a friend who is currently in full time ministry. Somewhere in the middle of a lengthy conversation, she said, “I want to tell you what an example it is for me that you are obeying God by staying home with your children right now. I know it is difficult for you but you still choose obedience. Your life encourages me to obey God.” That’s when it hit me. Well-known leaders often inspire and challenge us but it is the “daily life” leaders who deeply influence us. It is our mothers and fathers, our community members, our neighbors who imprint God’s Kingdom ideas in our lives. I’ve often preached that the key to life is not balance but obedience, but when I live it day after day those around me take notice.
My heart seems to crave a more glamorous life, one where what I’m asked to do is impressive and heroic. But the things Jesus is asking me to do seem to be much more mundane. Obedience isn’t always as exciting or adventurous as I might think I want. So often obedience is much more everyday. Pray for a friend. Send a letter. Change a diaper. Kiss a baby. Help at youth group. Make dinner for someone. Listen to my husband. Clean the bathroom. Show up. Love well. Here. Today. In the everyday, ordinary, mundane stuff.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about starting where we are, not the complicated situation we seem to wish we were in, the one that is so much exciting and adventurous.
When you start mathematics you do not begin with calculus; you begin with simple addition. In the same way, if we really want (but all depends on really wanting) to learn to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo. One might start with forgiving one’s husband or wife, or parents or children, for something they have done or said in the last week. That will probably keep us busy for the moment.
As much as I wish I had some epic adventure to report, I think I’d rather be here, even if it is less exciting than what I might imagine. I’d rather tell the story Jesus has for me, even if there is less swash-buckling in it. I’d rather have a life of quiet faithfulness.
I’m finding that courage doesn’t always look like what the hero does in the story, swooping in and saving the day. Sometimes courage is the person in the background, quietly and faithfully doing what is their’s to do. I may wish to have the spotlight and be cast as the hero, but I know in my heart that Jesus always tells the best stories. Whatever role he has put me in is where I am best used.