Why It Is Okay To Live An Ordinary Life

Why it's okay to live an ordinary life.

Have you ever felt like your days are just mundane, ordinary, and without the excitement you see in the lives of those around you? I’m so sorry. Sometimes, I feel that way too.

One of the “Slices of Hope” from my book, If Only It Were a Piece of Cake, is:

“Without the ordinary, there would be no extraordinary.”

And, this time of year, I can’t help but think of the shepherds who were told about Jesus’ birth. Maybe this book excerpt about those guys will encourage you today.

Carry on, friend. God works and meets us in ordinary places. I’m so thankful that He does.

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The following is an excerpt from the Discontentment and Insecurity chapter of If Only It Were a Piece of Cake – Slices of hope for life’s difficult moments

 

My favorite biblical example of ordinary people, in an ordinary place, who experienced an extraordinary moment? The shepherds to whom the angels told of Jesus’ birth. Talk about people just doing their job and getting on with life. These guys probably hadn’t had an extraordinary existence until that evening. The fact that they were shepherds in a fairly small town proves their ordinariness. Not kings. Not movie stars. Not even lawyers or biology teachers. They took care of sheep for a living. Sheep. Maybe throw in some camels and goats, but still, they ranked pretty low on the prestige scale. They saw the same scenery each day and night. They were probably buddies, sitting around a fire most evenings, talking about nothing spectacular. Ordinary.

And then one evening everything changed.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, “Do not be afraid.” That he says this indicates they probably were a little freaked out. Who wouldn’t be? An angel shows up out of nowhere and tells them “good news that would bring great joy for all people.” (Luke 2.) The news that the Messiah had been born in their town. The One that would rule forever and bring peace and hope to all men was born in their town!

This is the best news they, or any of us for that matter, could have heard. This is life changing. This is world changing. This is eternity changing. The shepherds, just normal guys out with their sheep, heard the news first. And then they were given the opportunity to go see Jesus. They were among the very first to meet him personally.

Suddenly, their ordinary lives became extraordinary.

But notice this. They didn’t orchestrate it. They didn’t plan it. They really had nothing to do with it. They didn’t brainstorm or vision-cast, “Hey guys, let’s be the first to hear about the Messiah’s birth. Meet me in the field Christmas day. Wear your ugly sweaters.”

No! Of course not! They had nothing to do with the extraordinary. They just were doing their ordinary jobs, on an ordinary night, when God broke through the mundane and changed their worlds.

This makes me feel good. I can relate to the shepherds. I’ve never spent much face-to-face time with a sheep, but I’ve been known to live in some pretty ordinary moments. To know that living in the ordinary is all that is really required of me in order for God to show up and do the extraordinary, well that makes me smile.

 

For more, follow Christy on Facebook at Christy Cabe •Ten Blue Eyes•

You can find Christy’s books on Amazon, or learn more on her website here: https://christycabe.com/home/books/.

 

Finding Sense In The Common.

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I pull the spoon out of the dishwasher and stack it with its fellow tablemates in the drawer. My motions are robotic. I do this same thing almost every single day. It is such a common task that I don’t even have to concentrate on what I am doing.

I push the clothes into the drum of the washing machine and reach up to grab the detergent. My mind is thinking about something else. There is no need to pay attention to each motion of the laundry routine. It is a common work in my life, and I have memorized the actions it takes to complete it.

“Grab your book bag.”

“Where are your shoes?”

“You will need a jacket today.”

All common phrases heard in my home each weekday morning. The same idea. The same routine. Over and over. And then almost always, I see the same results.

My life feels so common.

Being common doesn’t feel very empowering. It’s just so plain and normal. So mundane and run-of-the-mill. So regular. Isn’t that basically the definition of the word itself?

Common.

How can being common be significant?

How can my common life make a difference in this world? How can God use my common routine for His glory? How can common amount to anything at all?

But surely it does.

It just sometimes hides behind the extraordinary.

For example, in the Old Testament, Joseph does an amazing work of interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams in regards to a coming famine. He leads the Egyptians in the storing up of food for seven years in order to survive the impending drought. His ability and his leadership is so uncommon. He saves a nation from starvation.

But behind his uncommonness are the common. The farmers. The men and women who each day do the work of planting, and tending, and harvesting. The people who put their hands to the plow. The people whose mundane and run-of-the-mill tasks brought up the very food that was stored and that saved.

The common work provided daily bread for the saving of many lives.

Solomon, in his riches and splendor, in his uncommon life as a King of Israel, built a temple in Jerusalem that stunned the onlooker. It was majestic and extraordinary. But behind the amazing structure hid the men who cut the stones in the quarry. Who day-in and day-out did the heavy lifting. Whose brows dripped with sweat and whose muscles grew strong. They did the common daily difficult labor.

The common work laid the very foundation for the House of God.

A crowd of 5,000 hungry men sat waiting to hear Jesus. They then witnessed a wondrous moment when the lunch of a small boy fed them all. Their stomachs were full because of an uncommon miracle of God. Yet, behind the miracle, there was probably a mama who had simply packed her son’s lunch. She did the mundane, robotic task that she probably had done hundreds of times before. She did not know that the very hands of God would take the fruits of the labor, as meager as they were, and multiply them for the glory of God the Father.

The common work fed a multitude and pointed many to the power of God.

So my hands will continue to do the common work. To unload the dishes and reload the washing machine. To pack the book bags and tend to the growth of the children. To complete the mundane tasks that seem insignificant.

Because in the hands of God, the common is extraordinary, after all.


This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are encouraged to write for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word: COMMON

Tell Me A Story

I sat across the table from a gentleman with slumped shoulders and a cardigan. He wore his more than 80 years on his wrinkled face. Beside him was another similar-looking man who was putting ketchup on his onion rings, and beside him was a grey-haired woman. The seats at our rectangular table were full of these people. Other than my presence on this day, it was just like every other lunchtime at the assisted living facility. I was there to visit my grandmother and I was grateful that her table-mates had allowed me to disrupt their meticulous routine.

The conversation was sparse. Actually it was mostly focused on the fact that because of my presence, we were short one bowl of tapioca. I offered to part with mine, but they wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, the woman with the walker slowly made her way to the kitchen to request another cup of pudding. This is how they did things at their table, and I wasn’t about to argue.

I was so intrigued with them all. After the tapioca situation was resolved I listened to the snippets of conversation between these weathered friends. One man had finally sold his home. His children had helped work with the realtor and now finally their father could rest assured he was officially living in his last earthly residence. Others talked about their grandchildren, their health, and their plans to play BINGO or dominoes later in the day.

The mealtime came to an end and they all slowly rose and shuffled away, but I wish they would have stayed longer. I wanted to hear more. These people had lived so much more life than I had. They each had so much history and so many stories that I would have loved to hear.

How many children did they have? How long had they been widowed? Did they serve in the war? What were their occupations as young people? How did they fall in love? What were their biggest regrets and greatest accomplishments?

So many stories… yet, so little tapioca.

That mealtime reminded me how much I love to hear about people’s lives. I love true stories. Just as I could have sat there all day listening to those senior citizens share, I could spend hours reading or watching biographies. There is so much to be learned from hearing about other people’s lives.

Stories make things real. Stories pull us all in and level the field so that we can find ways to relate and understand.

Stories are powerful.

But, sometimes we shy away from telling our stories.

We may think it’s fun to hear the stories of others, but we don’t see the value in sharing our own.

Does anyone really want to hear about my childhood? Is there any benefit in sharing about the way my husband and I met and fell in love? Can I really help another mother who has a child dealing with the same disease that plagued my son? Does sharing about my frustrations with the daily, mundane tasks of being a wife and mother really touch another’s heart?

I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.

Yes.

Even if we don’t think our stories are special, they may be special to someone else. They connect us to people in a real way instead of through a virtual network or screen. They strip away the fronts and perceptions and make things real. And we like that, because life is real.

When I hear a girlfriend talk about the fatigue she feels from disciplining the same child for the same issue day in and day out, I’m encouraged. I’m reminded that I’m not alone.

When I hear an older woman tell me her love story and how she was married to the same man for decades, I’m inspired. I’m reminded that I can strive for a stronger marriage and deeper love.

When I hear a mentor share about their weaknesses and fears, I’m uplifted. I’m reminded that no one is perfect and we all deal with failures and pain.

When I hear a friend share about their loss and heartache, I’m broken. I’m reminded that I need to help carry the burdens of others and reach out to those who are hurting.

It doesn’t really matter if the people who are telling the stories are old, wrinkled, young, trendy, close friends or a new acquaintances. They may be wearing a cardigan, hospital gown, mom jeans or a jersey. It doesn’t really matter. I want to listen. And when the opportunity arises, I want to share my story too.

Sharing our stories helps us live better stories.

And sometimes you even get a bowl of tapioca to top it all off.

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The Masterpiece.

DSC_0397The cry derailed my train of thought and interrupted my task of emptying the dishwasher. I looked up and watched as my two daughters, who were painting with watercolors at the kitchen table, dramatically expressed their feelings. My 5-year-old daughter had tears streaming down her face and her 3-year-old sister was crying as well and sat crossing her little arms in stubborn indignation.

I sighed and rested my hands on the countertop where the bowls and plates sat waiting to be put back into the cupboard so that they could rest in peace. I was wishing for peace as well. Playing referee to these two can be draining.

When the crying didn’t stop I sent the youngest, who seemed to be the cause of the problem, up to her room and I followed a few minutes later to have “a talk.”

“What’s the deal, Kenzie?” I asked her as she wiped her tears while sitting on her bed. “Why are you so upset and frustrated with your sister?”

She drew her breath in quickly several times while trying to speak. Finally she said, “But Mama! Karly said she was painting a boat but I don’t think it looks like a boat at all. I think she’s painting a rocket ship!”

I had to do the old “parent trick” of looking sideways and pretending I suddenly had to scratch my cheek so that I could cover the smile that spread across my face. What could I say, it did look an awfully lot like a rocket.

But Karly had said that she painted a boat and who was I to disagree?

So I gently explained to little sis that even though she was right in thinking that it did look like a rocket, it also looked like a boat too. And more importantly, Karly painted it.  It was Karly’s masterpiece, and if she said it was a boat then we need to encourage her for painting a boat.

It was Karly’s workmanship, created to be a boat no matter what the rest of us thought it should be.

The paints have long been cleaned up and the dishes have been through the wash cycle and back into the cupboard countless times since that moment. But I’ve continued to chuckle to myself about Kenzie’s honest assessment of Karly’s painting.

And actually, that moment has made me think about something more.

I’ve thought about the fact that I am a masterpiece too. I was created and I am supposed to be something specific. Not a boat or a rocket ship… but me. I am God’s masterpiece, and no matter what anyone else thinks I should look like or should be, I am His creation.

Ephesians 2:10 says,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The word “handiwork” in this verse is the original Greek word  “poiema” which, according to Strong’s Concordance means, “that which has been made; a work: of the works of God as creator.”

I’m God’s masterpiece. I am called to be who He created me to be.

Sometimes I worry about being what others think I should be. Am I still valuable if I’m “just me?”

I have friends who juggle both careers and motherhood and they don’t drop the ball in either role. I don’t work outside the home. Does that make me less valuable than they?

I know children who are amazing and committed athletes and musicians. My kids have never had a single piano lesson. I’m not the mother of a prodigy. Am I less significant than those who are?

I have a college degree, but much like my computer, which falls asleep when it’s not touched for awhile, my skills and practical application of my schooling feel like they’re dormant and hiding behind a blank screen. Does this mean I’m unsuccessful?

So once again I go back to Ephesians 2:10. I was,

“created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance.”

God has prepared works for me in advance so that all I have to do is be me and be obedient to Him. If I’m made in Christ Jesus then I certainly have been equipped to accomplish what He calls me to do because Jesus is full of power and never-ending grace.

I don’t have to force myself to be a rocket ship if God created me to be a boat.

I can just be me because that is who God made me to be. I am significant and beautiful in His eyes. He will go with me and help me to accomplish what He has prepared for me to do. And it’s extra beautiful because it’s all for His glory.

That watercolor boat was Karly’s workmanship, created to be a boat. I am God’s workmanship, created to be me.

No matter what others see, my Creator knows just who I am.

And I am His masterpiece.