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

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.