Sometimes we willingly follow God into the extraordinary yet we lose Him in the ordinary. We know God of the praise song and the week of prayer. Sometimes we’re not as familiar with God in everyday life.
We lose Him in the routine of going to work, picking up the kids, making dinner, bathing, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, waking up and doing it all over again…and again.
It reminds me of driving late at night, with the window half-open as you watch the white dashed lines pass one-by-one underneath the tread of the tires. The sparse traffic accompanied by the gentle whir of the car lulls you into a state of drowsiness. The common, everyday routine of life can cause us to drift off the path. And then we wander.
God wants us even in the midst of the ordinary. Great men and women are born in the ordinary. Great moments emerge from the ordinary.
Almost five years ago, I began to feel an itch to do something more. The itch turned into an urge, and that urge grew into a calling. Soon after, I found myself in the Middle East, working for a Christian university as an English teacher and eventually leading their Office of Communications. The call seemed a bit outlandish at the time – a black woman from a suburb of Chicago going to the Middle East to…..okay, just stop there. It’s already strange enough. It was an extraordinary leap of faith. I told God I would follow Him wherever He wanted me to go. It was exciting, thrilling, scary and an awesome boost for my faith.
Fast forward two and a half years. The calling was finished. I was heading home. Ready and willing to follow God wherever he would lead me. A week after returning to the States, I didn’t realise it at the time, but God introduced me to my soon-to-be husband…who happened to live in AUSTRALIA! The next few months would reveal God’s fingerprints all over my story. It was nothing less than extraordinary. I told God once again I would follow Him wherever He wanted me to go.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, I find myself drowning in the ordinary, and I have to ask myself, “Will I still hold on?” Will I still follow God, even when His calling is for me to stay put and keep doing what I’m already doing?
God in Everyday Life
Stepping out of the boat and being invited to walk on water, that’s amazing, out-of-this-world extraordinariness. But what about all the moments in between, when I’m not seeing a flash of power? When I’m not witnessing another miraculous act? What about when I’m not compelled by emotional music? When I’m not blown away by an earth-shaking outburst? What about when I’m all alone and all I sense is the gentle tug of a still small voice? What about when I have to discern and learn to see God in everyday life. Will it be enough or will my eyes be set, waiting in anticipation of a flash of wonder from the Almighty?
I want to trust enough that I follow, even when the call is ordinary. When the place is suburbia, not the Middle East. When the result is normal and the situation is routine. I want to follow when there’s no flash of lightning, no call to step out of the boat and walk on water, no miracle healing or magical liquid transformation. I want to follow when there is no altar call, set to a soundtrack of organ music acompanying a lone singer pulling at the strings of my heart. I want to follow when it’s just me, sitting in the presence of the Almighty awestruck with wonder at the only wise God, who was, and is and is to come. Because in the quiet, in the everyday, mundane ordinariness of my life, that’s where He makes the greatest contrast.
Surrounded by ordinariness, it is there that I can see there’s nothing ordinary about God.