It’s just an ordinary day. Every traffic light is red, every lollipop lady or man decides it’s time to walk out into the centre of the road just when your registration plate pings into their brain; that bus, he won’t, yes he does, he pulls out in front of you, only you! Your child is clicking his tongue muttering about being late again for school, and the hands that were too tired to empty the dishwasher earlier, now possess superpowers for banging the car door in your face when he leaves. And that night, when you sit at the computer under pressure to write a blog, well that’s the very night that those sharing your space will sit beside you watching an uproaringly funny movie, behind you playing guitar and singing (with earphones), and in front of you messing with origami and rocking out loud along with YouTube (and no earphones), all at the same time. And the worst part of that is, these are all good things, and you’re the one who first encouraged them to be creative, to spend time together. SO YOU CAN’T EVEN BE MAD. Seriously? Do you ever have those days when you try everything to make things work, and you lose? You have spent years perfecting skills in time-management, diplomacy and multi-tasking and, in one ordinary moment, they’re worthless. I bet Hilary Clinton would kill for my job.
I find myself surrounded by such ordinary moments. Busy, sometimes frustrating, but ordinary moments – balancing football matches and band practices, whiling away hours fixing hems and toys and dinners, beating an aerobic path to and from the supermarket – into the trolley, out of the trolley, into the bags, out of the bags, into the car, out of the car, stuffing my feet into high heels to go to work and throwing on a track suit to walk the dog. The ordinariness is painfully clear.
It might have been just this that held me for a fortnight on what should have been but one evening’s bible study. Every day and every night I read Romans 12: 1-3 from the Message Bible which begins:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering…”
What on earth would God want with my ordinary life?
To use it.
That was the answer that came to me as I prayed over the fortnight. My ordinary life was a privilege – I got that. That it was both relevant and useful to a God who flung stars into space and overcame death itself was … well, it was awesome and affirming.
Finding God’s will for our lives can be tough. Its better if we don’t try to be someone else. Its better if we start with what we have, and do what we can with it. The rest is His business. This is something I have known most of my life; and yet, recently, I was missing it in the everyday. God’s calling comes God’s way – sometimes in the big story, sometimes in the simple story in an ordinary family in an ordinary town.
Some days those words that Jesus said in John 10:10 float around in my mind – “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” It’s amazing how that lifts my eyes off the ground, and fixes them on the possibilities that God will show me in an ordinary day. He always intended to value my life, and loves me with abandon. And there’s nothing ordinary about that.