When don't we have these? Every minute of every day is a new start. Every time we wake up; every time we take a shower; put on clean clothes (or dirty clothes for that matter); every time we call a friend; go to a store; you get the idea. We have so many chances to have a new start to everything we do. Everything. The past doesn't matter and we can look to and walk toward the future, making new and better and more informed decisions. Not to fall back and make the same mistakes and press toward a new, or the same prize, afresh everyday.
But then there's this thing called "everyday life." The thing that wakes us up but makes us want to roll back over and pull the comforter over our head to not face the day. The alarm clock. The job. The phone. The kids. The chores. The traffic. The bills. The Schedule. The Day. The mundane. All the things that seem to suck out all of the newness of Life that makes it fresh. Everyone deals with this, just as much as they deal with the newness. The same, over and over and over and over and over... Just as much as we want to rejoice in the newness we have to deal with the mundane. But how can we be satisfied with our lives when the newness seems like it's going to be the same yesterday, today and forever?
So I'm doing track II of the Fire in the Night Internship and when it started I was like "YESSSS! Finally something DIFFERENT!" I mean as much as I like being in the prayer room for 6-12 hours a day, it is so nice to have some spice and flavor in the schedule! This track, in addition to being in the prayer room, and at the Awakening Services (see other posts for references) we are able to do some service. And I got super excited... I mean in addition to singing on a worship team (Brandon Lautzenheiser's team... Go to www.ihop.org click on the webstream link and look at archives under his team name and you can see yours truly. Shameless. Self. Promotion;-) I get to go out into the community and help others! On Mondays, we go participate in an inner city prayer service called Hope City. On Tuesdays we serve a children's ministry called The Daniel Academy, and during the week, work in the children's ministry at church. When we started, I was like alright, I get to do something else. And I started with excitement! I was like "I am gonna be an awesome children's helper and rock out at the prayer service." And at the start it was cool, and new and exciting! Week one goes by. Week two goes by, and I start to get settled. Week three goes by and it starts to be normal. Week four: normal. Mundane. What happened to the excitement? To the newness of something different?
I prayed about this in the prayer room recently and was like "What happened to the excitement of starting something new? What happened to the joy of something different and exciting? And how did something I was looking forward to become so lackluster?" and in the quiet, I felt that maybe it was me. And not just me, but society as a whole. We are so eager to look for the next big thing, the next excitement, the newest trend to follow. Maybe my perception of newness is a little off kilter. Ok maybe not just a little, but I'm trying to make myself feel better.
"Then how do you find the newness of life in the mundane/everyday/boring? Sitting in the prayer room and following the same schedule everyday is not exactly my idea of fun." And as I was reading the bible I remembered a verse that I had heard but had never really thought about, and in the context of my life, it fit. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The normal context is that God was the same God in the beginning, the old testament, the new testament, now, and in the future, all of his attributes are the same. But what does that mean about Jesus the man? How did he live in his life? He was human, but did he really do the same things as us? Then I thought about that verse again... Wow, wait, he was the same? What does that mean? Then I thought about it. What did Jesus do before all the miracles and excitement of his life? What did he do when he wasn't walking in like a 75 mile radius teaching and stuff? He worked and built chairs and tables. He fished with his friends. He ate and did chores with his family and built his earthly father's business. He put on his pants (or maybe it was a tunic, whatever they wore back then) the same way we do. He went to school, and probably learned the Torah. He played with his siblings. He woke up every day and went to bed every night. It was, DUN DUN DUN, the mundane. Life. He did it everyday. But he still walked in the joy and newness of life everyday. Every prayer that he prayed was new. Every person that he came in contact with was genuine and refreshing. Every time he turned a temple inside out because they were selling goods that didn't need to be there was boring. Well, maybe not that, that's kinda awesome... but you know what I mean. He took joy in walking out the day to day and the disciplines that we take for granted in finding the newness of life.
That took me to Ecclesiastes, the emo book of the Bible, the one where we get the Mama's and Papa's song "to every season turn turn turn" and talks about a time for everything. And it says this: (Ecc 3:11-14)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
The mundane is a gift from God. The everyday is a gift to enjoy. The small things are a blessing, because if we think about it, it's a blessing to wake up every day. It's a blessing to have a job and to drive and take phone calls and interact with people. It's a blessing to stay in a room all day and talk to the Creator of the universe who gives us good things to enjoy. And I thought, maybe I can find joy in that too. DING DING DING! There it is, folks: the newness of life. Looking at Christ and saying that if he can find contentment in the mundane, maybe I should try to. Gazing upon His holiness is not a light or boring thing. I mean, look what I wrote about in this blog, and it was probably because I had nothing else to do (but pray. I'm praying too. that's what I'm here for. just to clear that up).
I'm going to take a cue from http://quarterlifecalm.blogspot.com/ and give my prayer
Let me experience the newness of life in the mundane. At times when everyday seems to run together, or when the exciting things grow dull. Let me live everyday with the excitement of new life. It's by your grace that I can live, breathe and have my being. Let me look at you and your beauty when I am bored with the every day. Let me remember your great, extravagant love for me when the excitement of new things falter. Allow me to experience your love in new ways that keeps me excited about what you're doing, even in the things that happen every day.
In your Name, amen
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blessings and much love!