The Illusion of the Ordinary

The following is taken from my book Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life releasing on September 15:

Most of us have bought into the illusion of the ordinary. We long for an escape from our regular lives—something to change our lives from what they currently are into lives with more excitement, adventure, and meaning. Millions of people every day go to great lengths to actualize this kind of dream.

Sometimes it turns out good. When people decide to move from spiritual mediocrity and into radical obedience, that’s a good thing. They might sell all their stuff and move across the ocean. Or they might take on the challenge of fostering a houseful of children. Or they might decide to start a nonprofit. That’s all good.

Sadly, though, that’s not always the story. For every person who moves in good ways away from the ordinary, there are ten stories of those who move in the opposite direction. They are so terrified of the normal and ordinary in their work, marriages, finances, and parenting, that they flee into something—anything— that holds the promise of importance. Of significance. Of excitement. The result is an affair. Or an addiction to porn. Or a gambling debt. Or an abandonment of family. All because so many of us suffer from the same, crippling fear that I do—the fear of the ordinary.

But there is no such thing as ordinary when you are following an extraordinary God. “Ordinary” is a myth. The only reason we think of something as ordinary is because we fail to look for and then grasp the massive depth of the work and presence of God in our lives. In fact, as we look through Scripture, we find God not removing people from the ordinary, but instead transforming that ordinary into something wholly different. All of a sudden His people wake up to His presence and purpose that have been there all the time.

It’s true, we also find the miraculous, but more times than not, the miraculous is couched in a situation that to the people involved in it, would have been considered just a part of another day. Very boring. Boring, that is, until they began to more fully grasp the scope, power, and wisdom of God.

If indeed that’s true—that there is no such thing as ordinary—then we need to rethink the way we are approaching our everyday lives. We need to reconsider what the pathway to significance looks like. And we need to rediscover a God who doesn’t call us out of the ordinary, but transforms the ordinary by His very presence. It will change the way we pay our bills, go to work, parent our children, and have ordinary conversations.

Everything will start to have meaning. Everything.

——

Boring releases on September 15; you can preorder your copy here.

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