Today is the release day of my book cleverly (?) titled Boring: Finding and Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life. I’ll spare you the suspense and let you know that it’s autobiographical, at least in the sense that I live a largely ordinary kind of life. I get up at the same time, go through the same routine, drive the same route, go through the same tasks, and then go to bed at roughly the same time on a daily basis. Chances are so do you, or at least your version of it. The fact is that all of us are going to spend the bulk of our time on this planet doing things that might be considered boring – paying bills, living in a routine, going to work, parenting kids.
In looking at that kind of life, one might rightly wonder whether anyone wants to read about it. I guess time will tell, but the real reason I wrote this book is because of a few select other people who are very close to me. These are people who raise their families in godly ways, are faithful church members, and work in secular fields where they have chances to share the gospel regularly. But these are also people who have, in my conversations with them, regularly asked the question of whether or not they are really doing anything significant with their lives. Because we live in a culture that’s constantly feeding an obsession with excitement and grandeur, we look at these seemingly mundane areas of our lives as things to be escaped from. The Christian spin on our cultural tendency becomes apparent when we think of the work of the Lord in terms of the big and grand when in actuality most of our commitment to and faith in Jesus is lived out in the seemingly small, everyday choices of real life. I wanted those people who do the same thing, over and over again, to know that they matter. They are important. And God is not only with them, He is for them right in the middle of their day-to-day lives.
So the big idea behind the book is pretty simple: There is no such thing as ordinary when you follow an extraordinary God. So my primary prayer, as people read, is that they would look with fresh eyes on their regular schedule – the way they speak to others, the way they parent their children, the way they relate to their spouse, the way they spend money and the way they go to church – that they would see these normal occurrences ripe with meaning because of the presence of a God who makes the ordinary into something extraordinary. To put it another way, I hope we begin to do the same small things we did yesterday, but do them through the lens of faith, asking the ever-present and ever-active God to transform our vision of the ordinary into something wholly different than it is now.
So thank you, B&H Publishing. When you come to a publisher with a book that you want to call Boring, it makes you very thankful for a partner in ministry that believes in you. Thanks, Selma, for believing in me, and for continuing to give me opportunities to flesh out my heart on paper. Jed and Devin, thank you both for the constant encouragement and for helping me to be a better writer. Dave, thanks for all your hard work in helping get the word out about the project.
Thank you, my friends and family at Grace Community Church. So many of the ideas expressed in this book are the result of conversations, sermons, and Sunday school classes we’ve been a part of together. It would be difficult for me to express how formative living in the midst of this community of faith has been. I’m particularly grateful to Scott Patty and the team of elders who have shown me, through word and deed, how to find the great beauty, wonder, and significance right square in the middle of everyday life. It is my hope and prayer that we would continue together to do the next right thing.
And Jana—my great love. My bride. The one who has constantly been my biggest cheerleader. There’s no one in the world with whom I’d rather find the joy, excitement, and satisfaction of life in Jesus Christ.