The Exotic Li(f)e

I don’t know about you, but I tend to romanticize things a bit. In some cases, I “exoticize” them. I wrote a post a few days ago about the “other guy.” Sometimes I also get hung up on the “other life” mentality. Whether it be at speaking engagements, emails or getting coffee with someone, I’ve heard many many times, “Wow, what an incredible job you have. I wish I could do that.” “My life is so normal and boring, yours is full of what adventure and action books are made of.” Or I get, “Man that sounds so exotic…I could never do that. How do you?”

I have to admit, that’s hard for me to hear. I do love living where I have lived and touching, seeing the places I’ve been to. But there are many times where I feel the “Wow, I’d love to do that someday” feelings about the lives of some of those people who have made those comments about me. Though my “normal” may seem exotic, chances are I think your “normal” is  exotic as well. So, where does that stem from? At least for me, I have a hunch.

“The Call:Finding and Fulfilling Your Central Purpose” is a classic book by Os Guinness. Yes, he is in the same family as Guinness, the famous Irish beer/lager company that has been making their famed hearty beverage for generations. His book is a must for anyone trying to find purpose. He writes about the bricklayer and his trowel, the farmer and his plow, the artist before the easel, the judge behind the bench and the parent next to the crib. In each one of these situations, a majority of it is mundane, monotonous work that never changes day in and day out. To many, it may seem boring. Growing up on a farm, I can say that when plowing or “fitting’ a field for planting, it is monotonous work going round and round in circles in fields all day long. Sometimes for weeks on end. But Guinness suggests that that is exactly where we find our meaning and engagement with God. I would agree.

For a long time, many years, I was searching for my true “calling.” This thing which was going to bring all meaning and sense to my life. The glue that would make all the experiences I have had, and will have, stick together in light of this great (cue the clouds parting and heavenly light shining down) incredible thing…this calling. When I thought I had it, I would then work with all my might towards it, only to find out that it was temporary. The next “Great Calling” I would work towards, only to find that there was something I could never overtake in order to attain or obtain that calling.

Over time as I read in the Word and worked on shedding my false identity, I realized that there was only one thing we as believers in Christ are ever, EVER called to. We are only ever called to God, to Christ. That’s it. That’s all. We are never called to anything or anyone else. God and God alone. Everything else we are simply, believing in faith, led to.

When I was able to put this great mythical “calling” aside, focus on the only real call in my life-to God- and put everything else in the category of “leading,” I suddenly was free from a lot of things. Freedom from having to find the one single point of my life (or never find it, or find the wrong thing and screw my life up forever). Freedom from having this outlook, freedom from the belief-the lie- that my life is just boring and others lives are exotic and more purposeful. Freedom from only being able to find God and encounter Him in those (again cue heavens opening, beam of light shining down and choir singing “oooooooooo”) “Calling” moments, and never any other time.

Brother Lawrence, a Catholic priest, wrote about living life in the mundane in his book “The Practice and Presence of Christ.” I’m sure he’ll come up again in future posts as it is another great read. But his thoughts on this subject are the same as Guinness’, doing what we all do to the best of our ability is bringing honor to God. Taking time in the midst of the mundane, to reflect on the fact that God is present with you, is honoring to him. Most of our lives, no matter how exotic or normal, are lived in the mundane. Doing dishes, laundry, mowing the lawn, walking or driving to work-it’s all time that God is still present and wants to engage with us. No one is more special than the other. Yes we are made uniquely in how God has wired us, but one person does not have importance over the other. We are all called to God. We are all led in different directions. It’s the beauty of Christ. This brought me great freedom and empowerment. Hopefully it will to you as well.

Are you able to see God in the mundane of life? Has God revealed Himself to you in those times? Have you also found freedom in these areas? I’d love to hear your story!

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