Most of us, at least most people I know, have fairly routine lives. Myself included. You may say “Now wait just a minute JB. You live in a country thousands of miles from your passport country, speak a different language or two, and roast coffee.” And, to that I say, yes, that is true. But I have a routine that may seem fairly normal. I get up early, work out, read and journal, have breakfast, help get the kids off to school and then I head off to either work or language school with Iris. We come home. The kids come home, we eat dinner, we hang out a bit and then they go to bed. We eventually go to bed, and then the routine starts again. The weekends are filled with either resting at home, or traveling to the countryside and sabbathing together and others who want to follow Jesus more.
I have a friend who lives a similar life but instead of sending his kids off to school, they home school. Instead of the one hourish I spend exercising, he spends a bit more time as he just completed his 5th Ironman just this past Sunday. And their weekends are filled with camping and gymnastics tournaments for their boys. But, it’s his routine.
I know other people and have other friends that seem as though they are traveling more days a month than they are at their home. Different countries for training or certifying people. Different places for outdoor adventures and spend more nights in tents than in bedrooms. Yet, this is their routine.
Many people I talk to and are friend with, often desire a break up of their routine. “Oh, if only my routined, mundane life could change, then I could really experience God doing this.” Or, “If I was doing that, man God would use me so much more.” Maybe that’s true. Or perhaps it is something that society has taught us about those few exceptionally rare cases of people that just did something completely crazy, it seemed, that are the only ones we hear about.
Regular times of sabbath for me are important. They don’t necessarily have to be scheduled, but they are needed. If I don’t have them regularly, even for a solid unplugged hour a week, it is hard for me to be at peace within which then leads to a non-at-peace person without. That hour, I’m learning, doesn’t always have to be in complete solitude with my candle burning, listening to classical music with journal and book in hand. It can be in the midst of my normal living routine. In the mundane tasks or simply making space among those tasks to be reflective and open to what the Spirit might be saying to me.
This is part of the monastic life. Whether it be brewing beer, hoeing the garden, painting a building or kneading bread, these mundane tasks where meant to also be times of asking what it was God was speaking to them through that particular task. Last summer I preached a sermon on how growing up we picked up rocks from the fields after it had been plowed and tilled in preparation for the seeds to be planted. We walked over ever square inch of every field with my grandpa driving the tractor at walking pace while it was hitched to a wagon. My brother, sister, parents and I would all be lined up behind the wagon simply walking with our heads down looking for rocks. If we found any, and we always found a lot, we’d pick them up, and throw them in the wagon to dump out by the tree line. Why were we picking up rocks? Because they would break the very expensive equipment if we didn’t. Just an hour or two of work could save our family thousands of dollars and several days on fixing broken equipment.
That reflection reminded me of how many times I need to look for sins in my life, ways that I am affecting other people that I may not recognize if I didn’t spend the time to look at myself and reflect with guidance from the Spirit. That mundane task is something God used to remind me of a greater Truth of Himself. And I believe, it’s in the mundane that God may speak to us more than in those “experiencing God” moments we always read about.
Washing the dishes, punching numbers, running that 21st mile, dropping the kids off-these mundane tasks are incredibly divine moments if we allow them to be. God is always present, He has never left us which means He is always there, always present during those moments. What if we were to give Him more space in those times and wait with open ears and eyes as to what He has for us? What if we simply began to think on Him during those tasks? It might just end up being something extraordinarily exceptional!
Let’s try it for a week, cool? Honestly, let’s do the best we can at giving these mundane moments to Him and then perhaps we’ll have some stories to share. Will you join me? If you have any incredible encounters, we would all be encouraged by you sharing them with us. Please feel free to comment to this post and we shall see how He speaks through the mundane yet divine.
be blessed today