I just returned from Chicago where I was attending a spiritual transformation intensive seminar. It was fabulous. I have a notebook filled with scribbled notes, hand-written charts, and scripture. To say that those days filled me would be an understatement. I was filled in ways too big to count. But, once I hit the plane to come home I started noticing a leak….slowly over the next few hours the filling was oozing out of my heart as I was getting closer and closer to “real every day life”.
Abraham Lincoln once said, ” Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” And, today I think that is true.
The last year I have struggled with depression. I have dealt with it, been quiet about it, tried to cover it up…but let’s face it, when we are not quite “right” everyone catches on. Years ago when I was in a circumstantial depression and unable to take medications, God met me there and did an amazing work within me. ( I write about that in the book Deeper). I was hoping that this time around, He would meet me again. But, for some reason it seemed he took a vacation from my life. Do you ever feel that way?
However when I thought he was lounging in the Bahammas, he was right here with me….all along. And, though I could recount all day my many reasons to get down and eventually depressed, none of them matter much today. You see, I am realizing that I have to live each day, each single day, all the way through…even admist black clouds.
Let me explain. Every day life is often not exciting, sexy or productive. Often every day life is boring, routine and discouraging. Problems re-package themselves and re-gift us over and over again. A key to true happiness lies in understanding that most of life is “everyday”. Most of our lives consist of a routine of unremarkable events that take place day after day. The secret is in realizing that God is in the center of each unremarkable moment, making it a remarkable part of our story. He is the story teller. The story teller doesn’t just tell the main theme, he weaves in and out of the theme of our lives creating the story line….For His Names Sake.
We must learn to embrace the ordinary, to delight in little things, to appreciate small blessings, and to find pleasure in the circumstances and situations others might overlook. This doesn’t mean that we entertain overselves from daylight until dark. And, it certainly doesn’t mean we get “our way” all the time. Enjoying life is more than celebrating special occasions, getting raises and promotions, going on vacations, buying something new, or closing a significant business deal. The truth is: our lives were not created to be one big party. Our lives were created By a Big and Mighty God, For His purposes…to bring Him pleasure.
So, what would bring him pleasure in the every day stuff? Here is a short list that I am currently thinking of:
- To look to God in all things
- To learn the art of being thankful and praising Him in the mundane as well as in the special
- To stop many times during the day and acknowledge His presence with me
- Stop the flow of the negative tapes and thoughts when they present themselves ( toxic to joy)
- To look for good and stretch my heart and mind to dwell with it for awhile
- To choose joy in the everyday ( this might mean cranking up the music, memorizing verses on doing all to the glory of God, or writings on grateful hearts)
Much of life takes place when no one is looking, and God works in our lives during the ordinary things. When nothing remarkable seems to be taking place and everything is “business as usual” that is where character is being developed and we are being mentored by God on how to enjoy the everyday life. And, as we enjoy the every day we realize over and over that true life is really not found in arriving at a destination; it is found in the journey.
Today I encourage you to think about your everyday life. Take sometime alone, and when you do meditate on this verse: ( Note: to meditate just means to focus your thoughts, focused thinking on this verse)
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix you attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message
Ask God to breathe His word in you. Present yourself to Him. Praise Him for what he is producing in you in your everyday life. Remember Him, His presence dwelling within you, His faithfulness working within you.
Give him your cares. For me I have to lay the low feelings of darkness at his feet. They don’t always fly away, but he gives me new focus and perspective to deal with them. He also shows me ways, for me personally, to walk within the current challenge and embrace my every day life….even there. Years ago I sat in Psalm 139 during a dark season, and this time around God has taken my hand and sat with me in Psalm 23.Life changing. And, a reminder that He is always working.
He leads, He guides, He restores, He is With Us!
Take 5…Five minutes to spend with God, reflecting on His goodness.
And, you just might find yourself taking 5, many times a day….it is the best way to find the path to joy in your monotonous every day life. Five minutes with God, here and there, keeps us focused and delighting in the good we can not see, and the movement of His Spirit within our midst.