Most of life, it is important to realize, is not lived on exhilarating mountain tops and exotic new experiences. Most of life is lived in the valley of day-to-day responsibilities that have a certain measure of routine. Most of life consists of regular chores and the maintenance of family relationships. Most of life is pretty ordinary!
And it’s a good thing; because it’s difficult to handle the intensity of constant exhilaration and change. Even those who practice extreme sports develop a certain measure of routine in how they do what they do. The first time is rather exciting, fresh, and sometimes even frightening — but by the second time, you have a pretty good sense of what to expect and what started out as a challenge soon becomes old.
But it is in practicing the same routine over and over again that one is able to perfect his or her style and feel even more confident in the experience. So there is a good feeling about repeating a certain virtuous practice even though it no longer has the challenge and exhilaration of the first time. We need to get used to the fact that it is in the ordinary experiences of life that there is goodness and blessing.
Since life consists largely of regular, ordinary experiences like daily personal chores, eating, driving, walking, working, spending time with family and friends, we need to find ways to make the most of them. If we focus on the routine experience itself, we will likely be disappointed. But if in the ordinary we sense the presence and grace of God in our lives, feasting on each moment as a gift from God, we can see ordinary experiences blossom with goodness and beauty.
Instead of constantly pining away for some wistful adventure, we need to find God in the little things of our every-day lives — a taste, a conversation, a problem at work, a landscape, a weather pattern, a word, and so on. One would be amazed at what discoveries there are in the ordinary things of life when God’s presence is taken into consideration. We need to appreciate every moment as a gift from God to realize His power and greatness.
This is not to empty oneself of desire or all conscious thought as the Buddhist follower might insist. Rather it is to meditate on the very nature of God’s greatness as reflected in the things He has made and in what He has shown us through His Word. We need not try to kill personal ambition but rather, instead, surrender each ambition to the Lord for the realization of His greater purpose in the ordinary course of our lives.
For it is in knowing Christ that there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11, Philippians 3:7-10, 1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is in living in Christ that the ordinary things of life take on very special meaning since those ordinary things, by faith, encompass the very presence of God. We need to realize more often that God is there — working in the very smallest ways to make His goodness known to us. When each moment of our lives is sanctified by God’s presence, which we may choose to realize by faith, the ordinary becomes a delight.