The normal, ordinary days can feel small and mundane. But these days are the make-up of our lives and help renew our strength.
“Blessed by the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits,
the God of our salvation!” Psalm 68:19
In my opinion, the winter months feel at least three times as long as the other months of the year. Intellectually, I know that January, February, and March do not actually have extra weeks in them but, emotionally, I’m quite certain that one day in the winter is the equivalent of two days in all of the other seasons.
And, when you live in a region where these months are mostly cold and gloomy, it can feel especially painful. So when a day without rain finally makes an appearance, I’m eager to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, even if it’s often still fairly frigid. During one particularly long stretch of wet days, I kept checking my weather app to see if there might be an opportunity to get out of the house and take a walk around the neighborhood.
As soon as I spotted a window of time where there were no raindrops, I hurried out to take advantage of it before that window slammed shut again. While I pulled up a podcast episode to listen to and secured my AirPods in my ears, I looked up at the sky and observed that, while it was getting brighter, I still couldn’t quite see the sun.
It was just one of those in-between kinds of days. Sometimes brighter, sometimes darker, not really rainy but not really sunny. And I thought about how appropriate it was that the weather matched my mood. I wasn’t feeling particularly down or particularly up. I was just somewhere in the middle.
It was just an ordinary day and I was feeling, well, ordinary.
How many times in our lives do we find that our emotions are neither here nor there? In a culture where we are daily subjected to the highlight reels of people’s lives through social media, it can feel uncomfortable to be in seasons where we aren’t experiencing high highs or low lows.
The attention surrounding the lives of those who have something dramatic happening can be very appealing. It can even cause us to find our ordinary days dissatisfying.
When I was a newlywed, one of the best pieces of advice I received was from my mom. She reminded me that, while the intense love I felt for my new husband was special and completely appropriate, a lasting marriage will have times (a huge portion of time!) when you don’t feel that sunshine and lollipops kind of love for each other.
But it doesn’t mean that the love has disappeared. If anything, the beauty of a loving commitment to someone through all of life’s ups and downs far surpasses the lovey-dovey emotions that can be so fleeting. And it’s in those non-lovey-dovey seasons when the true testing of that commitment really takes place.
What if the ordinary days are actually a gift?
I think Oswald Chambers sums it up best when he says, “We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there.
But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18).
We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.”
What would happen if we began to see the ordinary days, differently? Not just as days to be gotten through on our way to the mountain-top experiences, but as opportunities to really put into practice the disciplines that we are called to cultivate.
The ordinary days offer us the chance to regroup and renew our strength in preparation for the not-so-ordinary days that will inevitably come again.
In the season when it feels like we are just trudging through everyday life, we should be grateful for the gift of time to strengthen the foundation of our faith. The ordinary days can and should bring as many opportunities for us to worship our Savior as the spectacular days spent on top of the mountain.
In His Word
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this, we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.” 1 John 3:18
“In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either do this or do that, or both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6
In Your Life
Do you find yourself feeling restless during the ordinary days in your life? Are you tempted to feel disgruntled when you compare what seems spectacular about someone else’s life to what seems so boring about your own?
Take the time today to ask the Lord to help you embrace the ordinary days. Ask Him to help you to see them as opportunities to strengthen your trust in Him and to test the stamina of your faith.
Join me as we take a journey through the seasons of the year in my book ‘Life in Season’ with faith-filled stories, encouraging devotions, beautiful photographs, DIY projects, and recipes. Everything you need to slow down, embrace the beauty and the struggle, and celebrate the moments that fill your heart and home. You can find it here.