Things have felt heavy these past weeks.
Literally heavy. My eyelids when I have to wake up. My feet when I have to pick them up over and over again as I train for a race. My binder of accompaniment music that I carry from rehearsal to rehearsal, performance to performance. The filled laundry basket that I lug over to the neighbors washer and dryer.
It’s not that my life is hard. Not at all hard, really. I face my share of adulting. Of self-discipline. Of doing things that are less fun than, oh let’s say sitting on the couch and eating ice cream straight from the carton. But it is really rather pleasant on the whole. I even know that fun isn’t the point and that we can do hard things.
But sometimes it is the everyday hard that gets to be the hardest. The little things that pile up, the moods that swing, the details that got overlooked. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but there is something about a list of menial chores and slightly challenging tasks (you know, like calling the dentist to set up an appointment) that can feel like a weight to heavy to bear.
It’s embarrassing, really, when I think about it.
It’s just a call to the dentist, a run to the store to pick up some laundry detergent, a quick run around the neighborhood, and a few dishes to wash. I mean, we can do hard things and all that stuff, right?
But some days – these early May days when all the big things have wrapped up and the remaining motivation is only enough to get up from the couch to reheat my coffee – it’s reality.
If you’ve been around at all you know I’m all about promoting the ordinary days. All this dailiness, all the mundane – the dishes, the lunch packing, the toilet scrubbing, the babysitting – it is sacred. It is where God shows up.
But when the daily seems hard? When making breakfast and packing lunch and shuffling other people’s kids around seems like an insurmountable agenda for the day? Is God still going to meet me, when I grumble at the dishes and roll my eyes at the pile of laundry and sigh heavily at the whining children?
The other evening I went on a run. It was the last of the items on my agenda for the day, and I had successfully put it off for several hours. I didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to move. But jammed my feet into my running shoes and went outside, muttering about how much I hated running. My feet felt lighter than normal as I started to move down the road. The evening was pleasant, the wind of the afternoon had subsided into a gentle breeze. The sun was setting, and pink clouds streaked the sky above snowcapped peaks. Each mile was easier than the one before. I ran fast and it was fun.
It was a gift from God, this evening run. The one before it and the one after it were considerably harder, my lungs were tighter and my feet heavier. But inserted into the hard was this – a reminder that God will grant me grace in my ordinary days. Regardless of my mood, of my ability to enjoy each moment, of my willingness to seize the day – God has grace in store for me. All I have to do is show up.
He’s a gracious God, abounding in love, lavish in blessings. He isn’t waiting for us to change our attitude and become worthy of His presence. He doesn’t demand that we love every minute, or live each day to the hilt. He holds his hands open ready to give, grace upon grace.
So I’ll show up. I’ll pull myself off the couch and go to work. I’ll do the chores, I’ll run the errands, I’ll watch the children, I’ll go on that run. And sometimes it’ll be fun and easy, and sometimes it’ll be hard and arduous. And every time God will be there.
God so often uses others, and the words they speak and write, to make His presence known. Or to motivate us to get moving and show up. These words have done precisely this, and are among the top on my list of influential messages I have received this spring. Coincidentally (ok, maybe not) they happen to on the blogs I love most.
Rice Krispies: My Spiritual Awakening by Sarah Bessey “Do you think God is also too good for the ordinary work?”
What No One Tells You About How to Live an Extraordinay Life by Ann Voskamp “The ordinary is the every day container that holds the realest extraordinary.”
Balance by Erin Loechner “And while I don’t love the Down, while I realllllly don’t love when I yell in the Down, I love it for what it teaches. I love it for what it brings.”