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How to Find Joy in the Ordinary

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joy in the ordinary, mywarminghouse.com

Hi friend! I see you there faithfully going through the motions of everyday life. You clean, you wash, you work, you pay bills, you go to practices and games. You study and go to class. You deal with challenges and cranky people in the workplace. You invest in children all day long in your classroom. You balance work and home life.

In the daily grind, does life ever feel a little lifeless? Do you want to find more joy?

Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting for the extraordinary moments – like the next time we visit our kids who’ve gone to college and moved away. Or the next vacation. Or the job I’ve been longing for. Do you do that too?

In reality, life is made up of ordinary moments. The trick is to find joy in those everyday places. 

Here are some thoughts if you’re hungry to find joy in the ordinary:

  • Be all here.

What if you slowed down and lived fully in each moment – not rushing through everyday tasks and seasons and phases of life?

When our kids were young, I feel like I wished away various phases. I couldn’t wait until the diaper phase passed. Then the idea of the preschool phase sounded really good because I knew I would get at least a little time to myself.

Now all but one of my kids are grown and gone. I recognize the fact that the sweetness of life was found in those ordinary everyday days.  If I could go back to those days now, I would do it in a heartbeat  . . . which leads to my next point.

What if you stopped looking wistfully in the rearview at the past and refused to look too far ahead worrying about things that might happen in the future?

How would the quality of your life change if you chose to  live in the here and now viewing each moment as a gracious gift from a loving God – a day to cherish and enjoy?

When our son was scheduled for heart surgery, life took on a very precious quality. The 1 1/2 month period leading up to the surgery was filled with a finite number of moments that could very possibly have been our last moments with him. 

Trivial things melted away.  Nothing mattered but the everyday moments with our little boy. We cherished each one. We sank into them.

What if we could live our days fully in the here and now?

  • See the beauty in the ordinary. 

As children, it’s so easy to see beauty in the ordinary, isn’t it?  Exploring the acre of land where my grandmother lived guaranteed an overabundance of fascinating discoveries. As a child, the mouths of snapdragons captured my imagination. Prying their little “mouths” open to peek inside their “throats” filled my little heart with wonder and joy.

When do we stop seeing the beauty? When do we stop standing in awe? Is it lost in the weariness of endless responsibilities? Is it when we discover the reality of suffering and cruelty in the world? How do we find joy in the ordinary moments again?

What if today you purposefully looked for beauty? What if you really listened to the sound of your daughter giggling at a youtube video or enjoyed the way your dog smiles when you walk in the house? What if you watched in wonder as a firefly lights up the night, or noticed the sunset and  called your family outside to view its final dripping rays together? 

To find joy in the mundane . . . allow yourself to linger at the doorstep of the extraordinary within the ordinary. 

 

  • Watch for God in everyday moments. 

Living with a constant awareness of God’s presence in everyday places leads to joy. (Psalm 139:7-10)  

Like the day I cleaned poop off the floor.

It had been a very long day and I was beyond exhausted. Heading to bed, I noticed the nasty, un-flushed contents in one of our toilets. After pressing the handle to flush, the contents rose up and spilled over onto the floor. 

Tears dripping off my nose mingled with the brown watery mess as I got down on my knees to scrub. I thought of my family all snug and cozy in their beds. Why was I the one still here working long after they had all gone to sleep?

Just about that time, I felt God’s calming presence. It reminded me I wasn’t alone in my mundane tasks of motherhood. He was there with me – and he allowed me to sense his pleasure with the way i was serving my family.

Psalm 16:11 tells us, “In your presence is fullness of joy.” This is true. Even though I wasn’t happy about cleaning poop off the floor, a deep undercurrent of joy resonated in me as I scrubbed in his presence.

God’s presence bleeds confidence into me about his ability to give me strength when I need it. It awakens joy as his extraordinary blends with my ordinary.

As you go to the office or to the gym or anywhere else, God goes with you.  He’s concerned about – and actively involved in – the smallest details of your life. (Matthew 6:24-32)

Are you aware of him, friend?

  • Remember what God is accomplishing in those ordinary moments.

Even though he suffered, Jesus looked to the cross and found joy. (Hebrews 12:1-3) Why? He knew what God would accomplish there through his death – the rescuing and restoring of people formerly destined to misery apart from God. 

What if we could look at our lives with that perspective? 

God is at work wherever you are present as Jesus lives his life through you.  The smallest things you do . . . the unexpected conversations you have . . . the people you meet in the ordinariness of life are all places for his divine presence and activity.

You may never know (until you reach heaven) what he has accomplished through your daily ordinary life.

What if you were able to recognize that today? Wouldn’t that bring you extraordinary joy? 

  •  Focus on Jesus.

The source of true joy is Jesus. 

Even in the most mundane moments and roughest situations, a deep undercurrent of joy runs through your “veins.” It’s the divine joy of knowing Jesus.

Galatians 5:22 shares that true joy comes when we put our faith in Jesus and his Spirit lives in us.

Sometimes we just lose touch and forget how precious that is.

In Psalm 51:12, the Psalmist wrote, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” 

I can tell you for certain that I can hardly think about who I was and what Christ has done for me without it affecting me deeply . . . throat constricting, tears on the verge,  heart swelling with gratitude and joy!

What would your joy meter look like if you lived each ordinary moment with a fresh awareness of what Jesus has done for you at the cross – and where you’re headed as a result of his loving sacrifice?

What if you lived each moment delighting in Jesus and enjoying your relationship with him?

I’d love to hear what gives you joy!  How do you find it in the ordinary? 

 
Lisa~

 


 

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