LIVING IN THE MUNDANE

by Sarah Langness

My days are fairly predictable. I can roughly tell you what time Zeke and I will be out for our morning walk and down for our afternoon nap. I usually do my grocery shopping on Mondays after lunch. I can tell you what days I typically do laundry. Day-to-day, my life tends to look extremely similar. Sure, there are days with a few surprises, like when my husband decides to be spontaneous and come home from work early. Or like last week when Zeke pooped out his diaper for the first time in months and I had to rinse his pants off in the toilet. Or when I’m able to grab coffee with a dear friend back for a short visit.

Yesterday, though, I broke the mold. I skipped my morning walk, left the men at home and headed to Bismarck to run a few errands. (I know, I know: real exciting. But hey, I live in western North Dakota; cut me some slack.) As I was driving across the familiar 79-mile stretch of farmland, I did something I rarely do: I listened to the radio. Family Life Today was on, and my apologies to the name of their guest whose name is lost on my mind somewhere on I-94. And actually, apologies to Family Life Today as I hardly even recall what the broadcast topic was about. Something about loving your spouse. I forget because of something that forgotten guest said that rang over and over and over in my mind:

“We only make three or four big decisions in life. But we live in the every day, in the mundane.”

It’s so easy to seek Christ in the big decisions, the big issues. Where we should go to college. Who (or if) we should get married. To take that job far from family or stay closer to home.

But what about the every day? The ordinary, mundane things? Jesus doesn’t want just a part of the “big” things in life – He wants the little ones too.

Not that I need to pray about switching my laundry day. Or that there is anything wrong with a fairly predictable routine. But in those every day, mundane, day-to-day tasks, who am I living for? Am I living selfishly, putting my desires over those of my families? Do I have eyes of compassion for the hurting around me, or am I to focused on me to notice them? Am I content with what I have, with who the Lord has made me to be, or am I envious of that other mom who seems to have it made?

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spiritlet us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:13, 24-26, NASB (emphasis mine)

It is in the mundane moments that I choose to put Jordan’s needs over my own. It is the every day moments that become Kingdom teaching moments for little Ezekiel. It is in the ordinary moments that I live for the Extraordinary One.

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NASB (emphasis mine)

No matter how ordinary, how everyday, how mundane our daily tasks may seem to be, may we ever be guilty of living for Jesus.

 

Lame? Lazy? Extraordinary?!

by Sarah Langness

I like to-do lists. I even have a planner that I write my daily to-do list in. Part of the reason behind this is so that I actually  remember  to do things; if I don’t do the task immediately or at least write the task down, it could be days before I remember that I needed to vacuum the corners of our bedroom or clean the bottom of the fridge. But I’ll be honest: sometimes, I write already completed tasks down on my to-do list so it just  looks  like I accomplished more on a particular day. Because there is something about our human nature, or maybe it’s just our culture, that thrives on being busy and accomplishing.

The other day I was asked, “So what do you do all day?” This particular person knew that I was a stay-at-home-mom. In that moment, I felt like I had to come up with a long, large, impressive list of daily tasks that I accomplish around the house, at church, or in the community. But all I could come up with was: “Well, we go on an hour walk every morning. And we both take naps in the afternoon.” Lame. And it sure makes me sound lazy.

So what do I do all day? Well, I guess it depends. I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees, playing peek-a-boo around the kitchen island as my baby boy crawls after me and giggles. I spend time reading books to my little man, or at just holding the pages open so Zeke can turn the pages on his own. I spend time changing poopy diapers, preparing food for the three of us, washing dishes, making sure Zeke doesn’t eat any electrical cords, cuddling with him, and holding him high enough so he can pull the cord to the ceiling fan.

And why does that somehow, in my mind, seem so unimpressive? So unimportant? I wish it didn’t; it shouldn’t. Because it’s things that I love. Things that I would not change for anything.

Maybe it’s because I’m looking to fulfill the world’s definition of success and importance. Maybe it’s because everyone around me seems to be doing so much, to always be busy, to always have somewhere they have to be. Maybe it’s because, for some awful reason, it seems like spending quality time with my son doesn’t seem like an “important” enough task.

I’ve found great encouragement regarding this in the following words from Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freemen (can you tell what I’ve been reading lately?):

“In the midst of my insecure emotions, I picked up a book written by Major Ian Thomas called The Indwelling Life of Christ. My eyes went directly to this: ‘It is not the nature of what you do that determines the spirituality of any action, but the origin of what you do.’

If what I do is done in complete dependence upon the Father, then it doesn’t matter what that thing is, rather who the one is doing that thing. Is it me? Or is it Him? Colossians says that by faith, it is beautifully and mysteriously both. ‘To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me’ (Colossians 1:29 NIV). Who am I to decide what is extraordinary? The Father has already decided. He says He Himself is extraordinary. So anything I do as I depend on and partner with the Extraordinary One, I suppose that is extraordinary too.” (emphasis mine)

Even changing diapers for the tenth time that day. Even patiently teaching an eight-month old how to self-feed. Even washing dishes, doing laundry, and cleaning the carpet. May it all, even in the un-importance of the task according to the world’s standards, be done by His strength and for Him alone.

 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of your inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” – Colossians 2:23-24 (emphasis mine)