I feel like its the very things that we are most opposed to, that the Lord most effectively uses to shape us and further our futures with. And even more than that, it seems that though we may start with no real desire for a particular thing, direction, or vision, our hearts will eventually turn towards it, because the Lord made us for it.
Sometimes, that can be somewhat of a precarious truth, that the Lord’s ways are not our own. Because we all know those people… who started out to be a doctor, and right before they were about to attain their massively lofty goal, they drop out of school to be a youth pastor, cause that’s what they felt like the Lord told them to do. And not to belittle that sort of thing, cause that’s truly amazing — I envy your faith and your obedience if your story is anything like that. But when it comes to choosing a major, carer, industry, passion, or location to live, that’s not very comforting. Like, if there’s such a huge possibility that the Lord’s gonna change your heart from what you think is the right thing, then how the heck do we go about things with any confidence at all?!
I’ve found myself right in the middle of a shift like this… and it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it might be.
For the last like 7 years of my life, I’d been so faithfully against the idea of living a mundane life. It’s really nothing unique to anyone in my generation — we’re so desperate to matter, to make things that matter, and stand for something that matters. But we basically have no idea what that even means or how to go about it. And 15-year old Aaron thought that insignificance meant staying in one place, working a steady day job, having dumb dinner parties, not adventuring or exploring, and being generally lame — basically, being completely average in every way.
A wise friend and mentor of mine once described to me this principle of “preserving the mundane.” I’m fairly positive that he learned it from someone else, but I still think it’s brilliant, nonetheless. However, I didn’t think it was so brilliant at the time. The idea is that the only reason people go to wars; the only reason people work so hard to create an illustrious career; the only reason people really adventure, explore, or do anything at all — is to preserve normality. We do things to sustain the pace of life that we love and prosper in.
Our highest moments of achievement, and our lowest moments of distress — they shape us into the people that inhabit the everyday.
It’s exhilarating to think about traveling the world, telling people about Jesus, doing things that Jesus did, living kindof like a nomad, and having no real place to call “home”. Essentially, that’s where I’m at in life. It’s pretty awesome, not gonna lie… but there’s something that’s lacking in this sort of lifestyle, and I could never really put a finger on what it was, until a friend and I were talking about it. They said that, “When things are planted at an extremely high or low altitude, they cannot be sustained… but it’s in that middle, fertile ground that the greatest harvest is yielded.” That really hit me hard. What they were saying is along the same lines as “preserving the mundane” — but in this case, it’s not an option, it’s necessity. For things to grow, they cannot be at the grandest of highs; they must be planted in a suitable location to take root. And in people-terms… a person cannot find “home” in the adventure, the sleepless lifestyle, or the adrenaline inducing thrills. They must be planted before they can truly find supplement to the normality.
For me to hear that was extremely freeing — adventure in itself is pointless, unless there is a place to tell the story, express the feelings, share the photos, and connect with other people. In this same thought, I realized that really one of the reasons I desire to be making money, is not so that I can feel good about it and buy nice stuff… it’s so that I can continue to take people out to coffee, hear their stories, talk about life, and do what I feel like I’m made to do. I find such joy and life in that. And that shift that I was talking about? This is it. Instead of seeing adventure, independence, and movement as the end goal, I now see that they’re simply supplements that will aid in my normality. They’re neither the goal, nor the enemy — they’re mere additions to the wonderful, amazing, grace-filled life that I’ve found in Christ.
I had to ask myself: Why do I do, what I do? What is the mundane that I’m trying to preserve? If you don’t know what’s important (vision), you’ll just keep blindly making choices that aren’t really amounting to anything.
I never thought I’d say it, but… I so desire to be planted in a community, working a steady job that I enjoy, actively serving in an awesome church, having a home that I can invite people to stay in, and finding roots in a city that I love. According to 15-year old Aaron, that would be a boring dream. But with vision, perspective, and much prayer, my heart so longs for that very thing… the thing that I’d never thought I’d do. It’s crazy how God works, and I’m starting to realize that I’m glad I don’t know how He works… cause He’s so much better at life than I am.
So, a few thoughts to conclude:
- If you’re unsure of what to do, for fear that God will say otherwise… just do something! It’s not as scary as it seems, and He’ll always take care of you. But if you’re not making use of what He’s already given you, why do you think He would continue to lead you to where you’re most useful in this life?
- Don't make normality the enemy. It’s where we grow the most, learn the most, and love the most. “Mundane” doesn’t have to mean insignificant — your life is what you make of it, so make it count!
- What are the things that you’re investing into that aren’t really that important? Take that trip, get that degree, open that small business… but know why you do what you do, and remind yourself of it often.
- The most grand adventure isn’t found on the mountaintop — it’s found living in the ordinary, extraordinarily well. Let go of your misconceptions of what’s expected of you! Consistency will make your life richer than any single bursts of experience will. And if you feel like you’re failing because you’re not sprinting through life, perhaps it’s time to reassess what’s important.
I pray that in this day, you’re full of faith and hope, knowing that the Lord has already given you the strength to move boldly forward into the future. But y’know what the future’s made up of? Your choices now. Make the hard choices now! rather than later! Learn to see the value of hard work, but also the value of rest. Gain all the wisdom that you possibly can, but also take risks that might be scary at first. Choose to see your current situation as an opportunity, rather than an obstruction to something better. I pray that you’ll see that your life matters so very much… so much so, that Jesus gave his own life to ensure that you had the opportunity to live yours fully. Don’t let that sacrifice go to waste by living in any other way than how the Lord has instructed: full of hope, love, grace, peace, gentleness, and joy. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fill your heart again in this day, and remind you of the thoughts that He has of you — He’s got amazing plans for you, and they start with your willingness to listen to what He has to say. I love you, friend. I hope you have an awesome week. Keep moving forward.