Do you ever feel like your regular life is just completely, 100% ordinary and yet it’s absolutely the place God has called you to? Or is that just me…
I’ve been to Haiti (three times) and recently spent two weeks exploring Israel which basically means my little white desk in my Birmingham apartment doesn’t feel very, uh, extraordinary.
Since returning from Israel, I’ve been writing a lot more than normal, working longer hours than usual, and spending all of my free time A) staring at pictures from Israel or B) staring at pictures from Haiti. (And in the interest of full disclosure, on Tuesday afternoons I spend two hours watching the Bachelorette. Because I have neither cable nor shame.)
My “here” for now is Birmingham and I’m good with that. Really.
But the first two weeks after returning from Haiti and then from Israel, I struggled with my daily, ordinary life. Instead of spending my entire day loving on children or walking the roads Jesus walked, I was making graphics for a book launch or scheduling Twitter for a client. Regular life wasn’t bad – by any means – but it felt, well, regular.
Ordinary life holds weight, too. It matters in the Kingdom. But to be honest, I discovered that I was becoming bored with my own life. (Yikes.)
So I issued myself a challenge: find the beautiful in the ordinary of right now.
An iced coffee.
Receiving a text message full of encouragement.
A clear blue sky.
Fresh cut flowers.
My new favorite song on the radio.
A cooking class in the park.
It’s nothing that you’d write home about, really. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. I still miss serving and loving in Haiti. And I miss being in Israel. But I’m finding the beauty here, too, because it’s waiting to be found. I just have to look a little (sometimes, a lot) harder.
Last week I emailed my newsletter friends and told them about a challenge I was going to give myself, a challenge to practice gratitude in the place He has called me to today.
I wanted to capture the beauty of an ordinary day in each of those three places that hold a piece of my heart, so I decided to find something beautiful – and completely ordinary – throughout the day. I chose to open my eyes to the extra in the ordinary, the stuff that, with the right lens, looks extraordinary.
I decided to call it #beautifulordinarynow.
Here’s what I wrote when I introduced it to Insta:
I’m a little nervous about this, but mainly I’m excited. Hopeful. Expectant, even. Beauty shines brightly in Haiti and Israel… but there has to be beauty here, too. So I’m issuing myself a challenge and you can hold me accountable. For the next 3 days, I’ll post a beautifully ordinary moment from each of these places – morning, afternoon and evening. (Yeah, I’ll most likely lose a handful of followers over the course of these 3 days, but that’s okay because it’s never been about the numbers anyways. I hope it will challenge and encourage all the Internets to go on a beauty-hunt in their regular life, but honestly I’m doing this for my own soul.) Here’s to beautifully ordinary days. Tomorrow: Haiti, the place where joy and sorrow dance together. #beautifulordinarynow
By the time Tuesday night rolled around and I posted my final picture of the challenge, a beautifully ordinary evening in Birmingham, I realized that I didn’t want it to end. Sure, finding the beauty in the ordinary was much harder on Tuesday than Sunday (Haiti) or Monday (Israel). But it turned out to be true:
Beauty is waiting to be found, hidden in plain sight in the middle of our ordinary lives.
Nothing about my life changed. Everything that was ordinary remained exactly that. But when I went on a beauty-hunt, the ordinary began to look extraordinary in completely regular ways. I don’t have a bow to wrap this up, but I do know that I’m not going to stop here.
Tomorrow is another average, regular, ordinary day.
And there’s beauty waiting to be found.
Look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else. -C.S. Lewis
PS #beautifulordinarynow is quickly becoming my very favorite of all the hashtags. Feel free to look through the (ordinary + beautiful) pictures and be encouraged.