life, My Faith

Embracing ordinary

I found the above quote today and I felt like I needed it, more than once. So, I did what I do. I put it on a piece of art to hang up.

Here’s the thing. I’m as guilty as the next person, chasing something extraordinary and missing what’s right in front of my eyes. I struggle with this a lot.

I’ve told you I’ve been looking for what my “ministry” might be. (I put that in quotes because it feels like a trite expression sometimes and I don’t want it dismissed as that.) I still have no idea. I have yet to figure out what I feel “called to”. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m looking for greatness, for extraordinary. Maybe right now it’s not extraordinary.

Maybe it’s right in the ordinary things. Maybe it’s brightening an old man’s day by letting him call me “Lucy” because it makes him smile. Maybe it’s in listening to and supporting my people. Maybe it’s in living in the moment and looking for the joy in the present and not for a way to change the present.

Maybe some day it will be extraordinary but for now I think it’s time to focus on the ordinary and change my view of what I do every day, when I’m not meaning to. I know people minister to me so much in that manner when they don’t even set out for that task. It just happens when you’re doing life in the ordinary.

I think, too, in the holiday season, we need to stop seeking the extraordinary and find joy in the ordinary.

I put up my tree a few days before Thanksgiving. (I know. I know. I tried to hold out. It just happened.) I love my tree and this year it really does bring me joy. I wake up and look down the hall and it makes me smile. It’s not super special or expertly decorated, and I keep looking for what it’s missing but I haven’t found it yet. But it’s my tree. And it brings me joy.

No matter how you celebrate the holiday, do it in a way that brings YOU joy and reminds you of the reason for the season.

The other day I overheard a conversation that made me realize it’s important to do the holiday in whatever way each person is ready for. Someone said they weren’t sure if they were decorating due to a member of their family dying. The other person said something to the effect of, well they wouldn’t want you to miss Christmas and not decorate. (Disclaimer: this person was trying to be helpful and not mean).

After the person walked away, I felt compelled to wrap her in my arms and say, “do whatever you feel is best when you’re ready to do it.” You see, I’ve been there, more recently than makes sense. But grief has its own timetable. (So if it’s taking a while for you, don’t judge yourself too harshly.). My tree had lived in the shed for several years. I had zero decorations in my house for several years. Christmas felt hard and sad and I didn’t feel like doing it. (That’s not to say I didn’t buy presents cuz y’all. Giving gifts makes me insanely happy. I have to rein it in a lot.)

But this year is different. This tree is not the tree that lived in the shed. This is a brand new tree for a brand new season of firsts. My first house deserves a new tree. I donated the shed tree and it’s decorations to someone who couldn’t afford a tree for their kids. I kept the “special ornaments” that we had accumulated but everything else went. And I love it.

I’m reading the book “Sacred Holidays” (which I am reviewing for Lifeway so you’ll hear all about it soon.). Its tagline is “Less chaos, more Jesus” and I am trying to make that my goal for this season. I decorated and I’m so glad I did but I want to focus on the reason for the season and spending time with the people I love. I’m starting an Advent bible study on Sunday and excited for that. (From She Reads Truth). And just looking for little ways to find joy and purpose in the season, instead of chaos and competition.

I encourage you to try to focus less on the crazy and focus more on the joy. Don’t try to make your holiday extraordinary! The birth of Christ was extraordinary enough. Just focus on the ordinary ways you can bring Him joy and find joy in the season! Decorate. Don’t decorate. Whatever you do, focus on Jesus and find joy. ♥️

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