At Peace With The Ordinary

A young mother found her four-year-old son crying as he was tying his shoes. “Why are you crying?” she asked. “I have to tie my shoes,” he sobbed. “But you just learned how. It isn’t that hard, is it?” “No, but I’m gonna have to do it for the rest of my life!”  Sometimes ordinary, everyday tasks seem too overwhelming.

There are those moments when the thought of doing the same things every day for the rest of our lives seems devastating. We don’t want to become boring old people.  While our lives can be filled with exciting and fun activities, most of our time is taken up with routine tasks that just have to be done. We must keep the house clean, fill the car with gas, pay the bills, do the grocery shopping and replace light bulbs among our many chores.

Author Gordon MacDonald writes that we must learn to “make peace with the ordinary.” That phrase has stuck with me over time. I have often found it difficult to stay interested in my everyday chores. Making peace with the ordinary is really about living a disciplined life. We can’t accomplish our dreams and desires if we can’t master the basics of everyday living. Like Mom used to say, “Make your bed before you go out and play.”

There are lots of exciting and challenging things to do in this world. There are plenty of dreams to pursue and we shouldn’t make excuses as to why we can’t make progress. However, it’s necessary that we make peace with the ordinary. In order to make a difference in this world – to have an impact on others – we must first be disciplined in the ordinary areas of our private world.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)