Holy Rhythm: A Fruit We Grow in The Middle of Mundane
A friend and I were recently talking and I was telling her about how I feel ready to settle into a job that's a little more steady, regular, and full time. A couple years ago, I was working part-time at Teavana, left there for a full-time job, but didn’t last more than six months before going back to Teavana and picking up an extra part-time job to make ends meet.
Two years ago, I would have laughed and said no to anything that required a full-time load. I had no ambition to make work a priority in my life because I was only seeking the adventure, next thrill, and highlight reel.
Even so, I began looking at the people around me, particularly people who impressed me with their ability to work full-time and still make it to their social, church, and family commitments. Over this time, God began to speak to me about the highlight-reels and pull what was really going on out of me.
It’s so easy to look at the constant stories on social media and compare my mundane with the highlight reels of everyone else. For a really long time, I compared my weekly routine that often feels mundane to the highlights of my friends traveling constantly and to the people I see doing the types of things I’d like to do on a regular basis. However, this comparison only left me feeling like my mundane rhythm wasn’t enough.
And this is a lie.
I forget that the adventure is actually found in the mundane aspects of life and I’m learning that if I can withstand the trials that come within the boring pieces of life, then I am capable of being able to withstand anything that comes my way.
So many people helped me recognize this by going about their normal lives that they know to live. One day this past summer, I gave a ride to someone I know after her car died. Someone I used to live with continued to faithfully go to work in the middle of the chaos of moving from one home to another. Once my next door neighbor, also a member of the worship team I’m on, and part of the community I’m in… My boss works every day behind a computer screen and helps cover day program for individuals who don’t have staff when he can, and then he drives home to a family and the myriad of obligations that come with having a home. My friends also have jobs that they keep on the weekdays outside of the times I see them in church or on weeknights.
Just tonight, my mentor and I were sitting on her couch and I was expressing all of this to her and her son walked up in the middle of my processing with a piece of chocolate. With a joyful smile on his face, he asked her if he could eat the chocolate and she said yes, but asked for a kiss first. He shrieked with happiness as she pulled him in for a kiss and he walked away with chocolate in his mouth and gold wrapper in hand. It was an innocent and sweet moment in the middle of a weekly routine that has quickly become on of my favorite aspects of the week.
Over the course of several months, I’ve come to find that the mundane rhythm is where Jesus comes to meet me and surprise me. This is where He reaches in, asking for the complexity and mystery of my own heart rather than the face-value, complexity, and mystery of exploring new lands, jobs, and places. I certainly believe that travel is an aspect of being able to experience Him and other people — I would argue its the way I feel closest to Him — but only when the mundane of regular life has been mastered do we recognize the gift being able to go away for a while really is. Going away, instead, helps us to experience a pause, and come back to our regular routine revitalized and refreshed.
Life is built in the mundane and comparing my mundane to anyone else’s highlight reel is only going to hurt me more than help me. I recognize now that in the middle of beautiful highlights is the questioning that isn’t seen in photographs. In the middle of the highlight is where the doubts surface, but they are rarely ever shared. In the middle of the highlight is where evaluations take place and real emotions surface. Kids scream after a beautiful photo is taken. Sauce is spilled on a beautiful white top minutes after the photographer leaves. Jealousy. Hurts. Doubts. Questions. The list of things really happening beyond the surface could go on and on and no one could even know because the highlight is all that’s ever shared.
The boundary of a beautiful instagram photo is not the entire picture in the same way that my shared highlights are not the entire picture of everything I wrestle with. A whole life and a good story is not only made up of highlights.