For myself. I have found this temptation of comparison and discontentment is made even more difficult by the seasons of sameness. Life is marked by these cycles of predictable and ordinary days.
As children and adolescents, we are constantly casting our gaze ahead to the next “thing.” We look forward to:
After finishing our schooling years, we settle into a career and perhaps marry and start a family. As full-fledged adults, you would think we’d feel relieved to finally be where we’ve expectantly looked for so long.
However, in my own experience (and I don’t think I am alone in this), instead of feeling satisfied and settled, there is a temptation for our lives to feel listless and lacking. Every week begins to feel the same:
It may vary slightly from time to time, but at its core life can begin to feel mundane, repetitive, and ordinary. We want something to look forward to, to be excited about. If we’re truly honest, there are even times we want to be able to compare ourselves with the people we see on Facebook or Instagram and feel we measure up to the arbitrary standard of fun, exciting, and exceptional.
This is true regardless of whether you are male or female, single or married, parent or childless. We all have times of feeling stuck in an average and ordinary life. So how do we combat and overcome such feelings? How do we remain not only faithful where we are but find joy in the beauty of the ordinary life God has graciously given to us? As always, God’s Word shows us the way forward.
1. Preach Truth To Your Heart.
The first step we must take to fight feelings that lead to discontentment and discouragement is to replace the thoughts that inform those feelings with thoughts of truth. That is not to say we simply ignore hard things by meditating on positive platitudes. Often, there are truly difficult and even painful things we may be facing day-to-day. Acknowledge those things in your life, but never let them have the final or primary say. David shows us this pattern throughout the Psalms. Consider this example in Psalm 69:
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in a deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” v. 1-3
This is just one example of the pattern we see in David’s life and his psalms of acknowledging his present difficulties and then calling on God’s mercy in a way that shows he is certain God will rescue him. When we face similar times in our lives, we should respond like David and remind our hearts and minds that God cares for us and His plans and purposes will prevail.
Additionally, when life feels monotonous and ordinary we can begin to believe the lie that our lives lack purpose or worth. We need to confront these negative and false feelings with the truth that our circumstances have been designed and brought to pass by a loving and sovereign God. Wherever we are in life, nothing good has been withheld and we have not been forgotten. Our lives are full and rich because they have been given by God and all his gifts are good! When life feels the same and the daily drudgery is wearing you down, remember that even ordinary days and tasks can be done with joy, gratitude, and faithfulness to the glory of God.
Whether your life is simply tedious and stale or you are facing times of real trouble and trials, you are not there by mistake. Whatever we face, we must inform our thoughts and feelings with God’s truth, His attributes, and His character. If we allow our emotions and feelings to be our primary source of truth, we will become slaves to their whims. Put your heart in check and preach God’s unchanging and encouraging truth to yourself each day.
2. Stay Rooted in the Word.
This step definitely goes hand in hand with the previous one. We will have no weapon with which to guard our hearts and minds if we do not immerse ourselves in the Word each day. It is Scripture that equips us to handle any and all situations we face. It gives us the encouragement, instruction, warnings, guidance, and correction we need to live a faithful and profitable Christian life.
”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
If we neglect Scripture, we will undoubtedly fill our hearts and mind with worldly wisdom that will fail us and lead us astray.
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” 1 Corinthians 3:19a
Perhaps you are in a season of life where you cannot spend long periods of time in the study of God’s Word. While we ought to seek out quantity time in His Word, we must also remember that quality time is far more important.
Rather than holding yourself to reading multiple chapters in a day, spend the time you have diving deep into a few verses or sections of a chapter. This will give you the main truth to dwell on and ponder. As F.B. Meyer said, “Better read less and meditate more than read much and meditate little.”
Another way to really immerse yourself in the Word is to listen to the sermons, Gospel-centered podcasts, and theologically rich music. Our days are often littered with tasks that can be done while we listen to something else. Take advantage of these resources as a means to continuously guard your heart and mind with God’s truth. It will fill even your ordinary days with extraordinary empowerment.
3. Seek Out a Godly Mentor.
Mentoring should always be a part of the Christian’s life but especially at times when we are struggling and in need of encouragement. Sometimes this looks like structured, scheduled, and regular meetings, and other times it is simply members of the body of Christ doing life together. However it is organized, Scripture is clear that we ought always to be both mentoring someone and also being mentored as well.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Mentoring relationships are more than just friendship:
I am very fortunate that at a young age my mother both encouraged and required me to find a biblical mentor. She counseled me to select a woman who was at least a generation older than me with whom I would regularly meet. We would, of course, talk about the Word and what God was teaching me, but she was also someone who could speak God’s wisdom into simple, everyday life.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous such women who were willing to take on that role for me. They have each spoken rich and timely truth into my life. Additionally, God has given me opportunities to do the same for others.
If you are struggling in a season of sameness and a life that feels ordinary and unremarkable, seek out an older, wiser Christian to guide you in this valley. They have doubtless faced similar experiences and can offer you the encouragement, instruction, and accountability you need.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Prov. 11:14
4. Be Where You Are.
As stated earlier, God placed you in this season of life. Instead of viewing our lives the way we did as children (always looking ahead to the next thing), we need to be fully invested in where God has put us, even if where we are doesn’t feel exciting, glamorous, or worthwhile.
Our life is never a waiting room. Where you are at this moment is important. It is valuable. It is useful.
Whatever your case may be, where you are right now is God’s best for you and has immense value. Make the most of it by doing two things:
As a mom of a four-year-old, my life today (and the last few years) is filled with repetition and responsibilities that often feel mundane and extremely ordinary. I have found it very easy to fall into thoughts and feelings of drudgery and discouragement. Day after day is more of the same, and it’s easy to forget that even in this stage and season of life, what I am doing is still very important. God has to constantly remind me that faithfulness in every task — big or small, glamorous or plain, seen or unnoticed — brings Him glory and honor.
I cannot compare my life to others. God doesn’t dole out cookie-cutter plans for us to live. His plan for me is unique and special, even if the day-to-day grind doesn’t feel so special. He doesn’t ask me to measure my progress against an Instagram mom or even another woman in my church. He calls me to use His Word and His revealed will as my standard. He calls me to be faithful both in little and in much.
If you’re reading this and feeling the tedium of an ordinary life, take heart. These ordinary days, weeks, and years can be used to produce something amazing. Be faithful where you are and trust that God’s plan for you is wonderfully perfect and far from ordinary.
Which of these 4 Things to Remember When Life Feels Ordinary is most impactful to you?
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