Inspiration. Sometimes it comes, and at other times it is hard to come by. The professional writer knows that you cannot wait for inspiration to begin writing, you just have to get in there and do it. These are the ordinary days, the days when nothing amazing is happening, when there is no “spark” that gets you going and you have to just get to the mundane tasks of everyday life.
We are in the church season of ordinary time, which in Latin actually meant “time through the year.” This is the time when we aren’t celebrating any major feasts such as Christmas or Easter, and when the calendar “carries on.”
As I sat down to write this article, several times this week, I struggled with inspiration, and my lack of it. It had been a busy week, filled with meetings, activities with my family, and preparations—all of the regular things of life. But then I met Hilda Wallace, that is, I met her through her obituary. I had known Hilda from the nursing home, but knew very little of her story before her residence there. I hadn’t known that she served as the mayor, that she was a school teacher, or that she had helped with the library, among many other things. I just knew the woman at the nursing home who was living out her ordinary days.
The problem with life today is that we tend to live for the extraordinary, despising the everyday, common parts of life that are so foundational to everything we are and will become. It is as if we care for the beautiful parts of our homes but ignore the foundation that holds the beautiful parts in place. I have to admit that I tend to be one of those people. I find myself drawn to the urgent, ignoring the important until it cries out for my attention.
In Romans, the Apostle Paul talks about the potter and the vessels made by him. Some are made to “honor” and some to “dishonor,” that is to be used for storage and other uses that aren’t the things we ordinarily talk about (Romans 9:21). As the potter fashions the clay for his own purposes, so God fashions our lives for His own purposes. The purposes of some days may seem to us to be dreary and without excitement, causing us to live for the days when we find that exhilaration of celebration.
So how do we live in ordinary times? Do we just plod on until something special comes along? I don’t think so because, you see, even the ordinary clay pot has a use, and when it is being used as the potter designed it, that pot is accomplishing great things! It is living up to its design, to its purpose.
Living in ordinary times requires finding God’s purpose in my life. What am I made to be? What can I do in God’s will for my life? Living in ordinary times requires a recognition of the need for foundational acts, the common things that prepare me for the extraordinary days. Just as we need to build our faith life on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our salvation, we need to build our day-to-day lives on a solid foundation that will support the rest.
The next step is to reject the dichotomy between ordinary and extraordinary and to realize that, in Christ, every day is extraordinary. You see, when we were without Christ, we were lost in sin, wicked and separated from God. When Christ entered our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we were redeemed, restored, and continue to be transformed as we seek to live our lives as God calls us. Each day, each moment is another gift from God, one in which I can stand strong and tall, without guilt or shame, because I belong to my Lord.
Ordinary time? What’s so ordinary about it? Every new day we are able to commune with the one true God; we are given the opportunity to be brand new and to grow and change, even in the seemingly mundane aspects of life. So I’m wishing for you many more ordinary days, when you can be tremendous because of the One to whom you belong!