Are you chronically bored with life? Does the sameness of your days leave you feeling like you’ve missed your calling, lost your ambition or fallen off of the Life Is Fun ride?
I remember a time when I tried out basketball and belly dancing. New friends populated my world. Some weekends I went to prison, to visit inmates; some nights I took the subway to the inner core, to minister to the homeless. Art exhibits enchanted me. New music was a wonder. Worship services were varied and meaningful. I played the flute in an orchestra, led dorm meetings. Ooops. I’ve given myself away. You’re right. This was a long time ago.
New friends. New involvements. New. New. New. Do you ever transport yourself, for a few moments, to a new life? One with a new job (or no job), new spouse (or no spouse), new children (or no children), new house, new church…
I think we’re dazzled by the potential of something new. Familiar things offer comfort and security, which all of us need. But we wonder if something is missing or if we’ve lost something along the way.
You could sign up for a community workshop, or you could teach one. You would meet new people and vary your routine. You could learn a new language (I know a great teacher!)
Maybe you can’t.
Maybe life limits you.
Could you try a new author? Plant a new flower? Cook a new dish?
Could be fun.
After a week, though, the new author won’t be new anymore, the flower will be old news, and on the second try the new dish will be an old favourite.
Enter: The Power of the Plod.
I read this phrase in a devotional and I like it. The author writes about when life is tedious and monotonous. When you feel stuck. She observes that no matter where we’re at, there is likely some aspect of life that feels like a slog.
Then she asks a few pointed questions.
What if there is true magnificence to be found in the mundane? What if it is on our plodding paths that we find our purpose? What if the God of the universe desires to meet us on the road seemingly headed nowhere, to empower us with strength and dazzle our hearts and eyes with Himself?
Although we often think of great heros of the faith as people living exciting lives and called to exceptional ministries, we forget that they were, for the most part, called to slog through ‘tedious or difficult circumstances day after day, year after year.”
Think about Moses, caring for sheep for decades, and then (after a few hair-raising weeks) leading thousands of grumpy Israelites around in the desert for forty years.
I know people who change the world through their actions. They counsel drug addicts. They adopt or foster children. They serve as missionaries.
It’s easy to forget that in staying faithful to this calling, the newness of it wears off and they, too, find themselves following a routine. Feeding those children three times a day. Every day. Driving the same route to work, making baby-step progress in a familiar office with familiar clients. Waking up to take a cold shower – again – in a less than thrilling bathroom in the missionary compound. These routines look different from mine… but they are still routine.
I think Ginny Owens is right.
God built into each of us a desire for wonder. When we’re little, the world captivates us. As we get older He is the only One who can continue to do that – fill our hearts with wonder. If you don’t feel it, wait for it. Seek Him. He is faithful. He will be found by those who seek Him.
And setting wonder aside, sometimes the simple truth is that we’re called to routine. Humans need routine – it’s built into our biology as we eat and poop and sleep. Don’t underestimate the power of the plod.
Most days it might not feel like it, but you make a difference. Your life has meaning.
Try something new, by all means.
But plod on.
There is power in the plod.