I wake up. Drag out of bed. Drink coffee. Kiss kids. Shower (maybe). Get dressed (also optional). Check email and Facebook.(No one else posts any of these big accomplishments in their status updates.) Grocery shop for an army. Do stinky boy laundry. Wish I were Jeanie from the old TV show “I Dream of Jeanie” where I blink and nod as "all things ordinary" transform into a Pottery Barn catalog layout or an episode of Leave It To Beaver. God knows my real life is already on a current TV show, the Middle. I laugh a lot at that show, and then I pause and think, “Crap. That’s not funny at all. That’s me. It’s downright tragic.”
I never wanted to be ordinary. Ordinary implies boring and non-adventurous. My pulse doesn’t race at the word, ordinary. I don’t jump out of bed for ordinary. Which explains why most mornings require strong coffee. I rather despise ordinary. I have “failure to thrive” on days of ordinary. Thus, the reason I’m in pajamas at 6:00pm and my house smells like a diaper. I’m sure I do SOMETHING on ordinary days. After all, I only napped for 3 of the 15 hours of my day, and my KIDS are dressed and fed, even if they ate Oreos and goldfish crackers from a box.
What is it about ordinary that makes my skin crawl? Ordinary means “deficient in quality.” Less than. Ordinary implies that there is something more out there; I just haven’t found it. So I wake up cranky and discouraged to be living yet another ordinary day that looks exactly like the last one.
The movie, Groundhog Day comes to mind. Phil, the news reporter is so cranky, critical and selfish that some “higher power” makes him relive the same day over and over until he gets it right. Until he changes his perspective about his job, until he serves others willingly, shows generosity, sacrifices for the greater good, until he choses gratitude for the life he is living. He lived that same horrific day over and over until, not the EVENTS of his day changed, but his perspective of and reaction to the events changed.
A 1990s movie with big bang haircuts and shoulder pads is convicting me! I’m choosing to live my own Groundhog Day hell here, and I’m the only one who can change it. Awesome. I don’t even like to change my clothes.
Here is the advice I’m NOT taking, or giving: “If you could just see all sunshine and puppies when your feet hit the floor, then Praise the Lord! It’s a great day!” Give my pillow back and shut the blinds, Pollyanna. Better yet. Let me strangle you with said pillow.
How do I REALLY escape my own personal Groundhog Day without choking on the cheese? I asked God this question, and first He brought to mind, Philippians 4:8-9, but I said, “God. I hate to complain. But the word lovely is on that list of things to dwell on. Ya think you could give me a verse without lovely? That one musters up sunshine and puppies. And right now, I want to kick puppies." He willingly accommodated:
Romans 12:1-3 (MSG) So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
So there it is. Take my ORDINARY life, offer it to God, and see how He transforms it. See what goodness He brings to me. Hmm. Okay. Let’s try:
1. Wake up. Mmm, I smell delicious coffee....
2. Drag out of bed. Another day to see what God is up to. Can’t wait to see...
3. Drink coffee. Vanilla Caramel creamer is the liquid of love.
4. Kiss kids. I love their smooth, sweet smelling cheeks that bounce when I smooch them.
5. Shower. I love the feel of warm water that soothes me, almost womb like.
6. Get dressed. My favorite sweats and t-shirt. Ahh.
7. Check email & Facebook. Thank You Lord for friends and family to connect with.
8. Grocery shop. Wow, thank You for all of this abundance!
9. Do stinky boy laundry. Thank you Lord for soap!
So there it is. The list in my Gratitude Journal today, this Gratitude thing I learned about this past year and this past weekend at my Women’s Retreat. No puppies and sunshine necessary. Just things I’m really jazzed about. And when life reeks of ordinary, I’m gonna let God do a little plastic surgery on my perspective. And if He’s feeling generous, He’s welcome to nip and tuck other parts of me, too.