In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Honoring God in the Ordinary

This week over atKingdom Bloggers we're talking about honoring God in the ordinary.

That's not always easy to do. I know that sometimes I can get bogged down in being busy. I’ve found that in the midst of the routine, in the midst of the mundane, that I can become stagnant if I’m not careful.

I’m not what people would consider a charismatic personality, nor am I super self disciplined. So staying enthused and seeking to honor God in my every day life do not come naturally to me. But there are some things that I have found helpful for me in this process; staying in the Word, keeping good role models in my eyesight, choosing to constantly and consistently speak words of thankfulness, music, and choosing excellence even in the small things.

I’ve written a lot lately about the Word and about spending time in the Word, so I won’t write a about that again. Except to say that as I spend time daily in the Word, the Holy Spirit causes the words from the Bible to become life to my spirit.

Perhaps I’ve never understood the influence of others so much as during these past couple of years as I’ve watched my teen son be influenced by the people with whom he hangs out. It’s been heart wrenching to see him turn away here and there from God to pursue worldly pleasure like his contemporaries are pursuing. But I’m not fundamentally different from him; who I surround myself with affects who I become. Of course this doesn’t mean that I don’t develop relationships on varying levels with people who don’t know God, but it does mean that I purposefully pursue godly role models as well.

One of my favorite role models is a French monk named Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence wrote a group of letters that were later compiled into a book entitled “The practice of the presence of God”. He worked at manual labor until his death in 1691, and he wrote about how to live in God’s presence, and do everything in which you are involved, to the honor of God. Here’s an excerpt from his tenth letter:

“Let us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him. I doubt not but that we shall soon find the effects of it in receiving the abundance of His grace, with which we can do all things, and without which we can do nothing but sin.”

Purposefully choosing to put thoughts like these before me, puts me in a place where I’m able to receive God’s outlook on life, to experience His passion, even in the ordinary business of daily living.

If you’ve ever spent any time around a person involved in a 12-step group you’ll soon hear a popular phrase they use: “Attitude of Gratitude”. That’s what I want to have. I’ve found that a simple way to help myself have that attitude on any given day is to look for the good in every situation, to look for how God is giving good gifts to me, and then choose to speak words of thankfulness to my God. Sometimes I speak these words of gratitude aloud and other times, due to life situations, I silently contemplate them in my mind. I’ve seen over the past few years as I’ve chosen to practice this, that there are so many ways that God is blessing me. I’ve seen that there are many blessings that I’ve failed to see in the past because I was choosing to look at the things that I wanted but did not have, and failed to recognize all the good that I already had. It’s hard to not experience the presence of God and passion of the Holy Spirit when I’m thanking and praising Him.

Music is the language of heart and it lifts me to places that I can not take myself. I’ve noticed that David at Kingdom Bloggers frequently mentions this same thing, that listening to music that is uplifting for me during my commute to work, or during tasks at home, helps me remain conscious of God. Helps me stay in constant communication with Him.

Repeatedly I’ve noticed that as I perform those tasks before me to the best of my ability, that as I choose excellence, the fires of the passion in my soul are stoked. In the interest of honesty here, I need to make note that I’ve learned this truth as much from when I’ve done a half-baked job, as from when I’ve done my very best. Something about giving my best, doing my best, stirs up joy inside me. This truth is totally independent from the notice of others; there are so many things in life that we can do extremely well and no one will ever know, but we know and God knows.

So I’ve shared that staying in the Word, keeping godly role models in my eye sight, gratitude, music, and pursuing excellence, are what I’ve found assist me in staying inspired by God, and stir up His passion within me, even in the ordinary business of day to day living.

But what about you, what have you found helps you stay inspired by God in daily life?


David-FireAndGrace said...

Unfortunately, not working while I am in the hospital. I get to make some better choices. ;)

Good word!

JD Curtis said...

I spend time daily in the Word

I don't always and I wish that I did

Tracy said...

David-been praying for you brother.

JD - First thought I had when I read what you wrote: Gee JD, don't be so hard on yourself! I'm just grateful that God, the creator of the universe, would want to spend time with me/us.

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,

I think Brother Lawrence's Practice Of The Presence is one of the most helpful book's I've ever read.

Also, A.W. Tozer's Knowledge Of The Holy, has a big influence in my thinking.

Then, just about any Christian's daily diary--not spruced up Bowerdized biographies--but unvarnished life in the person's own words.

As far as your teenager goes, and as the father of six grown children, I think the main duty of a parent at this point is to survive the kid. I'd suggest that you concentrate on developing good things between yourself and your husband. By the time they're teens, you have done what you can for your kids. Survive until they move out.

Being nosy there but I see a recurrent theme of pain in your blog. I care.


Tracy said...

Thanks John, it's a wonderful thing to know that I've got brothers and sisters in the Lord who care about me. Yep, you could say I've got some tough stuff going on in my life right now. Then again, my husband John's been known to say that one of the reasons he thinks God gave us to each other is because he can be so oblivious that it's like his heart is covered in alligator hide and my heart is so out there that it's like it's got no skin on it.

Sarah said...

Hi, Tracy! I visited you from Victor's blog.

What I love is taking a walk with God in the evening. I'm currently training for a 3-Day-Walk to benefit breast cancer research. At first I always wanted someone to walk with me, but I've since learned that my favorite times are when I'm alone with God, whispering to Him and feeling Him near.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin