“Life is Good”? Try “Life is boring”, “Life is Hard”, Life is Dull”. Now, wouldn’t those make good slogans for a t-shirt line? Maybe it’s because I am coming down from the thrill of being in Paris for a week, but I feel bored and tired and disinterested in my everyday life. I realize I sound like a total brat, but let me explain myself a bit and I think we can “reason things out” together…
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend…I have called you friends.” Jesus said that. But I don’t think he was only referring to the day he physically gave up His life for us, His friends. Oswald Chambers points out that “it is far easier to die than to lay down the life day in and day out without the sense of high calling. We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways.”
Even Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, had very few brilliant moments. But for thirty years he laid out His life to do the will of His Father. He spent the majority of his time walking (a lot of walking), teaching, playing with children, studying, fishing, praying, and building furniture and cabinets and kitchen cupboards with his dad.
We sometimes forget that he was a helpless baby, a toddler, and a brother and managed to survive the teenage years, all without sinning. Much of the preparation for his tiny, 3-year stretch of ministry happened in the boring, dull, hard moments of life. And even those years weren’t action packed.
Maybe you are little bit like me. I want to live with the energy that comes from living a heroic kind of life. I want the big without having to do the little. I want my spiritual life to be in order by today, my body to be in tip-top shape by tomorrow, and my book to be published by Thursday and for me to be on the speaking circuit by Friday. Instead, I have to “lay down my life”.
I have to do the small, hidden, seemingly insignificant tasks until those goals are reached. I have to rise and give God priority and permission to put into me what I need and root out what I don’t need. And I have to do that consistently in order to grow up spiritually.
I have to get up every stinkin’ morning and workout, whether I feel like it or not. I have to write and revise and carve out moments to think and pray and prep while sitting alone on my couch. With no one watching or applauding or commenting.
I love the movie Christmas Vacation. At one point, “Cousin Eddie” comes to Clark’s house for a surprise visit (for an indefinite amount of time in his RV, with 2 wild kids and a slobbering dog). He has sold his house and bought an RV because he doesn’t have a job. He hasn’t had a job for several years because, according to his wife, “he’s holding out for a management position.” There’s little chance of management position if you haven’t proven that you can do the basics–like hold down a regular job, for starters.
Don’t be like Cousin Eddie. Stop believing that the only life that counts is the “good life”. Life is made up of lackluster moments. How we live in them is what matters. Life and all the moments of achievement and glory and accomplishment are the result of “laying down your life” on a daily basis. In the mundane and ordinary. Not dying for a great cause for everyone to see.
It’s important for us to remember that when we feel like doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, driving kids to soccer, taking out the trash, showing up for work day in and day out are boring and uneventful.
If we, if I, think my life can only be enjoyable and fulfilling when the big stuff is happening, I will live with much disappointment. “Life” is often sad and sometimes happy. It’s occasionally fun and intermittently scary. It’s painful and joyous and confusing and enlightening. It all counts. Maybe my T-shirt will simply say “Life Is”. Today I will choose to “lay down my life”. All of it.