Finding Meaning in the Mundane
Paul Tripp is quoted as saying, “If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.”
Gloria Furman, author of Glimpses of Grace, explains in her book how she was heavily impacted by these words. Through reading Furman’s work, I am slowly gaining a renewed perspective on what could be viewed as ordinary or even dull.
As the full-time mom of an eleven month old, it seems like my life is filled with mundane moments, hours, and days. Wake up, bottle, breakfast, play, nap. Wake up, bottle, lunch, play, nap. Wake up, bottle, play, dinner, play, bottle, bedtime. Add to this routine the countless diaper changes, nose wipes, medicine distributions, and clothing changes for various reasons, and the day can become fairly monotonous.
Reading Furman’s book has given me some insight into how I think about my mundane moments. For starters, I realized I wasn’t even thinking about them, nor would I have regarded them, as mundane. I was basically going through the motions everyday without giving much thought to my heart behind the motions. After working in full-time ministry on the college campus for eight years, being a mom hasn’t felt like a step down, but it has felt like a step in a completely different direction. My job has shifted from shepherding the hearts of college women to shepherding the heart of a baby (while also helping her develop motor, cognitive, and emotional skills). This has required a significant change in my skill set, but after the first few months, life became fairly predictable.
For nearly a year, the mundane moments have abounded and it has taken me almost the entire time to understand that God rules my mundane. To be more precise, it has taken me thirty-two years to comprehend this truth because it’s not as if the mundane moments only began when my baby was born.
Why is it important that I understand God is ruling my mundane?
Because the way I view God changes everything. The work accomplished on the cross for me by Jesus allows me to look back and recall that God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for me, and promises to give me all things along with him (Romans 8:32). In addition, I can look forward to the return of my King in all of his glory, longing for his appearance, and his promise to make all things new (Titus 2:13; Revelation 21:5). These realities should make everyday occurrences in my life anything but mundane. In fact, they are infused with significance.
This is a proactive exercise that involves engaging both my heart and mind. It does not allow me to go through the motions as I sweep the floor, prepare dinner, or stop my baby before she attempts to eat a piece of trash. I realize this is not everyone’s reality, but I know that everyone has mundane moments, days, even weeks. Regardless of whether you are sorting through spreadsheets, drawing blood, stamping t-shirts, writing blogs, or managing projects, God rules your mundane. What we all need is to remember, in the midst of the mundane, the gospel reality that Jesus not only died for my apathetic heart in the mundane moments, but will also return to rule and reign again over a better reality. That is what we need to remember when our routine starts again tomorrow morning.