Join Josh and Kit as they discuss the ordinary of life and the gift it can be if we rest in it.
…life is really a mystery that God invites us into so that we can trust him…
…there is also a lot of other moments that are ordinary and mysterious and who do we not miss those?…
…I didn’t realize I was running to that other stuff to try and distract myself from this deep pain, this deep wound,…
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This morning, I was reading a poem, prayer that a client sent to me by Frederick buechner. And it really spoke to me just a little bit of a little bit of it says, Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is in the boredom and the pain of it. And I’ve been thinking a lot about life is a mystery how we want it to be sure and certain. And it really is a mystery that God invites us into, so that we can trust him. And along with that, is this idea of ordinary days, and just instead of wanting to have outcomes, and excitement, and all of that, that it’s just like, life is mysterious. And there are moments and days that are ordinary, and they’re precious, and we missed so much, when we are looking for something grand, and you know, fantastic and exciting, where in reality, there’s so much grace just everywhere.
So I’ve two reactions to what you’re saying. One is kind of this a It sounds so boring, you know. And, and I also have a sense of, of longing, because I I know the world we live in, and I know that there’s so much excitement and entertainment there. There’s lights and glitz and, and and, you know, flavors and an advertisement, there’s just so much distraction. And I know, I’m not, you know, 48 there’s enough, it doesn’t satisfy for long. And I think in the realm of the people we work with here, I think whether it’s they’re coming here because and this marriage is not at all what I thought was gonna be or right. It seemed to fizzle after the first couple of years or, or, you know, I’m trying to give up porn. I’m trying to give up these illicit affairs and trying to give up these hookups. Yeah, but when I do, like, I’m left with this bareness, or where I’m trying to walk in obedience to the Lord and chastity because I’m single. But, man, it feels like I’m missing out.
Yeah. And I think there’s a couple of things there. I don’t think it’s either or, I think, of course, excitement can has its place, you know, I mean, I think I get excited. I love food, I love, you know, adventures that I go on with my family. So you know, it’s not that I don’t don’t want that, or that’s not a good thing. But I think too much of that sets us up with expectations. And many people come here. And they do say, this isn’t the life I dropped off. Because they have all these expectations that it’s going to be all those things all the time. And so to stop and to be like there are those moments, and that’s great. And there’s also a lot of other moments that are ordinary and mysterious, and how do we not miss those?
I think one way to think about it, too, is it’s almost like Well, let me actually before I say that, let me give another category because I do think that there’s like, Hey, there are seasons or moments or times of excitement. But I think there’s also there’s an there’s an addiction that can happen with are there. A lot of that can stuff can become addictive, whether it’s a media or or, or food or gambling or adrenaline addiction or sex. Yeah, I mean, there’s, there is a like, and part of what I think people have been identifying is if we feel if there’s a deadness inside in our own in some of those deep mysterious places in us then what we end up doing is we end up using our our bodies to feel something and so you know I’m not running to porn just because it’s it feels because I’m going into porn because something else in me is longing I’m it’s dead it’s not it’s not alive something so the invitation that you’re offering is not like hey, here’s the here’s the good holy way you shouldn’t want excited it’s really like you actually your soul is hungry. Your Your heart is longing and if you just live on the sensational level you actually will continue to long and that’ll just increase your hunger and increase your your likelihood it remain in the addictions you’re in or enter into addictions because you won’t know you’re not paying attention to the deeper longings you have inside.
there’s a there’s a quote. I think it’s Parker Palmer, who says something about the soul will have you run through this the woods like a like a wild animal, the soul is not going to come out. It needs quiet. The soul does need quiet in order to fully kind of come alive. And so if you’re addicted to excitement, your souls kind of getting trampled and lost. You know
And I think where the where the church can get into trouble is I mean, I, you know, the conversation was probably 20 years ago, but people were in a small group, and we were talking about, like, you know, hey, church needs to remain relevant. And which is, which is another way of saying, you know, church, church should be should, in some way feel to the culture, you know, like it has anything to do with culture, there is truth to that, you know, we become all things to all people. So we can save some Paul said, but but at the same time, I think, what we’re missing there is the true, the true spiritual life that that God invites us into, which is not just a spiritual thing, it is a physical thing to I mean, we our body and spirit. So the life that God invites us into, is always relevant, you know, and, and there’s a lot in this world, that is, quite frankly, trying to pull our eyes shut to the, to the real relevancy of life with God of the ordinary life of the, as the quote, you’d mentioned, the mystery of life that God is inviting us into. here’s just an example for me. When I was a little boy, I loved sunsets. And especially when visiting my dad in in Southern Maryland, we’d we’d be driving by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. And more than once I was like, Dad, you have to pull the car over. Because this the sunsets, they were like, unbelievable. I grew up in Colorado, since they are beautiful, too, but in a very different way. And we see the sunsets and we just stop and watch in the car, we just got to get quiet for a bit. See birds silhouettes and boats silhouettes and stuff like that. as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed in me a restlessness that won’t slow down for sunsets. And it’s a that’s a cue that I’ve learned, like something’s, you know, maybe one day, maybe two days. But if that’s the ongoing kind of state of my soul, then what am I running from? or What am I running to that I’m missing this quiet, non obtrusive invitation, I think, invitation from God, to soak in His Majesty and His gift to me.
And it’s sensational. Yeah. I mean, like, there are many times in the summer where we sit outside and watch the sunset, and it is mesmerizing. But if you’re too busy, being addicted to excitement, you won’t think that’s exciting. But if you really, if it’s especially a really beautiful sunset, and the clouds are moving, and it’s sensational, if you allow your soul to actually experience it, and and the desert mothers and fathers, right, isn’t that what they did, they left all the kind of craziness to go away, to sort of get back in touch with that. And it wasn’t just to get in touch with it so that they could enjoy it. It filled them up so that they could go back in, which I think is true for us.
Right? And yeah, people people started coming out to them. Yeah, both to mine, like what what have you been receiving, but also to begin experiencing some of themselves?
Right, so they could get filled up and prepared to be in the world, but not lose themselves in it? Yeah.
The other thing I think that we have to talk about is the reality that that what we’re what we’re describing is not two separate ways of living. We are describing in some ways, like the the cure to some of the addictions that we struggle with, and so eat. Like, I know, there’s one point in my early recovery, where Dr. Doug Weiss, really challenged some of us to not he wasn’t there, but some of his writings challenged us. What were the things that you loved to do as a child? That was where I realized I
love sunsets? Great question.
And, and he said, you know, for so many of us who have sort of a sexual addiction, that becomes I know, not everyone listening has strong sexual exhibit for those of us who have that became the one source of pleasure of joy. And so, you know, I think for everybody today, like what are those places that you run to for? You know, your drug of choice to de stress to, to feel good? Is sports? Is it drink? Is it drugs? Is it sex? Is it adrenaline? Is it the next, you know, big deal at work? Is it success at work or in school? Because, like, is that really what satisfies the soul and I think it’s some of that stuff is just keeps us running. But as so his invitation to look back to what we like to children was in part to get back in touch with some of those simple, ordinary, real life pleasures that made us come alive. And what’s interesting is,
I have a lot of conversations with women about, you know, they’re struggling with, you know, relationships or sexual addiction. And I’m like, what, what are you doing to care for yourself and what brings you life? And they’re like, I don’t know, I’m not sure. So we explore it, we talk about it, pray about it. And it’s interesting, how many times nature aren’t music, you know, playing in a garden walking in the woods. These things come up. And they’re like, I think I’m gonna, you know, take a walk, I think I’m gonna paint I think I’m gonna maybe try to learn guitar, you know, there’s just these quieter things of life. That engage our souls that we forget about when we are overly busy, are really addicted to excitement. And so when we’re trying to get back in touch with who we are and not be addicted to, you know, whether it’s pornography or relationships, that these things really help.
Yeah. All right, so let me ask you this question. What about, you know, I use the example of like, hey, there’s a beautiful sunset. There are a lot of days when the sunsets like, you know, it’s nice, but it’s not so sensational. It’s not so magnificent. And then there are also times in life where I’m just in pain, it’s this is a hard season. So to simplify to, to kind of turn the excitement, stuff off the loud voices off. Like, it’s just as hard to go for a walk in the woods alone. My own thoughts, Dear God, like, okay, so two questions there for us to kind of bat like, one is, is there value in it then? And how do you do it, then how do you push through the this is this doesn’t compare and this is hard,
when that’s when we acknowledge that everybody’s different. This isn’t one thing is going to fit all like there’s extroverts. There’s introverts, you know, we’re different people are going to respond to different things. I do think that, you know, I do believe that if we invite God into it, and, and sit and, you know, enjoy nature, when we’re in pain, I think we can find comfort, I think there can be if you’re an extrovert, you’re going to want to be like, okay, maybe I want to go for a walk, but I want to take a friend with me. Or maybe I want to do you know, something in a group. And so there’s different ways of, you can have quiet and appreciation for ordinary days, and even appreciate mystery by yourself. You can also do it with someone else. And they can look lots of different ways. And so I always ask people, like, talk to God about that. Ask him, what, what could we do together? How do you invite God into whatever it is you’re doing? And that’s good, too.
So So what how do you ask the person who says, Wait, why would I do that? Like I, you know, it’s just a lot more fun, a lot more entertaining. I like my days more filled and full. And like chasing the adrenaline I like I like being busy.
You know, usually, usually when people are at the place where they are, when they’re talking to me about this. And we’re and we’re really exploring it praying about it, talking about it, usually they go, there is I can I can identify with that longing, there is something I want that’s different than what I’ve been doing. Yeah, some people aren’t ready, and they’ll be like, No, I just want to be what do what I’m doing. And that’s fine. Like, I’m not I don’t try to convince them, they’re not ready to consider that or that’s not something they’re drawn to. But most people are Hmm.
I think the other the other thing when I when I think about addiction, so again, my you know, I work with a lot of guys wrestling sexual addictions. One of the challenges is that when I when I moved to the ordinary, when I move away from the sensation of the busy or the distracting, or the sexual, then crap starts to come up. That’s when I feel uncomfortable, that’s when the old thoughts come up. That’s when the the, you know, pain from my past or the disrupted relationships. And at first, I may not recognize that I’m actually been running from those I’ve been running from silence. But over time, part of Part of the reason for silence part of the reason for ordinary part of the reason for ritual comes back to I didn’t realize that I was running to that other stuff to try to distract myself from this deep pain, this deep wound in the past thing. So I’m gonna pastor recently who had a had an abusive sexual experience when he was younger. And it took years and years and years before he was able to recognize if that was actually connected to his sexual acting out later in his life. Yeah, there is something about even whatever the kind of success or the kind of distraction that can keep us running. And so there’s a reason that our, our, our faith has included rituals like silence, and solitude, and, and liturgy, those things that seems so ordinary, and so blah, compared to you know, the net, next Netflix video and the next Apple Music song that’s going to come up, but there’s, there’s value in it for the heart, for the soul, for the health of the person.
And if you you know, that’s why spiritual coaching can be so helpful. If you know that there’s something that you’re, you know, I don’t want to be silent or being quiet because I get scared or I get nervous, you know, like, well, what’s going on there and maybe as somebody, whether it’s a mentor, a friend or a spiritual coach to kind of be there with you in it, and find out what some of those things are. That happens a lot. You know, people come in unsettled and they’re not sure why. And then there is some incident, whether it’s a sexual abuse incident or some other kind of emotional relational abuse that happens and there’s something That has to be uncovered there to kind of, you know, to get back to a place where they can appreciate those plays those things that are good for the soul.
Yeah. And I don’t know how to explain it or describe it exactly. But the The other thing, like, we’re not just talking about becoming people who are able to turn the TV off or to walk away from our addictions, that that’s a part of it. Yeah. But it’s not just the absence. And it’s not just the, oh, hey, you’re good at noticing the, the tiny blessings in life. Really, what we’re ultimately talking about is, this is an important avenue to be connecting with the God of the universe. And that that’s what my where my mind goes, when you read about mystery, that in the in the smallest granule of the ordinary, there is something of God, that is inviting us to go deeper into him and to know him better and experience Him in those places. And in that light, and I think the whole conversation, we’re having flips upside down. So all the big shiny lights and the distractions of this age actually will be seen one day to be small, inconsequential matters. And that the the tiny places, those silent places, ordinary places, I think we place we recognize we’re doorways to have it to God Himself.
And again, I know this isn’t for everybody in every season, but there’s a place in our yard that over sees this creek bed. And no matter what the season of the year is whether it’s like gray and brown and no leaves. Or fully flushing the spring is this beautiful, quiet place where my husband and I set in wheels will sit in quiet. And then you notice things, you notice things. A rock that’s, you know, just beautifully shaped, or this, this, this kind of firm that we hadn’t seen before. And those things seem so little. But honestly, there is something about entering into that world of nature that God created these miniscule kind of miracles everywhere that you start to notice. And there’s something God speaks to us through those things. Yeah. For me, I
think one place has been really meaningful has been this is I like nature a lot. But going for a run. And it’s this neat combination of my body can move. And so if there’s discomfort that arises like I got something to do with it, you know, like I just run a little faster for a little bit. But But there’s something about just going out. Yeah, that and it does include being outside like treadmills. I can’t do that. But, but if it’s if it’s getting outside and running, even when it’s really cold or really hard. And then the other thing I’d have to say about is there times where the ordinary in those moments with the Lord don’t necessarily feel like I don’t walk away from feeling like Ah, yeah,
oh my gosh, that was a magnificent moment.
We’re just, but over time, I can look back and go That was really helpful for me. So hey, so here’s a challenge for you listeners. This would be one step in this direction. With whether you’re struggling with something, you know, an addiction or you’re just looking for more God in your life. What’s one place right now that you would say this is a kind of ordinary thing in my life. It’s an ordinary tasks that I’ve got to get done. It’s an ordinary, it’s something maybe that I’ve looked at as I’ve got to get through this thing to get to the thing stuff I really love. Or maybe it’s something that you laid aside because it’s everything else is so pressing, but what’s one ordinary place? When ordinary thing when ordinary experience in your life? And what might God be inviting you into in that? Like, would you just be willing to even just kind of Park in that ordinary for a little bit? with a question of Lord, are you here in this and just see what might happen? Jesus you did things that that were miraculous and really just drew crowds. But Lord, you also walked with people. You ate food. You fished, you traveled, you did ordinary things. Solar Do you are in the marvelous sunsets and the immense rock concerts. The Lord, You are also in the quiet moments and in the small pebbles. And even in the somewhat grey sunsets. We want more of you. We are so hungry, and we’re looking for you in so many places. And we are running other guides because we didn’t know that you were in everything. And all the ordinary moments would you help us to see you in those places and begin to experience you there. or help calm the places in us that have gotten addicted to our more seemingly enticing drugs, Lord, but really that are so small, and help us Lord instead to become men and women who are eating true bread and drinking true drink and you pray these things now in your name Jesus.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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