Friday, April 3, 2009

Life In The Slow Lane

I really don't care for monotony.

That day in, day out grind that seems so perpetual, you eventually come to the conclusion that NOTHING will ever change - it's sometimes overwhelming. In fact, it often feels like I could write my schedule down before it happens:
  • Get up
  • Get ready
  • Stub toe
  • Check e-mail
  • Stub toe again
  • Do some work
  • Eat lunch
  • Do some work
  • Bang into doorjamb when turning corner
  • Eat dinner
  • Cut self shaving
  • Go to bed

So the next day goes, and the next day. Oh, maybe there's a change or two. I might substitute smacking my head on a shelf for the second toe stub. Who knows? But ultimately, it really does seem so run-of-the-mill at times, it all just meshes together. Is this Friday? Or is it Monday? I oftentimes figure that out by what show I'm watching that night.

But now I'm realizing that I'm interpreting this whole thing the wrong way. Because the Lord doesn't do things just for the sake of doing things. There's a purpose and a plan for every aspect of our lives. What seems like monotony may really be repeated chances to learn. To learn patience, obedience, submission, humility, appreciation, a positive attitude... whatever.

Ultimately His will for our lives is that we grow; that we learn to be the best people that we can be so we can live the most fulfilled, productive lives possible according to His perfect plan for each of us. He doesn't want us to merely exist, He wants us to live... with a capital L.

We may not think it at the time, but even those times we bill as monotonous are times when the Lord is working, when He is chipping away at our rough edges. I don't know about you, but the idea that there's a purpose to my stubbed toes and recycled lunches makes life better. If we look at every challenge, every repeated function as a chance to learn, we at least give them purpose. They're no longer meaningless moments, but a means to a great end.

So now I'm trying to remember that each difficulty, each pain, each frustration, each dull moment can teach me. They can teach me to resist temptation, to hold my temper, to pray when I'd rather scream, to praise instead of complain.

Mind you, I said I'm trying! It's a work in progress.

But then, so are we!


Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

So cool, Jen. Great insight. I love the writings of monks and Celtic saints for understanding the grace of God exhibited in the common drudgery of every day! Even monks stubbed their toes.

Jennifer Valent said...

Thanks, Lori. But can you imagine stubbing your toe while taking a vow of silence?!

C.J. Darlington said...

Wow. This is so true, and such a great reminder, Jennifer. I've often been where you are---feeling like NOTHING is happening, when I could be taking those times to learn.

C.J. Darlington said...

At least nothing that seems noteworthy at the time. But that's the point, isn't it? :)

Jennifer Valent said...

Writers are always waiting, aren't we?!