One of the many things that I have been guilty of is longing for more than what I have. I don’t think that wanting to achieve more or having a goal to become better is wrong. Sometimes dissatisfaction propels us into achievement and personal growth. It can be a key that something is wrong and that we need to make changes.
However, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I believe strongly that what God has given us to do is a sacred calling for us. When I devalue that calling because I wanted a different calling, I am guilty of rejecting the good plan God has for my life and complaining against him. I understand that not everyone feels the same way, and I am okay with that.
The problem is not that I feel a lack of calling. It’s that the calling gets hard and monotonous and I seek to escape. When that happens, I find that I need inspiration to take joy in my calling and in the normalcy of my everyday life.
I have often, in this very situation turned to Kathleen Norris for inspiration, both in the spiritual and in the mundane. (I’m actually almost a Norris completionist. If you only count her prose works, reading this book made me a completionist.)
The Quotidian Mysteries is a tiny book, weighing in at just under a hundred pages. In this book, Norris mediates on the daily life, showing how our daily lives can open us up to experiencing God. If you’ve read her other works, there’s really nothing new here, as this book is based on a series of lectures Norris did in the 1990s. However, I found it a great reminder of the importance of how much my ordinary is important to my faith walk.
There were several things that were meaningful to me as I read this one, and I wanted to share the specific quotes that I found most inspirational. The first quote reminds us that we do not find joy and fulfillment in the pursuit of joy and fulfillment, but instead in living more fully where we are:
We want life to have meaning, we want fulfillment, healing, and even ecstasy, but the human paradox is that we find these things by starting where we are, not where we wish we were.
She also discusses what we’re really saying when we say we don’t have time for certain things in our lives.
The often heard lament, “I have so little time,” gives the lie to the delusion that the daily is of little significance.
If we don’t have time for the laundry, the sweeping, and the cooking that make up so much of our daily life, perhaps we’re looking in the wrong place for significance.
So, when I’m longing for more than what God has given men, it doesn’t always mean that I need to search for more. Instead, I need to look at my daily life and see where my joy is coming from. I need to see if I am taking pride and joy in my daily tasks or if I am shoving them aside for a wistful what might be.
If I’m handling my daily tasks and handling them well, then it might be time to start reaching for more. Otherwise, perhaps I should place focus on my daily tasks and do the work that I have to do to the best of my ability.