I hate the Ironing Fairy. Every night I lay out my clothes for tomorrow and go to bed with the hope that she will come while I sleep and magically iron my clothing. She is such a disappointment. I’m starting to doubt that she really exists, but I’m not ready to give up hope just yet. If I give up hope, it means that I have to admit that I have to do my own ironing. If I had any extra money, I would hire someone to do this job for me. I hate ironing. It’s so tedious and boring.
I wish that every experience was meaningful and profound, but it’s not. A lot of life is just drudgery. Oswald Chambers writes:
“Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hinderance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet Jesus took a towel and began to wash the disciples’ feet… (John 13:3-5) We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with it’s common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.”
I know, I should be thankful that I even HAVE clothes to iron. It’s not the end of the world. I guess I’ll put on some worship music and attack my pile of ironing for the month. That darn Ironing Fairy is such a let down.
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You know what really bothers me about being a missionary? So much of daily life is taken up in doing ordinary daily living tasks. It’s not like living on a missions trip. People always glamorize missions life and think that we are always telling someone about Jesus, praying and fasting, seeing great miracles, leading masses of people into the kingdom of God. But it’s just not like that.
This last week I did absolutely nothing ministry related. I stood in line for days and days at immigration. I took my kids to the doctor’s office and the lab and the pharmacy. I drove back and forth from home and school and gymnastics and soccer about 4 dozen times (it felt like). I went to two of the five grocery stores that I normally shop at. I bought two gifts for new babies and went to one baby-shower. I cleaned my house several times. I grounded my kids for fighting. I helped my daughter finish a book report and memorize her Bible verse. I washed countless loads of laundry and made 3 meals a day- except for yesterday when we went to lunch with friends and I made leftovers for dinner.
My point is, daily life is just so ordinary… no matter where you live. I used to think that I’ll wait until I’m a grown up to do something big for God. Or maybe when I’m a missionary then I’ll get my devotional life into some kind of regular pattern. But if you don’t do it before your daily life takes over, it just won’t get done. No matter where you live, life must be done daily. That balancing act between Earthly and Heavenly is draining, straining, and complicated. My heart wants to live every day in the Heavenly. I long for my Heavenly home. But my feet are here in the mud. I’m grounded. And it’s not glamorous.
Here I have the opportunity to give myself my usual pep talk and bring it back to a positive note. But I think I’m just going to leave it on a note of dissonance because I still feel the discord between my body and spirit. That’s just how it is sometimes. Life doesn’t always have a pretty harmony. And that bothers me.