What do you do when life feels mundane?
I have recently come through a season where I felt somewhat bored and restless (at least I think I’m through it). 2014 was a year of pushing toward the public launch of Journey Church. Though it often felt overwhelming, I struggled with the daily routine after it was all over. From what I understand, every leader (or person for that matter) sometimes wrestles with these feelings. There are times when life feels mundane. You feel like you’re doing the same things over and over. It’s death by a thousand cuts, or as Eugene Peterson would say, it’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Success almost never happens overnight. Whether it’s in your family, your church, your career or something else; success takes hard, consistent, excellent work. In case you are wondering how I define success, here it is. Success is knowing and doing His will. I don’t have it all figured out, but here are some things that may help if you feel like life is boring, mundane or unfulfilling at the moment.
Caught in the In Between
In between may be a better way to describe these feelings. Many times we are caught in between God’s promise and the outcome. It’s what we do in the in between that matters.
In between is where we find out who we really are. Abraham must have felt this way at times. After all, he waited 25 years from the time God gave him the original promise of a son until the fulfillment of that promise. Somewhere in the waiting, he and Sarah decided they would take matters into their own hands and make the promise happen: enter Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah insisted that Abraham take her servant Hagar as his wife so they could have a baby. The temptation to take matters into your own hands is strong when you find yourself in the in between place. Taking matters into your own hands only creates problems like it did for Abraham and Sarah. After 25 years of waiting, Abraham and Sarah finally have the promised son, Isaac, but when Sarah finds Ishmael mocking him, she has both Hagar and Ishmael kicked out of the camp.
Despite all the waiting, problems, obstacles and his personal shortcomings, the Bible says Abraham still trusted God and grew in faith.
Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. (Romans 4:20 NLT)
Think of that: twenty-five years in the waiting and he still didn’t lose faith! O sure, he had moments of doubt, like the time he asked God, “Will a child be born to a man 100 years old?” (see Genesis 16:16), but God didn’t seem to mind the question. He reminded Abraham all the way through of His promise to him, I’m sure Abraham reminded himself often of God’s promise. God saw Abraham as righteous because of his faith: his ability to trust and believe even when he couldn’t see the promise. No wonder he is called the father of faith! But here is the real kicker. God promised that in Abraham’s seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Though he never saw it with his own eyes, God would bring the Messiah, Jesus, from Abraham’s family line and through Him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. That’s why we hold on to God’s promises. They are much more important that we can imagine.
Be encouraged today: God has spoken promises to you and over you. Don’t disconnect with His promises because you have doubts about the timing or because of the weakness of your own flesh. Every person has to deal with hope deferred, but what do we do in the meantime? What do we do when we are caught in the mundane, in between the promise and it’s fulfillment? Here are a few things I have found to be helpful:
What To Do When Life Feels Mundane
Worship. Worship helps us see God clearly. We take our eyes off our problems and put them squarely on Him. Our faith is elevated and we are able to walk with fresh confidence as He renews His promises to us and over us. Worship means to adore. To look at God for who He is. To see Him in His glory.
Remind yourself often of His promises. Both those in His word and those that He has spoken over your life are important. Print them and keep them in a place you can see and remind yourself daily. They will bring you hope and encouragement when you are caught in the in between.
Hold on to His promises. His promises are prophetic. They encourage, exhort, comfort and bring direction to our lives. The Bible tells us to wage war with prophetic promises given to us (see 1 Timothy 1:18). This is one of the ways we fight the good fight of faith. That’s exactly what Abraham did. He held onto the promise God gave Him and didn’t let go. He fought in faith and he won. Declare them over your life.
Hold the line. When in question, continue in what God last told you to do until He says stop. Jesus, not our circumstances, should dictate when we start or stop something. There are times when God directs us through our circumstances, but don’t give in to every whim or lose heart at the first sign of resistance. Resistance often confirms God’s direction in your life. Abraham was 75 when God gave him the promise of a son and didn’t see it fulfilled until he was 100. If Abraham can do that without the Spirit of God living inside him, I’m fairly certain you and I can hold the line.
A few years into our church plant in Cambridge while walking in Harvard Square, I was complaining to the Lord about how hard things were. As I begin to relate to Him all the challenges we were facing I said, you know Lord, most people would have quit by now. The Spirit of God immediately whispered back to my heart, “That’s why I chose you for this, because I knew you wouldn’t quit.” There was a time we almost quit. Things had gotten so hard and difficult that we had to ask ourselves the question, is it time to throw in the towel? We didn’t quit and we wouldn’t be experiencing the fruit we are today if we had. Hold the line.
Hang around others who can encourage you in the fight. The good fight of faith is still a fight. We all get weary sometimes, and we all need a band of brothers and sisters who can encourage us when we are down, pick us up when we fall and fight with us for the promise.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT)
How do you draw encouragement when you find yourself in the in between or a mundane season of life?
Take A Step
What are the promises God has spoken over your life? Write them down and put them somewhere you can see them and declare them each day!
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