“God comes to us disguised as our life.“
It’s not a word that ever resonated with me. Growing up, I was constantly told that I was special, different, extraordinary. I wasn’t normal like all the other kids, they told me; there was a special plan for my life and I was going to do big things for God.
I was going to change the world. I was anything but ordinary.
Childhood impressions stay with us in ways we don’t always expect. Those words were said with the best intentions, meant to make me brave and remind me that I was loved—which they often did. However, they also gave me permission to ignore the small things, the mundane things, the things that keep our everyday lives running smoothly. They allowed me to believe that “ministry” roles were more valuable to God than ordinary careers. (Everyone always said that wasn’t true, but they certainly lived like it was.)
The expectation of being extraordinary meant I was always secretly looking for more important roles to fill. I felt guilty when not doing work that directly makes the world a better place. Being ordinary was never enough.
And yet, the place where I come to know God most intimately is in the ordinary.
God meets me in the soil and decomposing leaf cover in my backyard, in birdsong and the way my dog stays close to me on the trail. She meets me in the honesty and vulnerability of my deepest friendships, in moving my body through a tough workout, in laughing with my husband over inside jokes.
The Spirit is there when I’m watering plants and vacuuming the floor, in soap bubbles from washing dishes in the sink. God is in hemlock trees and red maples, in copperheads and whitetail deer. I find Him in bare branches of Tennessee winters and in green lake water in the summer. She meets me over early morning coffee and books, and in the routine of getting ready for the day.
Through every iteration of myself, every season of my life, no matter how my worldview or theology shifts, one thing is constant: God is there.
The most poignant moments of my spiritual life have not been in church or when I’ve felt most certain in my faith or next steps. They’ve always happened when I’ve stopped striving, accepted uncertainty, and heard the whisper to my heart, “I am with you always.”
And so, for me, knowing God has become an embrace of living fully. It’s a practice of learning to see the spiritual in every crack of my life, in every dusty corner and sun-soaked windowpane. It’s spending time where I hear and see most clearly—even if those places are different than where I was always told God would be—and discovering those thin places where the separation between the now and the still-to-come isn’t so distinct.
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