Just real ordinary 

In the pre-digital days of photography when we sent off films to be developed, I often collected a packet of disappointingly bad photos with unwanted red-eyes & fingers obscuring the object!Now in our digital age we can delete them before anyone sees them & photoshop the good ones to make them even better!

Apparently, 200,000+ images make their way onto Facebook alone every minute. Yahoo! claims that as many as 880 BILLION photos were taken in 2014 (popphoto.com)

On the World Wide Web, we can project the Facebook perfect, Pinterest pretty version of our lives. Life can be bunting & cupcakes, on matching Cath Kidston & Bridgewater tableware, surrounded by our airbrushed family in colour co-ordinated clothing – a life where everything goes according to plan…

Often we are zoned into the virtual world, which exists only on our smart phones & tablets. We can become preoccupied with an edited & digitally enhanced version of reality – that is not real at all. A distortion of the truth , which in reality is a {little white} lie.

‘Stop instagramming your perfect life’ urged Shauna Neiquist in Relevant magazine.

Most of us will freely admit that our lives are far from perfect- more like an episode from the Simpsons than the Waltons (even on a good day!)

When we compare our lives to others on-line, our lives may seem:

Our real life may fall short of our {unrealistic} expectations

On-line comparisons can affect our perspective of the snapshots in the panorama of our everyday life. Seasons of life may seem dull-black & white vistas interrupted by the odd colourful celebration. We perceive uneventful weeks punctuated by
the occasional unexpected event- compared to other’s action-packed colourful instagrammed lives!

‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ Theodore Roosevelt wrote. Conversely, gratitude nurtures our joy.

So,’Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life’ (Galatians 6:4, 5 MSG)

Also,we can be totally immersed in our virtual {unreal} world to the detriment of our spiritual well-being. I ask myself:
Are we dazzled by the eye-candy of perfect images on the web & starving our souls?
Are we captivated by God or distracted by a million & one snippets of {useless} information bombarded to us daily on our smart phones?

Hudson Taylor wrote, ‘If we are faithful to GOD in little things, we shall gain experience and strength that will be helpful to us in the more serious trials of life.’

In this age of technologically enhanced images, we need to focus on the fact proclaimed thousands of years ago that we are made in God’s image (Gen 1:27) And He is conforming us to be more like Jesus.

‘What we are becoming is more important than what we are accomplishing’ (Catherine Campbell)

‘It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with {social media & the World Wide Web} when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’
(Adapted from C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses)

Frederick Buechner writes:
‘God is right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives… trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world.’ (The Magnificent Defeat)

‘If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.’(Paul Tripp)

Jesus lived for thirty quiet years before three in the spotlight.

His birth was not Christmas card picture perfect-

His death was too horrific for our minds to truly picture.

Jesus, who knew the sweat & grim of an ordinary carpenter’s workshop, who walked the ordinary dusty Galilean roads,can infuse our ordinary days with his extraordinary presence. He can bring the miraculous to the mundane.

‘Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries’
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

‘God breaks into real,normal, boring time & makes Himself known’
(Amy Orr-Ewing)

Our God breaks into ordinary lives of working people:

The shepherds were looking after sheep on Bethlehem’s hillside, just as they had many nights before, when a myriad of angels appeared, proclaiming Jesus’ birth.

Peter & Andrew were casting nets.They had gone fishing as they did everyday.

Matthew was collecting taxes-business as usual.

They had an encounter with Jesus just where they were.

We can have encounters with God everyday- on a Monday en route to work just as much as in the church sanctuary on a Sunday. He can transform our 2D monochrome moments into 4D technicolor by His Spirit in us.

‘Do the most everyday & insignificant tasks, knowing that God can see…We are doing more than we know’ (George Matheson)

We can see glimpses of God in our ordinary life!

Rather than waiting on the next big thing, we can wait on God here in this moment:
‘What we have is time. And what we do is waste it, waiting for those big spectacular moments. We think that something’s about to happen—something enormous and newsworthy—but for most of us, it isn’t. This is what I know: the big moments are the tiny moments. The breakthroughs are often silent, and they happen in the most unassuming of spaces.’
(Shauna Neiquist in the foreword Jeff Goins – The In-Between)

‘Maybe what we call “mundane,” what feels boring and ordinary, is really how we spend our lives. And we have an opportunity to make of it what we will—to resent its lack of adventure or rejoice in its beauty. Perhaps the abundant life we’ve been seeking has little to do with big events and comes in a subtler form: embracing the pauses in between major beats.’
(Jeff Goins The In-Between)

The banner outside Bethany Baptist proclaims:
‘Ordinary people worshipping an extraordinary God’

This Extraordinary God can make our ordinary lives extraordinary ,
not perfect-but real.

‘So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering’ (Romans 12:1, 2 MSG)

‘Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference’ (William James)
{because it does!}


Ruth x

*Revised & updated from original post @ www.blessedme.co.uk

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