The Secret to Living the Everyday Good Life

What do I want to order from your ten-page menu, Mr. Waiter? You have no idea the inner turmoil you are creating by giving me so many options with only three minutes to self-diagnose my food craving! The decisions of everyday life, much like selecting from a large menu, can be overwhelming even for you non-over-thinkers out there. “Isn’t it nice to have choices?” we think as we peruse vacation destinations, churches, car dealership lots, chewing gums, and television channels. The question is, when did more become better? While it is a gift to not be forced into decisions due to lack of alternatives, have we made the mere presence of many options a pinnacle of the good life?

Discernment isn’t something we practice only when deciding what to buy or where to travel, and it is a much more complex practice when we face the endless options of our daily lives. A constant search for alternatives to the difficult or uncomfortable, or even just the routine places we find ourselves in can diminish our spiritual growth.

It is easy to want to avoid what is naturally given in favour of other, more fulfilling, more glamorous options. Sometimes we start looking for new horizons when what we are given is not “the very best imaginable,” as if we are entitled to the very best car, microwave, small group, job, or burger every time.

Our choosiness can short circuit the nourishment, training, wisdom, and traction that are the grounds for the rich spiritual life we are offered in every circumstance, whether “good” or “bad.”

Our inclination to control our lives is powerful: we want to avoid disappointment and the feeling of powerlessness. But trying to stand outside of our lives to judge whether or not we “need” the circumstances we’ve been given is often fruitless. If we allow our lives to bring maturity and wisdom, every situation can be rich.

The question for spiritual growth is, how or in what way do I need what is being given here? This is answered through prayer, the guidance of trusted friends, and a working knowledge and interaction with God’s Word. When we can’t answer these questions, we are invited to a deeper trust that God knows what we need, and even brings purpose and good out of the most confusing and senseless of circumstances.

For those of you who are in a season of abnormal turmoil, be assured that accepting the reality of your life is not excusing the injustice of any evils that have come your way nor is it assigning to God responsibility for these disasters. No, we battle with God against these evils. But the normal, every day difficulties we face contain many wonderful and wise secrets for the betterment of our lives, should we be humble enough to receive them.

When we attentively and prayerfully engage with life as it happens, we walk towards wisdom. Let your conversation with God about the reality of your circumstances tell you something true about life and about yourself, humbly receiving things that you wouldn’t choose, don’t understand, and that are the opposite of the high life “promised” by North American culture.

Your freedom will not be found in a storehouse of options but by receiving from God what he desires to give you in the real stuff of your everyday, ordinary experience. So, I ask you, in the circumstances you find yourself in today, are you ignoring something that God wants to engage with you about? Or are you willing to be in prayer, seeking wise council, or meditating on God’s word so that you can hear what He has to say to you today? In merciful, restorative love, God invites you to the only option for true fulfillment — a life found in Him.


Photo by (Flickr CC) tracy benjamin