Meaning in the Mundane: A Spiritual Practice

It's easy to get into a routine with God. You do your devotional with your morning coffee. You pray before bed. You attend small group once a week. You go to church on Sunday morning. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I'm not saying that routine with God is necessarily bad. In fact, I believe that routine is a good and necessary part of life. The danger of the rhythmical, recurrent ebb and flow of life is that it often leads to thoughtless behavior that eventually becomes meaningless. 

Obviously, not all thoughtless behavior is meaningless. In fact, many times it's a sign of mastery. For example, I don't think about how to bake chocolate chip cookies. I've baked them numerous times. I have the recipe memorized. I know exactly how long to bake them for, at what temperature, and other details that someone who has never baked chocolate chip cookies before wouldn't know by heart. 

However, in the case of a relationship with a person or God, routine behavior can be devastating. As one or both of the parties grows comfortable, they often times become complacent. And although there may be a deep level of knowledge and love between the two, the lack of effort or thought put into the relationship over time ultimately degrades it. This is a common occurence for many Christians in their relationship with God. At first, their new life in Christ is thrilling and exciting. However, that excitement fades over time, and if one isn't careful, they are subject to participating in spiritual practicies (such as prayer, Bible study, and coorporate worship) without really participating at all. They're physically present but spiritually/mentally/emotionally checked-out.

In slow months like this past month, it's tempting for me to slip into thoughtless behavior. But instead of complaining about the lack of activity or inability to feel God's presence in my life, I'm challenged to find meaning in the mundane through: intentional living, sparking curiosity, and faithful obedience. Living intentionally forces me out of mindless wandering and into a higher state of awareness and care – like noticing the little details that are often overlooked or focusing on the task at hand. Sparking curiosity challenges me to learn in both body and mind by taking a different route to walk my dogs or investigating the "why" behind a common practice. Faithful obedience requires that I do the tasks I know I should do – like pray, read my Bible, serve at church – even when I don't feel like it. The reptition of these thoughtful behaviors is an act of discipline – a stark contrast from thoughtless, routine behavior. 

I'm the first to admit that this is not always easy. Some days, I'm disciplined. Other days, I'm thoughtless. But regardless of my behavior, I'm comforted to know that I worship a God who is Lord of both the exciting moments and the mundane moments and who gives meaning to both.