Life can be so monotonous. Throw off the covers and silence the shrieking alarm clock. Get in the car and drive to work. Or dress squirming little arms and feed hungry little bellies. Get dinner on the table. Wash that magically reappearing counter-full of dishes. Sink into bed at the end of the day, and the cycle begins all over again. It can be hard, in the repetitiveness of life, to find joy. To feel wonder.
I was struggling with the sameness, the endless cycles of work and child care. The colors of life, the vibrancy, that I had felt before, seemed dulled. I wasn’t depressed- I was just tired. Worn down. Frustrated.
One morning, I woke up and looked at my husband laying next to me. Really looked at him. The shadow on his chin. The weaving of black and white through his hair. The steady rising and falling of his chest, reminding me of the unwavering constancy of his love. How on earth did we find each other- out of all the people in the world? The question followed me as I prepared his breakfast and packed his lunch, then kissed him goodbye.
Later in the morning, my kids stumbled sleepily out of bed. I felt the warmth of their little bodies as they sought Mommy’s arms. What a wonder they are! The littleness of their stature, yet the immensity of their personalities, the potential their lives have. I felt my littlest guy’s soft cheek next to mine, and was in awe at the gift of him. And somehow, God chose me to be their mama and walk through life with them.
Outside, carrying water to our barn, I looked up into the sky, seeing its vastness and its grandeur. The trees swayed in the breeze, with their rough beauty and mystery. Frozen dirt crunched beneath my feet. How incredible is this thin skin of soil, which provides us nourishment and gives us life? God gave me good gifts, and made this complex world capable of sustaining all life. My life.
I felt a joy rising up inside of me as I thought on these things. I pondered how to find, and keep, my wonder.
Secret #1: Seeing with renewed eyes
The hurried rush of life, the pile of dirty laundry, the squabbling siblings… All these things can dim our perspective. We start seeing only problems, instead of seeing gifts. Now, I can’t say I spout hymns of praise every time I throw laundry in the washer or run around trying to accomplish my mile long to-do list! But throughout everyday life, I want to really see and pay attention to the people I love, and my surroundings.
When I’m in the car, hurrying to make an appointment on time, I can see nothing but traffic lights and stop signs. Or I can see the sunlight filtering through the trees, and the Lord’s hand of protection as I safely arrive. See Him at work in my life.
When I’m cleaning up after dinner, exhausted from a long day, a little, whiny voice asks for me to read a book or come play. I can say, Not right now, later, I’m busy. Or I can look that little person in the eyes. Remember these are fleeting days, speeding moments, that I have to share love with my family. I’m pooped anyway- why not drop the stuff and pour into a person I love?
When I’m upset with my husband, I can vent my feelings and satisfy my frustration. Or I can see him standing there, like the day we said our vows. And remember my promise, and see the man I love there before me, who I can build up or tear down with my words.
Secret #2: Seeing with a thankful heart
Remembering God’s goodness can be a breath of fresh air in a stale life. Seeing how each person in our life is a gift from Him. How the air we breathe, the earth beneath our feet, the sky above us, are miracles. Wonders. Every minute here, we are upheld by His hand.
When reading the Psalms, the writer recites over and over the wondrous works of God. He formed the heavens. He set the foundations of the earth. He knows the number of the stars and calls them by name. God saw pain and had compassion. He saw distress and rescued. He formed our bodies in the womb, and knows us.
When we look around us, at the people in our lives, at this earth, we can be in awe. Be thankful for each and every person in our life, each breath of breeze, each ray of sunlight… every gift He has given. How incredible that the God who made the universe knows you and me, and loves us. What amazing grace that He has given us all the people we love, and the beauty that surrounds us to enjoy.
And for a moment, life seems bigger than life itself. We are refreshed, as if a cool gust of mountain air blew by, and filled our lungs with its wildness. The monotony and the sameness are still here, but in the midst of it, we can sense the presence of God.
Have you struggled with the monotony of life? What moments of joy and wonder have opened your eyes to His gifts?
Please share in the comments below.