I was listening to a podcast recently (sorry, can’t recall which one–ope–actually I think it was Annie Downs again. That girl has got my number apparently!) and it was talking about being in the middle. The podcaster was interviewing an author and said something to the effect of “Ya know, it’s great to hear from people writing books who haven’t gotten it all figured out–folks still in the middle.” I nodded emphatically as I drove home all the fellow commuters oblivious to the moment I was having in the car. As I’ve reflected-we’re all in the middle. None of us have arrived.
Career woes? Most everyone I know is still working with no plans to retire soon.
Parenting concerns? Parenting doesn’t stop when the kids are 18 or out of the house.
Marriage trouble? Working Mama Woes? Loneliness? Finances? Health?
We are all a work in progress friends. So why is it so hard for some of us to constantly feel like a failure and that we just haven’t arrived?
My concern with picking back up the blog is that folks wouldn’t really care to hear what I have to say. I’m definitely still in the middle–in the thick even–of so much I haven’t gotten figured out. When I am reading books or blogs or hearing someone speak, I like to hear things tied up in a nice pretty bow. Pretty bows? Friends, I don’t even think I have a spool of ribbon in this house.
But ya know what? As someone who greatly values authenticity, hearing from folks who are presenting as if they’ve got it figured out makes me wonder what part of the story we’re not hearing,. Not that I’m skeptical of what they are sharing–but it goes back to seeing the highlight reel on social media. We are only seeing the good days. The days when things ARE going off without a hitch. The perfectly filtered instagram. We aren’t privy to so much of the pain. The normal. The boring.
Years ago I was at a family gathering when talking with my uncle about how life is going. I said at that time–“things are good. Nothing too exciting. Pretty boring actually.”
His pensive, slow, thoughtful response still rings in my ears. “Boring is good.” Maybe it’s because my uncle’s jovial, loud, bigger than life personality had quieted down some in the middle of that conversation and I saw part of him that wasn’t always seen. The transparent middle.
We’re in a time where no one wants to be boring. We are all looking for the thing that will set us apart. Get other’s attention. That’s what society is telling us. Want the promotion? You’ve gotta stand out. Want to have others listen to what you’re trying to advocate for/sell/etc. in your side hustle? You’ve gotta cut through the noise. Want to be noticed? Figure out the most compelling Snap or InstaStory.
Who wants to join me in being ordinary? Of starting to post the pics that are just the everyday messes. Unfiltered, unedited, normalcy. I’m tired of all the gorgeously coiffed photos and FOMO because of what “looks” great. Just remember, not only do those folks in the photos have bad days, they may have just experienced deep pain, or an argument or loss. Or they may be floundering throughout life without purpose. It’s easy for me to have FOMO when I see girlfriends getting together and having fun and what you don’t see is all the sacrifice it took to get together and that this might be the ONE night in 60 they have pealed their child off of them to have a somewhat pulled together girl’s night.
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. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. ~Romans 12:1-2. MSG
The thing is-this boring life is what God is calling us to in Romans 12. It even calls us to take our ordinary life and place it before God as an offering. Take where we are in the middle–continue striving toward our goals but just rest. Take an exhale.
I’ve recently learned about JOMO (on another podcast-go figure) and when doing a little googling–there are LOTS of articles and books since 2013 about JOMO. Oh my..the JOY of missing out. Reminding yourself of what you are gaining when you’re being boring. Ordinary. Spending time with family vs. being out with a bunch of friends out on the town one Friday night.
Here’s to the ordinary’s. Leaning into JOMO. Practicing solitude. Putting down the phone. Being boring. In the middle.
And here are some boring photos for ya!