Jesus in the Ordinary

For at least the last 5 months the Lord has had me in a season of finding him in the ordinary.

I used to find Jesus kind of strange and rather silly when I read how He interacted with his disciples after his crucifixion and resurrection.  Several times Jesus would sort of surprise them or nonchalantly walk up behind them and join their conversation as if nothing happened. If I were Jesus, I’d be like “LOOK!  I’M ALIVE!!!”  But Jesus doesn’t ever do that, and I always thought that was weird and kind of funny of him. 

Back in May I was at a spiritual formation retreat with fellow InterVarsity staff and we studied Luke 24:13-35.  Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

It’s weird to me that they couldn’t recognize Jesus though they were just talking about him.  I have to think Jesus wasn’t in disguise or playing games with them.  I’d like to think of Jesus as silly, because I think that’s fun, but there’s really probably some deep spiritual meaning behind why he pops up to his people as if it ain’t no thang…

And there is.

We talked about how Jesus often likes to meet us in the ordinary, but if we’re not looking for him there, we’ll miss him. That is so telling of our humble King, isn’t it?

It was an incredible confirmation for me about what I felt the Lord was teaching me–to find him in the ordinary.  The truth is that most of life is ordinary.  We breathe, study, go to work, take showers and brush our teeth (hopefully), eat meals, wash dishes, talk with friends, and have very ordinary experiences most of the time.  Actually, considering how much of our lives consist of ordinary things I’m glad Jesus likes to meet us in the ordinary because otherwise we may not see much of him.  Then again, if we miss him in the ordinary we won’t see much of him either.

I feel like I’m on a treasure hunt.  It’s amazing to me that the two men on their journey to Emmaus didn’t recognize Jesus, whom they were just discussing.  How difficult it is to find Jesus in the ordinary.  But to my frustration this is what the Lord is teaching me.  I felt as though God said to me, “Audrey, you’ve learned to worship me and find me in the fullest of times when my presence has been strong and forward, and you’ve learned to worship me and find me in the desolate desert, but now it’s time to find me in the ordinary.” Unforunately, I also felt like God was telling me that this season wouldn’t end until I truly learned to see him in those places.

It’s been 5 months, and it’s been boring to be quite honest.  Mostly because I haven’t been trying very hard.  The ordinary is…ordinary.  Mundane, even.  For me it takes discipline and reflection to recognize the Lord in the mundane…discipline that I’ve been avoiding, which is why it’s been 5 months with little to show for it.  There’s an exercise that is helpful called the Daily Examen that I’m supposed to be doing, but DANG I just want excitement!!  I like when God just smacks me in the face!  And mostly, I don’t like to have to work for it.  haha.  However, I know that 1) God will be faithful to not take me out of this season until I’ve learned what he’s trying to teach me, and 2) once it becomes second nature to see God in the ordinary my relationship with God will grow to new depths that I couldn’t have otherwise gotten to.

So, here’s to the ordinary.  If anyone wants to practice it with me this is the Daily Examen…

The Daily Examen

The goal is to see how the events of the day have made an impression on you.  What touched you?  What stirred your emotions?  What created a sense of conviction or resolve, doubt or fear, hope or gratitude?  Then, where was Jesus for you in that experience?

  1. What happened today that moved me towards God?
  2. What happened today that moved me away from God?

Practice Exercise

Reflect back over the day since the time you woke up.  Note anything that made an impression on you during the day.  (stirred emotions, etc.)

Which of those things that touched you moved you towards God?  or caused you to cry out for help, give thanks, experience a sense of awe or talk to Him?

Which of those things moved you away from God?  Or caused you to doubt, turn away, give into temptation, and distract you from paying attention?

As I’m learning to live life with Jesus I see that the ordinary is what the majority of life consists of, so if I hope to live life with Jesus for a while I’d better learn to find him in the ordinary.

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8 Comments

Filed under life with Jesus

8 responses to “Jesus in the Ordinary

  1. Tony

    Wow, this really sounds like God wants you to experience his presence all the time now. You know, this is something that monks strive for everyday of there life, and its a never-ending process of the unveiling of God. The thing is with monks though is that they dont try to feel God’s presence, they let-go and feel God’s presence in the moment. And yeah it takes a lot of discipline just to let-go because we are so conditioned to be busy all the time, its hard to stop. I think another thing that sets monks apart from other people is that they appreciate the mundane, they see the sacredness of washing dishes, of gardening, and even just walking, appreciate doing nothing. I think what you can do is to start appreciating washing the dishes and how the water feels on your hands, just slow down and appreciate how the dishes feel, or contemplate on how the water brings life and life comes from God, theres tons of things you can do, its just concentrating in the moment. Stop and look. Slow down and listen, just listen. It’s basically un-learning because I know that you like to be busy, but I dont know if you like to stop and do nothing, that doesnt mean never do anything but if you start feeling God’s presence when you slow down and appreciate the moment then maybe you’ll be able to bring that over to when you are busy, sometimes silence is louder than noise and God is within that silence.

  2. welcome to wordpress 🙂

  3. i like this daily examen idea. and yes, welcome to wordpress!

  4. roy

    Emmaus. Heart’s burning within. Daily Examen. Spiritual Formation. I’m liking it.

    Those catholics were on to something, weren’t they…? 🙂

    Glad to see more people involved with the disciplines.

    Great blog.

    Roy

  5. Alan

    Audrey,
    Yup Yup, took me a little time and thinking before I wanted to write at all but I thought it would be beneficial. Repentant people think the same I guess =) I like your posting, the topic of “ordinary” is a cool one.
    -Alan

  6. good post audrey. we’ve been trying this out in our small group as well and i’ve found that acknowleding God is one of the first step towards finding him. -daniel

  7. Mark Decker

    Audrey, this was an awesome post. It is amazing to see the things that God is teaching you!

  8. jess h

    audrey, i read your post last night and didn’t comment and then tonight at the conference I’m at (Vineyard Missions Leaders Meeting in Colorado) the director talked about his struggles with burnout this year and how he’s learned to use the examen. the truth is, i think for many of us, our perceived “output” is greater than our “input” and its only when we see God moving throughout our whole day (and consequently, whole lives) that we see how much He’s pouring into us.

    anyway, thanks for being part of the confirmation (and conviction) that i need to have more of God in me.

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