How to Live Your Ordinary Life with Extraordinary Purpose {a new series}

the sacred art - lantern - 1

I landed in January 2018 like an amateur acrobat shot out of a cannon who then had to run a relay race.

It has not been a slow, graceful, or intentional transition into a new year.

It’s complicated to explain, but there was no time for reflection or resolutions, no quiet space for examination, no soulful opportunity to solidify my place and purpose in a new year.

Instead, I found myself in the middle of frenzy — a busy family schedule, a house in chaos, a full work queue, and a flurry of unexpected responsibilities that fell squarely in my lap. If I was the sort of person who thrives on being needed, I would be living in my sweet spot.

But, for better or for worse, I am the opposite of that person.

Instead of living broken and poured out in these early weeks of a new year, I’ve lived bitterly and dried up, each new request or need feeling like nails on the chalkboard of my soul.

“Really, Marian? Nails on the chalkboard of your soul?” I know, I know. It’s so dramatic, like something ripped from the pages of an angsty, adolescent diary.

And I fully admit it. I am dramatic.

roses

I feel things deeply, my senses are always in overdrive. I am a perceiver, an observer, and the possessor of a rich and volatile “inner life.”

Being wired this way has its perks if you can live your life as an artist. Inspired. In solitude. With zero ordinary responsibilities and bills that someone else is paying.

But for me, my “rich inner life” mostly feels inconvenient. I have boundless creative energy but my right-now life rudely sprawls itself out across the limited hours of my day like a clueless, overbearing house guest.

When I lose all perspective — due to fatigue, overwhelm, spiritual detachment, or having zero creative outlet — my right-now roles and responsibilities can feel like Cousin Eddie, exhausting and uninvited.

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I’ve done my best to soldier on through crazy town January, surfing the waves of productivity like a pro, and bulldozing all of the domestic tasks like the responsible domestic engineer that I am.

Until I came unhinged last week. It had probably been months in the making.

staircase

It started on Thursday, got a bit better on Friday…and then crash-landed in an embarrassing blaze of glory. I coped in less than mature ways and spoke regrettable words about my life. I cried and went to bed without dinner.

Thankfully, Grace is a hound.

Prayer and insight from a friend —

Conversation I didn’t feel like having my husband —

Words I didn’t want to hear but knew I needed to receive —

An entire day devoted to cleaning the house (unexpectedly therapeutic) —

A Sunday morning when I didn’t feel like church but went away —

Communion —

Take, eat, this is my body which is being broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

The truth of the Word, the wine grape juice from the cup, the sorrowful tears from my own eyes — they swirled into a divine alchemy that rose like smoke into one of the clearest visions I’ve ever had.

I don’t mean “vision” as in I actually saw something. By vision, I mean clarity — words that wove into a message and a message that immediately told me what it wanted to be. It all crystallized so quickly, I could barely write fast enough.

What does it look like in our real, messy, daily lives to receive the life of Christ, broken for us, and then to “receive our own lives” with humility and trust, living broken and poured out as He did? 

I’m learning that these complicated questions find their answers in the simple places and ordinary tasks of our daily work and regular lives.

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For months, I’ve been wrestling and brainstorming with a message, a series I’ve desperately wanted to offer. It’s outlined and partially fleshed out, just waiting to be finished and packaged and delivered in some way.

I’ve prayed over it and sought counsel. I had a plan and then I was forced to swallow the hard truth. Try as I might, it just couldn’t be born into my right-now life. I’ve felt great sadness and frustration, but I knew the work required wasn’t compatible with the time and energy I currently have.

I was given something else instead. It’s a similar message but simpler to offer and I’m so excited to share it with you.

I’ve designed it to speak to your soul and then extend practically into your real life.

the sacred art graphic

This series is for you if:

  • You need soulful encouragement + real-life tips for living your ordinary life with extraordinary purpose.
  • Your soul feels empty and you need realistic ways to receive spiritual food.
  • You’re bogged down in the mundane work of your daily life: the dailyness of dinner, feeling like a taxi driver, changing diapers and folding onesies.
  • You know that the “work of your hands” matters but is there a way not to hate it so much?
  • You want to feed your family actual food but it has to be easy and why does dinner have the nerve to come around every day?
  • You have gifts you long to use but your right-now life doesn’t have the space for it.
  • You want to gratefully receive your right-now life, challenges and imperfections and all, instead of resenting it.

 

cereal

We’re going to talk about realistic ways to be nourished by Scripture, feeding your family because you love them (but with the least amount of work), the sacredness of your daily work in the home, rest and self-care, relationship and community, and creative ways to use your gifts in your right-now life.

Did I mention that I’m excited? : )

Even if no one shows up, this is a series I need for my own self, right now. This means I’m not writing as a wise sage speaking from a learned and lofty place, but as a working mom of 3 kids, a wife, a keeper of home, a hopeless creative, and a writer carrying projects that can’t yet be born. I write as a woman who longs to be present and purposeful in my right-now life, even as I wait with hope for the fruition of my own creative work.

If this sounds like something you need, all you have to do is subscribe to this online space. (You can do that in the box below this post.) If you’re already subscribed, yay! You’ll automatically receive it. The series is totally free.

Simply come and receive.

Whenever the latest installment of the series is published, you’ll be the first to know and you won’t miss a post.

In the meantime, you may enjoy these:

When Your Right-Now Work Feels Extra Ordinary but Not Extraordinary

Learning to Love the Work of Our Hands this Year by Kimberly Coyle for Grace Table

How to Pursue Your Hoped-for Work in the Midst of Your Right-Now Life {a series)

How a 92-year-old Woman Taught Me the Value of My Right-Now Work

See you soon!

Comments

  1. Joan Rampey says

    Again, I’m so thankful for you and for the way you allow God to use your gifts and passion. We are the beneficiaries. LYF

  2. Lisa Williams says

    Sounds like words/ideas I have been longing to hear. Thank you for delivering them. By the way, the acrobat to relay comment had me giggling this morn. I pictured it!
    Be encouraged,
    Lisa Williams

  3. kelly hicks says

    Sounds like our new year’s are off to a very similar start. Can’t wait to participate in your new series. Sounds like exactly what I need. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. Victoria Smith says

    For some reason I did not delete the e-mail this morning with this link. Now I know why – I so need this right now! I feel I am in the same boat with you; somehow that is comforting. I am very excited and look forward to this series. I love, love, love your words! Thank you! What a blessing!

  5. Andy Christy says

    I like your style, Marian. Have you read Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales? Please say hi to your fam for me. :)

  6. Lori says

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful words. You have written what is in my own heart at this time in my life. Struggling, yet trying to learn and grow and be present and accepting. So glad to know others are on the same path!

  7. Alisa says

    Your posts never disappoint and always have the most perfect timing. I echo what the others have said…I’m right there with you. I’m overwhelmed by the “daily” while pushing the pause button on those gifts I’d love to pursue because there frankly is no space in this “right-now” life. Your series could not come at a better time. Thank you!!!

  8. Lisa says

    I think you have the best “hook” line in history and it hit is mark! A timely series, no matter the stage of life. I’ve always felt that you and I are kindred spirits. Be encouraged that the Lord is using your gifts, to encourage others! Thank you for sharing arrows of truth in my life.

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