Hey listen, I am never one to brag about how great I am (I am exactly the kind to brag about how great I am), but I read a book that has 80 chapters. This is no small thing since the first book that I actually read for real was Harry Potter. Books prior to that were skimmed for book report purposes. So this 80 chapter monster is titled, “Middlemarch.” The best way to describe this book is that it is a study of provincial life. That is just a fancy way to say a study of ordinary life. This topic of an ordinary life has surfaced for me because God is teaching me that in this ordinary life of mine is where the miraculous is happening. As I stopped telling God to give me a super sexy famous christian life, He started showing me that the “Middlemarch” is where the cool Jesus freaks are.
So what do I mean by Middlemarch? It has taken me two years to flesh that out. I could write 10,000 words on all the appointments with Dana (my counselor), books, podcasts, and time in the bible that got me thinking this way. (Just a few, “The Glorious in the Mundane Podcast, by Christy Nockles, specifically Season 1, Unseen by Sara Hagerty, the Book of Ruth, and the Book of Galatians.) Dana was actually the one who pointed me to Middlemarch. She said, “What you are doing is your Middlemarch,” and told me about the book. So essentially for me it is letting go of this idea that in order to matter to God I have to be out there effecting His kingdom in some super visual miraculous way. It is letting go of making sure people see me doing God’s work. It is letting go of getting praise from other people for what I am doing. It is learning that God sees me. God’s only design for me is that I will glorify Him with my life. It is stopping myself from doing all the things for God, and making myself yield to God and what He puts before me even if I don’t really want it. It is 1 million choices everyday that honor God, and 1 million denials of my flesh everyday. Everyday. Everyday. That is my Middlemarch, my study of ordinary life, that is actually extraordinary.
Here is what start to surface in this Middlemarch of mine. I see God working in my life and fruit of the Spirit starting to surface. I see that in situations where the norm is for me to get angry, stressed and yell, I don’t. I see the norm shift to peace and love. I see a husband who never really wanted a lot of responsibility, choose to step into a roll that requires a lot of responsibility. I see that husband learn to rely on God and trust Him, where before he would try to escape. I see a young woman who has made choices that don’t honor God, start to make choices that do honor God. I see a young woman who was afraid to make those choices start to have moments of the greatest bravery I may have ever seen in my life. I see a young man afraid to make friends, trust God and put himself out there and join a Dungeons and Dragon group. (You may think this has other complications but lets just stick to the making friends part of this.) I see a High School freshman make tough choices to be able to walk out her faith in High School even though it means that she might not be doing all the things the popular kids are doing. The more I learn of God the more I think these are the things that He will high 5 us for.
This Middlemarch life flies in the face of everything my flesh says. My flesh says, “God is only impressed with people who are really out there suffering for the Lord.” My flesh says, “God is only in the super flashy miracles.” My flesh says, “What are you going to have to show for your life if all you do is laundry and cook dinner and raise some kids and stay married.” But God, He says in His word that the day in and day out honoring of Him is where it’s at. In the life of the disciples I see this, just following Jesus day in and day out. Allowing Him to teach them, encouraging each other, messing up, and being restored. I see this in the churches that Paul writes to after Christ’s death. The heart stopping, in your face miracles had ceased. Paul was encouraging them to live the life that honors God day in and day out. How many moms went to the temple to hear the reading of Paul’s letter; having just cleaned up after a meal, told kids to get their sandals on because they were going to the temple come hell or high water, shooed the goats back out to the pasture; and then were encouraged by the words of Paul to keep on living for Christ no matter what, and to be transformed! So many woman whose day in and day out life actually made a huge impact on the kingdom, because they were just doing the Middlemarch. This is a life changing shift in thinking for me, a miracle as it were. I am so thankful to the Lord for freeing me up to see and giving me a front row seat to watch the miracles happening in my Middlemarch.