“It’s so great to see you!” Her exuberant spirit bubbles over as we catch up over a cup of coffee. “What’s new?” She asks enthusiastically.
What’s new? I go through potential responses in my head.
No career switches, church moves, or recent travels. Same house, same spouse. My life is pretty much the same as last time you asked this question. Just plugging along through the regular routine.
I eat cheesecake with another friend in celebration of her birthday. “It’s funny,” she comments. “Nothing really is changing in my life, yet time keeps moving on.”
And so it does. The days move from one to another as winter melts into spring and spring into summer, and just like that we’ve completed another rotation around the sun. Time moves forward, yet for many of us it feels like we are staying in the same place. We feel painfully boring when we look into the face of the friend with a new boyfriend, a new job, an upcoming move, a career switch, and tell her that our life is the same as always. Are you still interested in me, in my everyday life, enough to walk with me through seasons of sameness? Can we still be friends if nothing is new?
I am prone to resent this, these incessant patterns of same old same old.
It feels so normal, so small, so ordinary. When will it be my turn for a dramatic turn of events? Will I ever catch a glimpse of God in the midst of thunder and blazing bushes, something so profound that my life is radically altered? How long will I have to trudge through the boring paths of my mundane world?
My heart longs for a lifetime of mountain top experiences, but instead I find myself living daily life in the valley.
Yet, there’s nothing to do but get up each morning and continue forward.
I sip my coffee, scramble the eggs, watch children, and play piano. In the evening we go to drama rehearsal at the school and then return home for a bowl of cereal and another night’s sleep. Nothing is new, but maybe that doesn’t negate the good that is happening. Maybe it is precisely here that God has His greatest work in store for me. Because here, in the daily grind, is where He will do the careful, steady work of changing my heart. Maybe I won’t be transformed into His likeness by lightning bolts after all — but by the quiet, consistent patterns of daily life.
It takes days and days of faithfulness to change habitual patterns of disobedience, unloving attitudes, and disrespectful hearts. So God plants us here, for months and months, and steadily shapes us into the people He’s planned us to be. We slowly learn true love over a lifetime of waking up to the same person, we learn patience by dealing with the same children hour after hour, we learn endurance by going to the same job every morning, we find depth when forced to walk along the same path every day.
And maybe after five hundred days of normal life we will look up and realize that something is new. Our hearts.