In our previous Wisdom Note, we learned about living life with purpose. This week we will expand on that purpose so that we can be living an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes, please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
As it is with most relationships that we foster, it is about living everyday life together. It is the routines of life that foster the trust that is so important. Within the routines of our ordinary lives, it is sometimes difficult to see how we impact others, but we do. It is important that we do not minimize that impact as all of us have the capacity to be living an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
There are so many extraordinary stories out there about people who have overcome incredible and unimaginable odds to go on to do something even more extraordinary. I love these stories and am inspired every time I read another one.
Stories like Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark while surfing is one. She went on to not only heal but to win several world titles as a professional surfboard athlete. She is referred to as the “Soul Surfer” for her strong faith commitment to God through her seeming tragedy. Another story is of Amy Purdy, who lost both her legs below the knee and a couple of internal organs due to bacterial meningitis. She too healed and went on to be a professional athlete as a pro snowboarder. Business Insider lists 15 corporate CEOs who have learning disabilities and overcame them to be successful in the corporate world.
It almost makes you feel like only the people with the really big, grand, unbelievable obstacles are the ones who can do anything extraordinary. For the rest of us, some days it feels like the biggest obstacles in life are just the mix of the daily grind. Whether that is your routine job, laundry, lawn work, dirty dishes, or playing referee between unruly kids, the mundane nature of it all is almost maddening. But, in the middle of this ordinary life, there are many extraordinary lessons of wisdom to be learned.
1. Extraordinary moments happen in ordinary times.
As we raised our five children to adulthood, our lives were a blur while we started our computer business, homeschooled the kids through high school, and were very active in our local church. Although we were very busy, probably too much so, our lives certainly created a hectic routine to our days and weeks. They grew up so fast, but within the ordinary course of our daily lives, we taught them to love God, love each other, work hard, and enjoy life. So, the moments that we shared working and traveling through life are absolutely valuable. Don’t miss the ordinary routines of life striving for something more exciting or extraordinary. Even if you can’t afford to travel much or buy things for your family, the times you invest in enjoying life together will make your ordinary life extraordinary.
2. Staying the course isn’t for the faint of heart.
Just doing what you need to do day in and day out is sometimes hard. It’s faithfulness in the little things and those decisions and choices that accumulate into a life of integrity. It’s not exciting, and no one is watching to applaud your efforts. But there is a prize at the end – the prize of a good name and a life well-lived. Rich relationships and meaningful moments all accumulate from staying the course, even when it’s boring, exhausting, and uninspiring, and you feel like throwing in the towel. Instead of throwing in the towel, pick it up, wipe the sweat off your face, dry your tears, and then stay the course and finish well.
3. Ordinary people are the ones who change the world the most.
When we think of world changers, we typically think of people who have discovered or created something that changes the way we live forever – scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, or cures for diseases. I would like to ask you, though…who has had the biggest impact on your life personally? Most people would say it was a family member or someone close to them, someone who was in their world and took the time to know, encourage, and love them. For me, it would be my Granny and my parents. They taught me to love, to laugh, to work hard, and to enjoy life. The people who change the world are the people who change the world, one person, at a time.
4. Experiences are better than possessions.
As a family, we love to get together and do things together. When we were raising our kids, we invested most of life together through home-schooling, working together, and being involved in church activities. Even as our children are adults, we still love to get together and invest time with our children and our grandchildren. We love to experience life together. We always have a story of the experiences that we have had. And since it’s a shared experience, retelling and thereby reliving it, is rich. As I have grown older, I care less and less about having things. I care more and more about accumulating experiences. Experiences are life-changing. Conversely, the shiny new things grow dull and lose their luster over time. Life is not about the stuff that we accumulate, but the riches of sharing life together. Scientific studies show that experiences will make you happier than any possessions, and they last longer. Within the course of your ordinary lives, create opportunities for shared experiences with the people you love. Then, talk about them long after they happened to continue to bask in the afterglow of wonderful connectedness. It is then you will realize that your lives are truly extraordinary.
Remember that the greatest things in life are not things, but the impact that we can have on the lives of others as we live our legacy each day. We have everything else that we need. As Peter wrote in his 2nd letter 2 Peter 1:3-4, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
On today’s trek, we reflected on four ways to make our ordinary life extraordinary. Life is not always easy for us, though, so next week on our Wisdom Notes we will hike a tough trail and learn 8 important life lessons along the way. Encourage your friends and family to join us on our 5-days a week podcast: Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
As most of us continue to experience some sort of self-isolation, it does appear that the economy will slowly start to open up. This will look different for each person or family. It is important to do what is important to you, without being critical of others. Love each other and help the many people in your circle who will be impacted by these changes. Hazel, and others who are in a higher risk group, will need to be more careful, so be considerate of those who will need to continue their stay more isolated. Consider how your decisions will impact those who are more vulnerable.