Over the past few years, I’ve struggled a lot with the comparison of an ‘ordinary’ lifestyle and living RADICALLY. I have often felt that if I wasn’t in ministry or abroad doing missions (living a radical lifestyle) that I wasn’t living up to my potential as a follower of Christ. Luckily, God has really been working on my heart in that area, or I might be missing out on this wonderful phase of my life and the sweet babies that I get to nanny for each day.
After leaving YWAM and going to university back here in the States, I began to form the idea in my head that my lifestyle had to look radical in order to live more passionately for Jesus. The more radical your lifestyle looked, the more ‘spiritual’ or closer to God you must be. While you might tell me this isn’t true or you’ve read books or heard people speak on ordinary life, most of you have thought about it one time or another. I’ve heard and seen Christians putting missionaries, pastors, and other people in ministry on pedestals…Our Christian cultures sometimes seems to view these people as ‘more spiritual’.
And the reality is that they aren’t…necessarily. They still struggle with sin, emotions, and conflict with others. But what I am learning is that a life that looks seemingly ordinary on the outside, does not mean that a person cannot live radically FOR Jesus. As I was beginning to grapple with this, Phil and I joined a small group that happened to be reading a book called “The Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Harrison Warren. I hope to write about the book more later, but this book goes through the process of an everyday life and how ordinary moments and routines can become sacred moments and habits in our relationship with God.
Right now Phil and I live in an apartment in the suburbs of Philly and both work ‘normal’ day jobs. Two years ago if you would have told me this is where I would be, I would probably scoff and say “Nope…I’ll be on the mission’s field” (I also wouldn’t think I would be married). But God had other plans and since He has been working in my heart, He has made this place so much more enjoyable. Now going to work each day and caring for babies, making dinner, cleaning up the house, going to bed, spending time with friends, and going to church isn’t necessarily radical..
However, it doesn’t mean it can’t be. I happen to have one of those important jobs in the world (in my opinion). Caring for the lives of two beautiful little human beings that will someday grow up to be a part of this crazy world. I not only get to teach kindness, encourage play, and give lots of snuggles, but in the midst of the diaper changes, feedings, and clean up I have the opportunity to pray over those sweet little smiles…over their development, relationships with God, and their future jobs and lives. (Side Note: Thank you to the working Mama’s who have given us nannies the privilege of helping to raise your precious children).
Not only do I have the time to pray for them, but I can spend my days in prayer for their parents, for my own family, for my church, and for my friends. I also have the opportunity to do other cleaning around the house and get to be a blessing to their parents. And with the flexibility of nannying, during some of my free moments, I am able to work on writing and have extra time to spend with God. Outside of work, with both of our (Phil and I) job flexibility we have the opportunities to start getting involved with Young life, mentoring college students, and we are able to be involved with things like mission’s board and the worship team.