Earlier in the year, when I seemed to getting on a plane every week and I was dealing with some mysterious health symptoms, I remember thinking to myself: “If I could be at home, in my usual routine, doing all my ordinary work, going to the same grocery store, running the same running route, dealing with the same squabbles, tucking in the same six kids, sleeping in the same bed with my same wife, and doing this feeling relatively fine, I’d thank God each and every day for my wonderfully boring life.”

Of course, those sort of vows disappear all too quickly. I know I’ve had some normal, boring days since then and didn’t stop to thank God for the blessing of the same-old, same-old.

But I do so more than I used to.

Talk to the parents whose house was flooded or whose kids won’t sleep through the night. Talk to the friend who has been sitting by the bedside of a loved one in the hospital for days or weeks. Talk to the baby-boomer who has made special trips to take care of an aging parent. Talk to the family whose kitchen remodel is dragging on another month. Talk to the young women who keeps going from doctor to doctor looking for a definitive diagnosis that hasn’t come. Talk to the dad who has been on the road more days than he can remember. Talk to the mom who can’t shake her anxiety or her headaches. Talk to anyone who feels like the chaos of life is spinning and spinning, without any routine or regularity in sight. Most of us don’t learn how precious normal is until it’s gone.

If your life feels ho-hum and humdrum, if you struggle to find contentment in the ordinary and mundane, if you are tempted to break free from the predictable routine of life with stupidity or sinfulness, consider for a moment that your boring life is the envy of almost every person sitting right now in a hospital bed or a refugee camp. Consider how many friends and family members would gladly trade in all their frenzied commotion and uncertain schedules for a single day of your plain-jane normalcy. The only people bored with boring are those who have never had to live without it.

To be sure, in one sense there is no normal. All of us suffer. All of us face interruptions, delays, disappointments, and unwanted surprises. Almost everyone with kids is living on the far side of crazy. And yet, there is a difference between crazy busy and catastrophe. If this week is a lot like last week, which is itself likely to be a lot like next week, enjoy the sanity that comes with sameness. Do not despise the days of small things, for they add up to more than you know (Zech. 4:10).

Thank God for your normal, boring life.

And have mercy on those around you who wish they had their boring back.

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19 thoughts on “Thank God for Your Normal, Boring Life”

  1. charlie says:

    To the contrary, my hunch is there are many who are “bored” or at least “uneasy” with boring because they have lived without it, and possibly because they reflect on the fact that there are people who live daily without it. To live in weakness is to often to know the power of God. Green pastures present a natural temptation to long for that power met in weakness.

  2. Ali says:

    If your life feels ho-hum and humdrum, if you struggle to find contentment in the ordinary and mundane”

    Thank you, though further maybe even not use the word ‘boring’ whose definition – dull, repetitious, uninteresting monotonous, tedious, irksome, tiresome – uses adjectives referring to what is so lacking as to cause mental weariness – is possibility an affront to God depending on attitude, -because His grace is completely sufficient for us and we have been SAVED ‘out of Egypt’!

    Numbers 11:4 The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”..10 Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.
    18 Say to the people..and you shall eat meat..the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat. 19 You shall..20 a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because YOU HAVE REJECTED THE LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”…31 Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, …32 The people ..gathered the quail.. 33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.

    Deuteronomy 8: 3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

    Deuteronomy 8: 16 In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

  3. Pamela Trochi says:

    All of the typos, misspellings, and grammar mistakes make this sloppy and hard to read. If you are going to write it shouldn’t you or someone proofread it? It’s a good article but the devil is in the details.

  4. dave bocker says:

    Thanks. I’m motivated to meet the mundane today…more aware that it’s a treasure to be cherished.

  5. Sarah Norton says:

    Thank you Kevin for reminding us that the boring life is something to be thankful for. My life as been far from boring these past 10 years with finishing my BS, chronic back pain, depression, self-harm, and just recently coming to Christ as a born-again Christian. I have had many talks with my pastor about being content and being ok with a boring life. This is my desire, but after years of turmoil it is hard to see regular every day things as not being a catastrophe. I really appreciate your perspective and how vulnerable you are. I love reading your blog and am always encouraged by it.

  6. Neville Briggs says:

    . Mr DeYoung says; Talk to the baby-boomer who has made special trips to take care of an aging parent.

    Time flies MR DeYoung, I’m a baby boomer and it’s me who is the aging parent. haha

  7. Kevin has made a very good point. The extensive list he provides of ministry opportunities for all of us defines what Christs ministers of reconciliation/mercy and grace should be. Scripture clearly tells it is better to give than receive, and blessings come from giving our time to those who don’t have normal/boring lives. I guess we have all been at some stage in our lives wishing for normal to return. Perhaps someone came along side to you and journeyed with you until life improved. Either way I enjoy normal and boring, and value it when I can get it. God gives me many divine appointments with people who have lost it. And to Kevin I have know doubt God blesses you for reaching out to the hurting, it makes theology pale into the background.

  8. Joshua says:

    I so appreciate this article, yet I wonder if it is presenting a dichotomy where there ought to be a trichotomy. Here is spoke of either a boring life or the life filled with undesired activity. With these two options, surely we ought to thank God if He chooses to give us the boring life. But what about the third option? It seems to me that we ought not to be striving for or even content with boring lives and supposing that the only alternative is a life filled with heartache and pain. Are we as Christians not called to an army for Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4)? Are we nought to be about our Father’s business? We have the great privilege of being ambassadors for Christ and beckoning people to be reconciled with Him (2 Corinthians 5:20).

    So it would seem to me that we should strive for such a life. God forbid that the sons of God should live a life that is merely a clean version of a lost mans. I do not suppose that brother Kevin would suggest that, but I fear that some may come away from reading this, content to live a “boring” life, by which they mean a life void of living to prepare yourself and others for eternity, but rather just so occupied with the mundane affairs of this world.

  9. anaquaduck says:

    True, we are people, not machines. Its almost ecclesiastes in content & a good reason why we have Sunday & holidays among other things. The modern world is very demanding as we battle the time bandits. To be up on Walton mountain…

  10. martin says:

    To be sure, being thankful for every day of living is paramount to mental and spiritual health.

    But, when a former pastor of mine addressed our men’s breakfast with the topic , ‘Temptations Common to Men’, he surprised me by stating that one of the greatest temptations for middle-age men is that they stop pursuing the dreams they once had. He went on to say that many men stop learning new skills and cease following creative pursuits. No surprise then that we are bored.

    God created a world full of excitement and beauty. He invites us to explore His world and join with Him in continuing His act of creation. It can hardly be boring when we learn to play a new instrument, express the wonders of the world (corporeal and spiritual) in created songs, poems and works of visual art. Others not given to these arts can create new businesses that serve various needs or engage in services that bring comfort or joy to the less fortunate.

    There is no substitute for contentment and thankfulness. However, exercising creativity in its various forms can enhance our lives, making us even more attentive to what we can be thankful for.

    It is very spiritual to exercise creativity since we bear the image of God, our Creator. It is very, very far from boring.

  11. Neville Briggs says:

    This is not a criticism of Kevin DeYoung but a reflection on the implications of the theme.

    Certainly thankfulness to God is the reality of acknowledging His providence. I am thankful.
    But I think that some of the biggest difficulties of faith arise when we do not enjoy the same old, same old uneventful life.
    How do we hold to thankfulness to God when things go horribly wrong.

    A friend of mine has a bitter hostility towards the church and Christian teaching and any mention of God, because his young son was tragically killed in a car crash. He is not thankful to God he hates God, because he thinks that either there is no Godly providence or God has cruelly handed him a raw deal.
    Of course there is a long book of the Bible on this theme, the book of Job.

    Jesus taught his disciples that nothing would happen to them without God’s permission ( the sparrow example )
    and the Book of Job reveals that God’s permission shapes our circumstances.
    The mystery that remains is why God gives permission, We simply don’t know.

    It seems easy to be thankful for the comfortable circumstances. How do we be thankful in the evil day and how do we explain to victims of evil that they are in the will of God.

    One thing I am sure of, anyone who has a clear cut answer, is wrong.

    NO. I am not an ingrate. I live in a world of hurt and tragedy and I look for answers. .

  12. Ali says:

    Neville: The mystery that remains is why God gives permission, We simply don’t know. I live in a world of hurt and tragedy and I look for answers. .

    I hope this is not too pat but true and helpful. -This (whatever) happened that the works of God might be displayed (somehow and in the end) John 9:3

  13. Neville Briggs says:

    That’s an interesting example Ali. We see that the people who questioned Jesus assumed that the “good life ” showed God’s approval and blessing on an upright life and the ” bad life ” showed God’s displeasure and punishment on an evil life. . Jesus debunked that idea, but as far as I can see only in this one case. The mystery remains on the broad explanations for the ups and down of life. Perhaps we cannot know, perhaps we do not need to know. The apostle Paul petitioned God about his ” thorn in the side ” and Paul was told ” My grace is sufficient for you “.
    It’s not at all easy to figure. I remember how in the aftermath of events such as the 9/11 plane attacks in New York and the catastrophe of the Asian tsunami there were people talking about God’s punishment and displeasure. There was never evidence for such views. But what is the evidence that these things are set to display the works of God.
    Maybe someone has an answer. I haven’t.

  14. Ali says:

    morning Neville

    Neville:There was never evidence for such views.
    evidence – the Bible records the principle of its potential

    Neville: But what is the evidence that these things are set to display the works of God.
    evidence -the Bible. Everything is to display the work of God, He does so even in/thru this fallen world that resulted from our sin. And His work is also that we grow in trust in Him

    Job 1:22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
    Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    Matt 7: 11 how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

    Take care Neville, each day indeed has enough trouble of its own, so I hope the Lord is your refuge and your strength and your portion for this day.

  15. Stacey says:

    This article has two typographical errors in it. I thought you might want to know. Sorry, not being critical, I just pick up on these things when I read.
    “… when I seemed to getting on a plane”. Missing the word “be” – “seemed to be getting”
    “…Talk to the young women who keeps…” – women should be woman – singular

  16. Arlene says:

    Thank you for your post. You are so right. Back in September 2010, our “normal” world was suddenly turned upside down by my husband’s cancer diagnosis. For three and a half years, our calendar was filled with chemo treatments, PET scans, blood work, etc.
    Last year, the Lord brought my precious husband of 31 years home, and I am still trying to find a new “normal.” I have told my older son, who has two young children, to treasure the mundane routines of life. I think about the times I used to complain about the “mundaneness” of certain days. Oh, how I wish I had them back, with my beloved husband beside me to enjoy them.

  17. Neville Briggs says:

    Thanks Ali

  18. Elizabeth says:

    As much as I appreciate the sentiment that I should be thankful for a “boring” life, and indeed I AM thankful for “boring” when it happens, I fail to see the connection to Zechariah 4:10, the verse tacked onto the end of the article. That verse is referring to God’s telling His people not to be grumpy about the “smallness” of the new temple because He is happy with it. Not only is He happy with it, but He’s telling them that the Temple that is coming later (the Messiah in the Millennium) is far, far better!

  19. Mandla says:

    Needed this right now! Thank you.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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