The Amazing Thing

I first wrote this post a little over two years ago, in February 2010.  I remember so clearly the experience of writing it, and the depths to which I believed it.  As my posts from this week demonstrate, these ideas are still very present in my thinking, and they probably always will be.  For me, one of the great mysteries of the Christian life has been figuring out how to obey verses like Colossians 3:17, which tell us to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God.  Such verses find their way into my soul and ignite my imagination.  And every once in awhile, I get a little glimpse at how they are possible.  This article from 2010 records one of those glimpses:

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“My eyes are small, but they have seen
The beauty of enormous things.”

Today, I was walking across the church parking lot to mop the bathrooms in the gym. I was wearing jeans with big holes in the knees, a solid gray t-shirt, and a navy blue hoodie. My hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and I had very little make-up on. I had just come from my weekly grocery trip, which involved a lot of clipping coupons and pre-planning. And after I mopped, I was going to return home to feed my daughter lunch, pick up my son from preschool, and spend the afternoon working on potty training Anna, getting some cleaning and laundry done, and preparing to teach my Wednesday night lesson at church.

As I crossed the parking lot, I was listening to the David Crowder Band on my ipod, and a song came on that said,

“You make everything glorious.
You make everything glorious.
You make everything glorious.
And I am yours…
So what does that make me?’

This song put into words perfectly what I was feeling already. As I walked to mop floors in my holey jeans and little makeup, I felt glorious. Glorious in my “average life.” Glorious in my menial labor. Glorious without having had a shower that day. Glorious in the knowledge that the rest of the day would center largely around cleaning up pee-pee from carpets and hardwood floors as I tried to coerce a toddler into using the potty.

I see all these people around me who are looking for what I call the Amazing Thing. The longing for it is present in all walks of life, but it is especially evident in adolescents and college students. People just have this nagging feeling that life is supposed to be amazing, and that something is going to come along to make it so. Perhaps that something is a great work that they are going to do. Perhaps that something is a person. Perhaps it is a family. Or a place. Or a job. Or something. And as they are waiting for the Amazing Thing that is going to bring them ultimate fulfillment, they pass their time by living an ordinary life. They do schoolwork. They hang out with friends. They have relationships. They get married and have kids. They find jobs. They go on vacations. And many of them slowly become disillusioned b/c the Amazing Thing never comes. Of, if they don’t become disillusioned, they decide that the Amazing Thing was a fantasy, a dream, and they give up the quest for ultimate fulfillment.

The truly sad part is that many of these people are Christians, are members of churches, and as such, are surrounded by the Amazing Thing the whole time but don’t recognize it. The Amazing Thing has been tamed, has been domesticated, has been relegated to certain hours of the week. The Amazing Thing has been reduced to a list of rules. It has been reduced to practical irrelevance. And so these Christians long for something Amazing that will make their life Amazing. In their mind, if they aren’t doing something truly mind-blowing, if they aren’t preaching the Gospel to 1,000’s of people or writing best-selling books or starting churches on the African savanna, then their lives are not Amazing.

And all of those things are good things. But they aren’t, in and of themselves, the Amazing Thing. The Amazing Thing is God, and He is everywhere, not just in mega-church pulpits, or top 10 bestseller lists, or on the African savanna. The Amazing Thing is that we can commune with our All-Powerful Creator every second of every day. The Amazing Thing is that we can be both priests of the Most High (1 Pet. 2:9) and the sacrifice on the altar simultaneously (Rom. 12:1-2). And when that starts to sink in, just a little bit, it makes our lives amazing. It makes them glorious.

I wish I could share with everyone what this life is like. I wish I could help them see how mopping the floor can be a mountain-top experience, how changing a diaper or covering a small face with kisses could be a sacred offering to Yahweh, how folding laundry and making meals for people can be full of meaning, and joy, and profound love. I feel like if people truly understood that planting the kingdom of God in the heart of a child is, in and of itself, more miraculous than preaching a sermon before 1,000’s, that truly dying to yourself in your perfectly ordinary day is a miraculous work of God, that deeply loving the person who gets on your last nerve is the powerful work of God’s Holy Spirit in you…I think if people realized those things, then they would understand that the Amazing Thing could permeate every part of their life right now. They would realize that truly miraculous things like that happen everyday to those who believe and who serve God.

Like I said, I wish I could make people see what that life is like. But ultimately, words won’t do it. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of words, but there are some places that only God can take a person. And so I pray for the teens at our church, for the college students, for myself, and for all my brothers and sisters, that we would all continue to seek God’s face, and that He would teach us all more and more how to die to ourselves and how to trulylive amazing lives, finding our fulfillment in the Amazing Thing that has been all around us the whole time.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Great article, Kim, I am really glad you decided to re-post it.The divine is in the mundane all around us, isn’t it?

    I thought of two things while I read it. The first was the movie City Slickers where Jack Palance (playing the grizzled cowboy Curly) tells Billy Crystal (the city slicker) that happiness in life comes when you find one thing. Crystal asks what that is, and Palance says everyone has to discover that for themselves. The whole movies embodies the search for the Amazing that you write about here.

    The second thing I thought about was that scene in C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce where a woman is being celebrated on her way into heaven. Lewis asks his guide who that could be:

    ‘Is it?… Is it?’ I whispered to my guide.

    ‘Not at all,’ said he. ‘It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.’

    ‘She seems to be … well, a person of particular importance?’

    ‘Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on earth are two quite different things.’ . . .

    ‘And who are all these young men and women on each side?’

    ‘They are her sons and daughters.’

    ‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’

    ‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son–even if it is was only the boy that brought meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.

    ‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’

    ‘No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more.’

    I want to be like Sarah and do something Amazing.

    Tim

    Reply

    • Tim, I loved that last example from Lewis; thanks for sharing it! I especially love the idea that our view of fame (or even of what is amazing) is perhaps very different from the view in heaven. What a great thought!

      Reply

  2. i remember this post. and i remember us speaking of things such as this during our coffee meetings. miss those, miss u.

    ann voskamp’s book has really made me use God’s eyes more than my own, to not just see but to rest on the Amazing Things in my life. to rest my heart, soul, and mind in the sunshine and the rain He sends, in the beautifully talented voice of my son on stage to the simple quiet-hush of a sabbath morning with cup of joe in hand. to realize and capture the thought that He made everything glorious, spilt milk and all…and if He dwells in me, how should i see ALL things? as amazing!

    Reply

    • Yeah, I bet Ann Voskamp’s book does speak to this well, doesn’t it? (Still haven’t finished–I plan to this summer!) I miss our coffee dates, too, and I wish I could have seen David as Gaston. Sounds like he did great!

      Reply

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