One Word 2017: Ordinary

We all know Romans 12:1-2, right? (Present your body as a living sacrifice,
Don't conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed...)
Read The Message paraphrase

Last year, my word(s) was (were) "be still." My goals were to intentionally observe a Sabbath every week and to spend time daily being still in prayer. I felt like I did this well the first part of the year. Then we traveled to the US. With my schedule out the window, this was difficult - both the weekly and daily goals. When we returned, I felt that I was behind on so many things that I really had too much to do, and I wasn't very good at being still. Then, a million crazy things happened with Rodgers' family, and with him gone a lot taking care of their business, I was even worse at being still. This is a discipline I still need to work on, and I intend to. It is so good to be still. And I have seen what Sabbath does for me physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is all good things!

This year, as I contemplated what to focus on for 12 months, two things came to mind. One was a song. The other was a devotional.

There's one line of the song that brought the devotional to mind. Though I would call this my theme song for the year, I really don't like this line, "We were made for so much more than ordinary lives."

If taken a certain way, I can agree. We were made for paradise, for abundant lives in Christ. However, there is a lot of ordinary in my life, and that's as it should be. There is a lot of ordinary that I must do. And I must persevere in following Jesus in the ordinary.

This is what brought to mind My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I had to Google for a bit to find what I was looking for (linked). He emphasizes the necessity and the calling of a follower of Jesus to be exceptional in the ordinary things of our lives. He wrote, "It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God— but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people— and this is not learned in five minutes."

We do have ordinary lives. I do. We moved to Kenya in 2012, which sounded like such a huge adventure, but I spent most of my time that first year feeding the baby, washing bottles, potty training the toddler, disciplining, cooking, cleaning. Ordinary things. Ordinary life. It still is even this year - my kids are just older!

This quote about being exceptional in ordinary life has come to mind several times over the past few months, thus, I'm going to stick with it. My word for the year is "ordinary."

Last year I started a Bible reading plan called "Four Streams." It goes through the Old Testament once a year, Psalms twice, and the New Testament and Proverbs 4 times. I only got through 283 days of it, but I have to say I really, really super like it. I'm still going. I've just started the fourth time through the New Testament. I like that it gives a variety of readings each day, some Old, some New, a Psalm and/or a chapter of Proverbs. I like that the New Testament is divided in such a way that I'm not reading all of the gospels back to back. And 6 to 7 chapters a day is totally doable (except for those months that we had no regular schedule). I will keep this one up. I intend to start again when I finish it.

A new discipline I'm adding this year is also an old one -> scripture memory. I was memorizing Bible verses before I could even read. I was a Bible driller when I was older. I've memorized a lot of verses and short passages, but I've never memorized a very long passage. Let me take that back. In college, I memorized Psalms 27 and 34, but I don't remember most of them. I looked at several suggested chapters to memorize, I found a plan for memorizing the entire New Testament in 5 years (click and scroll to the bottom half of the page, it takes memorizing 4-6 verses per day), but in the end my short list had me choosing between 3 books: 1 Peter, James, and Ephesians. Memorizing the first 2 in a year would average out to 2 verses per week. Ephesians is about 3 verses per week. And I'm going with...


A memorization challenge may seem extraordinary, but I believe that memorizing and meditating on scripture is one way to keep myself focused on Jesus in the mundane parts of my life.

So there it is. One word: ordinary.


  1. What a great challenge! Good luck and I'd love to know if you're able to keep up with your memorizing schedule this year. I made one little change to help me read the Bible more often- I bought one that's travel-sized and put it in my purse. This way when I have a free minute, I can pull it out and read instead of wasting time on my phone. I've only been doing it for a week or so but it's working so far :)


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