Editor's note: This article was originally published on Kari Patterson's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
Exhausted, I stare down into the sink. It's clogged. Has been for several weeks. When it does slowly drain it leaves a dark grimy film, and no matter how many times I scour it, the grime returns every time it's clogged again.
(Which is daily.)
I stare at the water; it isn't going anywhere. I look up into the mirror, my face red from exertion, hair soaked with sweat. I just got off the treadmill.
The absurdity of it strikes me: I'm exhausted from running nowhere.
In so many ways.
Tears sting my eyes as my reflection blurs sideways. I had thought about it while running, had thought about how ridiculous it was to run, all alone, for forty minutes and not get anywhere.
Why am I getting nowhere?
Everyday I get up. You do too. Everyday we obey God in the mundane details of life behind the scenes. We wipe counters, noses, and bottoms. We believe. We listen, labor, love, often alone. We wash, work, worship. And then we wake up the next morning and do it all again.
Kinda sounds like a treadmill to me.
I poured this out to Him as I ran, one foot in front of the other, scenery never changing. The only thing ahead of me was a wall.
That's how my days feel sometimes as well.
My exercise is in obedience to God. I'm obeying Him with my body. He clearly called me to this, so I obey. Get up each morning. Get on my knees. Pray. Believe. Spread out His Word. Ask. Seek. Trust. Lace up the shoes. Run the miles. Write the words. Raise the kids.
Sometimes the scenery never changes.
Then why run it?
I ask Him this, these exact words, while pounding out the steps, keeping pace with prayer. His still small voice:
"Because you're training."
Tears on the treadmill.
Yes. Of course. He's training me. He's training you. These long days where the scenery never changes. These long days of believing Him for things we cannot see. These long days putting one foot in front of the other. These long days with nothing ahead but a wall. These long days alone. When we're sweating and exhausted and getting nowhere at all … we're training.
We're getting stronger. We're building endurance. We're learning not to quit.
The scenery may never change, butwe'rechanging.
That's why we run on a treadmill. Why we do the duties each day, choosing to delight instead of despise, because we choose to believe He's changing us as we are faithful in the little things each day. Choosing to believe He will make good on His promises in His time.
I know the Sacred Mundane can be hard. I know it's not exhilerating to run on a treadmill, alone, staring at a wall and getting nowhere. Doing the duties no one else sees and at the end of the day looking around and wondering, All that work … for what?
Because God is watching. Because God is training you for His glory. Building endurance, building character, building faith —growing some choice fruit that can only grow in the shade.
When the scenery never changes, keep running.
When no one's there to cheer, keep running.
When all that's ahead is that same bleak wall, keep running.
When it seems you're getting nowhere, keep running.
Race Day may come and you'll be ready. Opportunity may knock and you'll open that door. His answer will come and you will shake your head, smile, and raise our hands in praise. But most importantly, a day will come when you hear the most glorious words,
"Well done … you have been faithful with little things … Enter into My joy."
Kari Patterson juggles the hats of pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, conference speaker, Bible study teacher, writer, blogger, friend, and daughter - usually dropping them all on her crumb-covered floor. (It’s ok, really.) Kari holds a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Women’s Ministry from Multnomah Biblical Seminary, and has a passion to see women transformed by encountering God in the ordinary details of life. On her blog, Sacred Mundane, she writes the raw and the real–-sometimes triumphant, always transparent–-the daily venture of living the sacred in the midst of the mundane.