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Do You Need Permission to be Unremarkable Today?

Do you ever wake up already stressed or worried about your day? Do you ever feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and just long for a time to work with your hands and give your brain a break? Do you ever sigh in relief at the prospect of an ordinary, empty day where you can just process, think, play, or rest?

That’s ok, writes Emily P. Freeman. You have Permission to be Unremarkable Today. She shares on her blog,

Yesterday was difficult for reasons I’m not sure. Everyday in a thousand ways we see pain and injustice in a broken world pushed around by fear. I see it in myself too, how fear bullies me into corners.

But we have many exciting, fun things on the horizon for our kids, our family, and for me. Still, it’s good to remember how fun and excitement can live in the same house as anxiety, and that beautiful parts of life don’t cancel out the hard ones.

…As I sat in front of the [piano] the phrase came to my mind – at least tomorrow is Tuesday.

Weird, right? But Tuesday is the most ordinary day of the week and when you’re hanging on to the tension of excitement and sorrow, that can be a comfort. Tuesday gives me permission to be unremarkable.

Maybe this simple Tuesday perspective is beginning to take root.

The call to be ordinary is something Christians continue to wrestle with. In a non-stop culture, it feels lazy to do nothing and go nowhere. Yet, as Freeman writes, sometimes we must live in the space of a thoroughly unremarkable Tuesday just in order to get our bearings. We live in constant tension between anxiety and peace. Between fear and hope. 

So what can we cling to on the quiet days? The unremarkable days? The days at home, when you’re just with your kids instead of out ending poverty and fighting for global justice?

Perhaps you can just do something small to increase the health and joy in your family, like having screen-free time with your kids dedicated to playing in the water, reading, or planting a garden. 

Perhaps you can make a difference in the day of your fellow moms at the park or at church, simply by speaking, writing, or praying words of encouragement and love over and to them.

Tim Challies writes, in On Doing Ordinary Things,

What does it look like to live a life that has been transformed by this gospel of grace through faith? Paul lays it out in all its ordinariness. It is not a life of doing things that makes all the world take notice and declare your virtues, but a life of quiet, humble service and a long, slow growth in godliness.

And in Is Showy Christianity Leading you Astray? Kelly Balarie gives some poignant thoughts on how Christians evaluate the quiet and ordinary in light of the fast, glitzy, and showy affair that life (and church) so often is:

…[F]or us entertainment seekers, silence, quietness and stillness of mind scares us. It's uncomfortable.

Instead, we become so focused on what others are saying and doing, that we often miss what God wants us to say or do for another. We expect the producers to make the show good enough for us to consume and when we don't we leave disappointed.

But, did Jesus seek to put on a show to make Christianity glow?

He didn't seek big followers in order to make new followers.

"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) (John 4:17)

This woman went alone. She went with her thoughts. She went with a simple bucket, most likely. But, what she got was an encounter with Jesus. Jesus, who stepped away from the other disciples, away from the crowds to meet a woman in a simple way, through simple words, that would simply change her heart forever.

Have you ever encountered Jesus in the ordinary and unremarkable? Maybe it’s time to give yourself permission to wait in the quiet for a while, and listen for his voice.

Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at

Publication date: June 10, 2015