rebelling against low expectations

Six Tips For Finding Joy in the Mundane


Building wells in Africa, serving orphanages in China, bringing the Gospel to lost souls in jungle tribes…

We long for this kind of adventure. We often view these “hard things” as true victories for Christ—these are the images that come to mind when we think of the Great Commission.

But flash back to reality, and we’re not risking our lives in third world countries. We’re here, laboring away on another Algebra problem, or writing another paragraph in another essay, or studying for another test.

The gloom of another dark winter school day is enough to make us despair of ever finding the joy, the purpose, the adventure in life.

For many of us, this struggle in the everyday is our “hard thing.” Mainstream evangelicals and our modern culture have trained us to live for the highs in life—those times when we feel most empowered to make an impact, whether for Christ’s Kingdom or for success in our own lives.

Truthfully, our day to day routines are mundane. It is difficult to see the purpose of persevering through just one more day of classes or chores.

Despite our feelings, God doesn’t see our daily and weekly routines as boring or unnecessary. In fact, it’s through the ordinary lives of His people that He works to fulfill His promises: sanctifying His people and increasing His Church. Because of this, we don’t have to dread the mundane—instead, we find joy.

On one particular day in my Junior year of high school, I found myself doodling on my math assignment in a state of utter boredom and discontent. I didn’t see the purpose in doing yet another problem. But there was a purpose.

There is purpose in all that happens to us, whether that is a triumphant victory in our quest to do hard things, a fiery trial, or simply enduring the mundaneness of life.

God is the author of the story of our lives, and we trust that He uses everything to bring glory to Himself and for the good of His people. As teens, this is especially encouraging for us.

That means despite all our failures, our sins, our troubles, we rest assured in the belief that God is orchestrating our lives to draw us closer to Himself. What greater joy is there for forgiven sinners than this?

Since my Junior year, I’ve learned a few practical ways to purposefully seek the joy in everyday life. Here are my tips:

1. Be in the Word of God. Daily.

There we discover the reason for joy, even in the times that aren’t so joyous.

Psalm 90:14 “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!”

2. Recognize God’s plan and remember His promises in the light of eternity.

When you are faced with the temptation to despair, ask yourself what matters the most to you—does your heart find its home in the Heavenly? Or are you more entranced with the temporary pleasures of this life? When we think about the pure joys that await us in Heaven, the cares of this world fade to the background.

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

3. Actively seek the goodness and beauty in God’s creation.

School work is much more bearable when we see the artistry of our Creator.

4. Make thankfulness a habit.

Be mindful of the ways God has blessed you.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

5. Pray.

Prayer tends to redirect our focus on what truly matters. Pray for thankfulness and joy even when you don’t feel these things. Pray for opportunities to “give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” (1 Peter 3:15).

6. Learn to love your church.

God has promised to bless His people through Sabbath rest. Through this means, God strengthens, convicts, and encourages His people for the week ahead. The local body gives us a faint glimpse of the joys of Heaven.

My friends, place all your hope in things eternal. Remember that God is using those boring routines to prepare you for His plan for your life—and who knows, it just might be that He calls you to a remote part of the world to spread the Gospel.

But even if you find yourself in the same small town you’ve always known, there is joy, peace, and contentment in promises the and plans of God.

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Photo courtesy of Francisco Osorio and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Sophia McClure

is an 18-year-old college freshman with an appreciation for the power of language. When she’s not in class, you might find her practicing violin, indulging in dark chocolate, or working on her photography business. She loves her small church and is really excited about what God is doing through it. She dreams about traveling to Europe and visiting the homeland of her favorite author, J.R.R Tolkien.


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  • I love this so much… Thanks, Sophia, for putting things in perspective again! I have been working on my relationship with God in relation to my thoughts. When the Bible talks about meditating on God and His Word day and night, it is serious. Be pro-actively thinking about your relationship with God every single moment.

    Think positive, love God, and “Do Hard Things.” Even if it does seem mundane at the time. 😀

    • Absolutely! Sometimes the mundane moments are harder than the “exciting” hard times when we can see the results of our efforts. Keep pressing forward to the prize!

  • Thank you so much for the encouragement and challenge! It’s really helpful, especially since I just got back from an amazing trip, and have to be normal again now. Pray I’ll be consistent, and actually DO this stuff.

  • This is so true! Far too often we allow ourselves to deem ourlives qand what we’re accomplishing as small. But as you said the same thinge are just as important. We have to remember that everything that we do that might see unimportant now will play a big part in our feature. ” So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ” – 1 Corinthians 10: 31

    • Yes! I love the quote that goes something like, “if you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.” Journeys of thousands of miles are taken with single steps. 🙂 Blessings on your walk with Christ!

    • Truly! I love this quote from Lord of the Rings: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” <3

  • Yup, we need to realize that working at things every day is an essential responsibility of a trustworthy servant. If we cannot obey in the small things, how can we in the big things? Let’s show our obedience by working hard each day!

  • This really hit me right at the perfect time….
    I actually live in Africa, but because of school work, I’m having to put ministry and such on the back burner. This is my final year in highschool and I can’t push it off. It’s hard to be sitting home doing the daily monotonous routine when i could be out ministering!!! God has blessed me with ways to minister from home for which I am grateful, yet I still long to be out…
    Anyway, this post really encouraged me greatly…so thank you so much! <3

  • A little over a week into my senior year of high school, I’m already feeling some senioritis–like, I’m ready to be done and get out into the world and do big things! Needed this article; thanks!

  • Thank you for writing this article. I’m on my senior year and from this article its nice to know that I’m not the only one feeling like this.. I also want to visit Europe and I also really like J. R. R Tolkien… ^_^

By Sophia McClure
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →