Feeling stuck in the monotonous and sometimes meaningless-feeling activities that make up the daily grind?
I completely get you, and so does Kari Patterson, author of Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose and Joy.
And that’s why I highly recommend adding her book to your summer reading list-and if you don’t have a one-today’s a great time to start!
Despite the abundance of so-called Christian books, there is sadly a shortage in quality, Bible-based, edifying reads-especially for women. And so when I come across one that the Lord uses to grow me as a homemaker, wife and woman in general, I want to let you know too!
Keeping in mind that only one perfect Book and Author exists (The Bible), I believe we can greatly benefit through what God has taught other, wiser sisters-in-Christ (that’s what Titus 2 is all about, right?!)
Just a disclaimer-When I say Bible-based, I do not mean Biblically-perfect. As I mentioned above Only the Lord and His Word are never mistaken in one single sentence or syllable.
So that means whatever we read, we must always, ALWAYS read each book in light of the Word of God. Remember what we are encouraged to do?
Test all things; hold fast to what is good.1 Thessalonians 5:21
Test this book to the truth. Hold fast to what is Biblical and profitable. Let go of everything else.
Below I’ve put together for you:
- A short explanation of the title.
- Pictures of both the table of contents and the description on the back of the book.
- My three biggest takeaways.
- Three reasons I recommend this book
What’s in a Name?
So what exactly does the title Sacred Mundane mean?
Sacred: connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration. Mundane: 1.) lacking interest or excitement; dull. 2.) of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one.— [Oxford Dictionaries]
Kari Patterson invites us to renew our mindsets in regard to our daily domestic duties or monotonous job. To put away our dualistic attitude that says there’s worldly, non-important work that has no eternal impact and:
“He [God] stands at the door and knocks, patiently waiting to be invited in, knowing full well He can lovingly make something glorious out of our mess. Meanwhile we’re often inside thinking we have to do it all on our own, wondering why we’re stuck.” (p.21)
“This book is an invitation to live unstuck. to be healed, whole, changed from the inside out. To find freedom, purpose, and joy. In other words, it’s an invitation to be transformed.” (p.14)
My 3 Biggest Takeaways
#1 In Christ, All of life (no matter how “ordinary”) is holy–and His Life is the Perfect Example of this truth.
It’s so easy as we go about our familiar routines to try to hurry up in order to finish and move onto something more worthwhile than cleaning the toilet and washing the dishes for the tenth time that day.
We desire to please the Lord and use our days for Him so we sift through our activities hoping to find something that truly matters and has eternal impact. Something that really pleases our Lord–and we think that certainly couldn’t be the often non-exciting tasks of the home.
As a full-time homemaker who is married to a pastor, I’ve found the thought cross my mind more than once “how great it would be to spend all my time occupied in kingdom work like my husband does. What offerings will I have to present my Lord for the time He’s given me?”
Despite knowing it’s not true, I bought into the lie of a divided life–albeit for only a moment-that only certain tasks truly glorify Him.
I love how she points out that Christ glorified the Father every moment He was here on earth, including before starting His official, visible, earthly ministry at age 30.
“Though He is our great High Priest, He didn’t come to earth to become a priest by vocation. He became a carpenter. He worked with His very human hands to create common household items to provide for physical needs. He was born in the ordinary way (although His conception certainly wasn’t ordinary) and placed in a trough amid the dung and dirt and dust kicked up from animals all around. He had all the bodily functions common to mankind. He slept. He worked. He ate. And in all of this He could rest assured, ‘I always do the tings that are pleasing to [the Father]’ (John 8:29).” (p. 87)
“Our lives are wholly sacred, without division, because we are His. No part is left behind. Because of Christ, our lives are wholly holy…”Kari Patterson, Sacred Mundane
The fact that we have elevated certain tasks as more holy, sacred, or meaningful to us and God means we have relegated the majority of humankind to the ether of expendability. Only a small step exists between someone’s work being considered beneath ours and someone’s worth being considered beneath ours.” (p.89)
“If we Christ followers have made that step, how are we to give His hope to the world? It is hard enough for a woman to persevere at a monotonous and mundane job, but to imply that her work is meaningless and doesn’t matter strips the last shred of dignity from a precious soul…” (p.89)
#2. True Love is Costly and Inconvenient.
“The real problem is, Jesus’s kind of love is terribly inconvenient. Jesus’s kind of love is appalling. It’s so far beyond our own diluted view of love, we hardly know what to do with it. He laid down all His rights–and I can barely lay down my plans for the day!” (p.100)
“Think about it. Jesus gave up all His privileges, His comforts, His glory, His honor, His majesty, to come down and dwell among us in our filthy mess…He didn’t come and live in a palace. He didn’t come as an earthly king. He wasn’t more handsome than everyone else. He didn’t have a holy glow about Him; HE wasn’t a head taller than everyone else. There was nothing about His person or appearance that would make Him attractive to us (Isa. 53:2). Jesus was born into a poor family. Before His three-an-a-half years of itinerant ministry, He worked a mundane job as a humble carpenter.
And He lived the most others-centered, selfless, loving, giving, sacrificial life that could ever be conceived. Jesus live the life we should live but don’t. And He laid down His life for us, reconciling us back to the Father, rescuing us and bringing us into the family of God. He took all our sin and shame, our envy and hate, our greed and selfishness. The sinless Lamb of God, Jesus , bore the punishment for our sin to that we wouldn’t have to. His love was immeasurably costly.” (p.100-101)
It cost Him everything.
Which left me with a question, that I now pose to you:
#3 God’s is Using my Ordinary to do something Extraordinary–Sanctify Me and Glorify Himself.
She compares “the dirty waters of daily life” to the dirty waters of the Jordan that Naaman was called to dip down into 7 times in order to be healed. Not the spectacular, exciting healing this mighty man expected, or even thought worthy. Yet, as Kari points out, this was the means that God Almighty ordained–ordinary, dirty, and most importantly– humbling waters.
“Over and over and over and over. Seven times Naaman had to dip until his pride was thoroughly washed away. Then we read the glorious ending: ‘And his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean’ (2 Kings 5:14).” (p.17)
“How often we balk at God’s bidding when he tells us to simply go and dip down deep into what is right in front of us, the waters we most despise, because that is where true healing is found…” (p.15)
“Now here’s the thing: we all long to see transformation–in our lives and in this world. but often we miss the most powerful catalyst for effecting true transformation in our lives: the dirty waters of daily life. ” (p. 14)
Why I Recommend This Book
#1 It’s a book that gives back! All Royalties go to benefit World Vision’s work with women and children in need.
#2 Even though homemaking isn’t the main focus, this book helped remind me of the surprising beauty of what a homemaker truly is .
The world so often tells us that what we do as women doesn’t matter if it’s not big and seen by many. Kari reminds us of what God says.
#3. She exalts Christ.
“The upside down kingdom says lose to find, give to gain, die to live. It is a holy invitation to the greatest adventure you’ll ever know, seeing the God of the universe work wonders in the midst of the mundane. Come, see.”
Find more out about Kari and her book at her blog, Sacred Mundane.
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Be Kind. Be Encouraging. Be a Multiplier!