Kari Patterson and I are both first time authors, published by Kregel. Since she lives in Oregon, we haven’t officially met, but we’ve become fast friends. I highly recommend Kari’s new book, Sacred Mundane. See details below on how to win a FREE copy!
You know the Bible story of Naaman, right? Naaman was a commander of the Syrian army. He had favor with his king and success in battle because God had given him victory. However, Naaman had a problem.
He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. – I Kings 5:1 (emphasis mine)
In her brand new book, Sacred Mundane, Kari Patterson writes,
“We all have a but, and it’s a problem. (If you read that out loud it sounds terrible. I’m sorry; there was no other way.) Because you are created in the image of God, knit perfectly and wonderfully in your mother’s womb and cherished by him, you have value and worth and honor. You are dazzling and delightful. You are dearly loved. You have gifts, talents, and innumerable things going for you. You have strengths and skills, power and potential.
“But – there’s something in the way. Something that limits our freedom, confuses our purpose, steals our joy. No matter what great things we have going for us this thing constantly lurks on the fringe of our attention, subtly inhibiting, hindering, holding us back. For Naaman it was leprosy; for some it’s crippling fear; for some it’s anger or unforgiveness; for some it’s a desperate need for approval; for some it’s an issue or habit that’s hung around so long it has become an accepted part of life. Hangups have a way of hijacking our identity.
“Now, Naaman couldn’t have carried on as a commander with this issue out in the open; he had to hide it as long as he possibly could. We do the same. We wear long sleeves, so to speak. We know how to compensate for that weakness we’ve had with us for such a long time. We can still cope and manage life pretty well. Perhaps “it’s no big deal,” so we just shrug our shoulders and pretend it doesn’t bother us. That much. But deep down we know that there is something not quite right, something that subtly robs our peace and joy, something that clings to us and keeps us bound. Something we just can’t kick.
“And like leprosy, it spreads. Left alone, our hidden heartsickness always spreads. We think we’re find (we look fine!), sailing along in our long sleeves, but then that one thing – that person, that comment, that one hormonal moment – yanks off our protective layer, and we realize the problem is still there. It had been there all along, underneath. We resolve to deal with it. How? Add a turtleneck. Maybe some gloves. Don’t get close to any situation where baring our skin or our souls is required. We become careful, cautious, learning to control our environment so our lack is less apparent.
“But this isn’t life. This isn’t freedom. And we know it. Somewhere deep down, we know: this isn’t the me I was created to be. This isn’t the life I was meant to live.” (Sacred Mundane, p. 12-13)
Can you relate to what Kari writes, here? She uses the story of Naaman as a powerful example of what God wants to do for all of us to make us clean and whole. Are you ready? Here it is: Like Naaman, God invites us to dip down into the muddy waters of daily life that are right before us.
Wait, what? That’s not what we wanted to hear, right!? We wanted some dramatic healing. Some man of God to put his hands on our shoulders and pray over this insecurity or fear or anger or bitterness or addiction so that – whoosh – it’s gone! We’re transformed!
That’s what Naaman wanted, too. He wanted Elijah to come and wave his hand over him to cure the leprosy (I Kings 5:11). But instead Elijah sent word that he was to dip into the muddy, smelly, daily waters of the Jordan.
“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. How we wish for a prophet to wave his hands over us and miractulously make us mature, make us well, make us new. How we wish we could just walk through the doors of church and have the “godly dust” sprinkle on us and make us whole. Can’t we just get a spiritual spray-tan?
“Truth: you are made new by dipping into the dirty, dusty dailiness of life. By letting your days transform your life. It is the mundane, overlooked, ordinary stuff lof life that changes us from the inside out. That heals us. That transforms us.” (Sacred Mundane, p. 15)
The Next Five Minutes
In my new book, Control Girl, I wrote about how the “small arrow” moments of the day transform us. It’s not just the big, life-changing moments of surrender, spaced out by decades which turn us from Control Girls into Jesus Girls; it’s our choice to surrender something to God in the next five minutes. And then it’s repeating that choice to surrender the same thing to God, 57 more times in the same evening. That’s what changes us. Kari expands this idea into a whole book!
Think of it. God wants to change us! To heal us! But like Naaman, we foolishly object to the way God wants to make us clean. This husband? These kids? This noisy, messy, sticky life? Really? This is what God plans to use to change me? Like Naaman, we’re ready to storm off.
But Kari Patterson taps us on the shoulder with Sacred Mundane, just like Naaman’s servant. She asks us to take another look at those muddy waters of daily life, and then causes them to actually seem inviting. She shows us that as we dip ourselves repeatedly into the things we wish we could change or escape or skip, these sacred, mundane things are the waters that God uses to make us clean and whole.
Kari Patterson is a great writer with a passionate message. I highly recommend this book, either for yourself or your small group (men and women). Also, don’t miss the nine week Bible study, included in the back.
For a chance to win a FREE copy of Sacred Mundane, leave a comment either on the blog or social media. Winner announced August 21. (UPDATE: I’m extending just a bit… Winner announced Wed., Aug. 23).
Kari Patterson reaches thousands of women worldwide through speaking events and her popular blog, Sacred Mundane. She’s a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, Bible teacher, mentor, and passionate seeker of truth.
Sacred Mundane was released in July, 2017 by Kregel Publications (my publisher!). All royalties from the sale of this book will benefit World Vision’s work with women and children in need.