They don’t just happen.
You don’t wake up and voila! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the skies are crystal clear and every moment is spectacular. It takes work — it takes real, honest, gritty, tiresome, frustrating, hard and disciplined effort to make moments meaningful.
There are extra special moments that happen, for sure, like the weddings, the babies, the vacations, the holidays, the family reunions and all the other extras. And their certainly are the yikes! moments. But for the most part, life is ordinary. It’s made up of humdrum, steady Betty, mundane and monotonous moments
Try this for a second. Reflect on your favourite memories.
Your sister’s wedding.
Seeing your newborn child for the first time.
Celebrating your 18th birthday.
Getting your driver’s license.
Petting a giraffe.
Now reflect on a few moments you’d just as soon forget.
Getting the chicken pox.
Causing that car accident.
The pain of that broken arm.
Your first epic heartbreak.
And that disappointed look on your boss’s face when you messed up big time.
Now what about the moments that are just as special but are considered ordinary?
Coffee in the morning.
Cutting the grass.
The special events have meaning because they’re moments that happen few and far between. They’re not the norm of everyday life, so naturally they have special written all over them.
The “I’d rather forget” moments have memory because they were also out of the ordinary. They may have been hard, painful and disappointing, but they taught you something none-the-less and forced you to learn some kind of valuable lesson. Thus creating meaning.
But what about the ordinary moments?
Do the ordinary moments have to be less meaningful just because they’re ordinary?
In their book, The Power of Moments, Chip & Dan Heath teach us how people’s most positive moments share certain traits in common:
- Elevation — being lifted out of the ordinary
- Insight — shaping the way we see the world
- Connection — deepening our ties with others
Your sister’s wedding, for example, features all three:
- Elevation — the delicious meal, the dancing, the fancy clothes
- Insight — the toasts, the stories, the special speeches
- Connection — the pictures, the gathering of family and the celebrating of such a momentous occasion for your sister
Or that epic car crash, which also features all three:
- Elevation — the adrenaline rush, the racing heart beat, the heightened stress of thoughts and prayers and every other emotion in between
- Insight — the realization of how lucky you are to be alive as you remind yourself you will never take another day for granted again
- Connection — as you share the story with other people you share conversation and connection about the true meaning of life
So if we understand that extra special moments and unforgettable moments are made up of three key features … why can’t we intentionally think about and apply these same features to our simple, everyday, seemingly insignificant and otherwise ordinary moments?
First thing in the morning.
Quiet time with God.
- Elevation — your heart finds peace. Your mind finds ease. And your soul finds renewed purpose.
- Insight — you realize that today, this day, this moment, the here and now, is a beautiful and important moment
- Connection — you know you’re loved. You know you’re known. You know this moment matters.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” —Romans 12:1 (MSG)
So don’t wait for meaningful moments to happen, create them. These exceptional minutes and hours and days we are living are what make like meaningful.