Experiencing the Presence of God in the Mundane

 
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Here’s something you may not know about me: on the weekends, I’m a wedding photographer who runs a business with my videographer boyfriend Tim. We launched our company last year with a vision to help couples remember their commitment and vows to one another. However, even fewer people know that on the weekdays, I’m also an after-school director. My job consists of giving rides to kids from school, talking with parents about their children, disciplining and correcting youth, and making sure the program teachers are supported and doing their job.

As time went by, I just really didn’t like my day job. It seemed as the work got busier, God’s voice grew quieter. His voice got drowned out by the busyness of my life. I grumbled daily, working without joy and passion. I felt stuck on autopilot--blindly and aimlessly working towards nothing. The work felt meaningless and seemed to make no impact (especially kingdom impact). Oftentimes I said to myself, “Maybe this isn’t what God called me to do.” Worst of all, I wasn’t feeling the power of the Holy Spirit while working. Eventually, one day, I decided within myself to quit. I wanted to just focus on the more exciting work of a photographer.

However, as soon as I made that decision, I paused. Something in me clicked. I sensed within myself that I was trying to run away from the mundane tasks in front of me. I felt God telling me to not give up, to be faithful, and to recognize His presence in the midst of my work. I remembered that God’s call for my life wasn’t about a career or a job description. God called me to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind. I couldn’t imagine being a “child-chauffeur” for the rest of my life, but I found so much purpose in knowing that I was going to be a daughter of God for the rest of my life.

In that moment, it didn’t matter what I did. I realized God could show up anywhere, anytime. Whether I was helping to grade papers, washing dishes, or driving loud, smelly kids (which I do all on a daily basis), I could find joy and purpose in knowing God was with me and His call for my life was bigger than a title or responsibility.

By God’s grace, I find myself being able to show more grace towards the kids. I am able to connect better with the parents, and I am able to love the kids with a love deep within me. When I drive back and forth picking up students, I no longer grumble in slow traffic and long stoplights.  Now, I find purpose in knowing that today, God has called me to love these kids specifically. I talk to them and ask them how their day is going. Through encounters like these, I am able to experience God more and more.

On the outside, my life may seem bleak and dreary. It may not be my flashiest season. Yet, God‘s presence in my life is the most miraculous thing I’ve witnessed in a long time. It is by God’s grace that I can wash dishes with joy. It is by God’s grace that I can worship while stuck in elementary school traffic. It is by God’s grace that I can experience His presence even in my ordinary life. It’s so cheesy, but He’s taking my very ordinary life and doing something extraordinary within me.

It’s easy to feel God when you’re in a room full of people who love God, with an amazing worship leader, an amazing speaker, and amazing worship songs that are glorifying Him. However, it takes a seed of faith to recognize Him in a secular, busy environment. I’m not perfect, and never will be. I won’t be a master at being aware of God’s presence, but I will fight for it. My flesh will fail so many times, but I pray God will always bring me back to acknowledging Him first.

Thank You God that You are real, thank You Lord that You are sovereign, and thank You God for Your presence.

 

Nicole Byon (@nicolebyon) is an after school director, wedding photographer at Kapsule, and a staff member at God’s Image. She received a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from Cal State University, Fullerton. Nicole is currently living in Fullerton, CA.

 
 
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