Romanticizing an Ordinary Life
Updated: Sep 19, 2022
The romanticizing trend has been making its way through social media for a couple of years now, and lately I have seen push back to the trending notion of romanticizing ones life, with the sentiment that it is problematic. As someone who has loved every moment of steering my heart towards a more intentional life, I would like to share with you a glimpse into how 'romanticizing' the day to day has nourished my life.
I can see why one would take issue with a trend that could seem to be focused around curating the perfect home, outfit, relationship, and existence, as everyone knows that no ones life is always "picture perfect". However, isn't this the general issue with social media to begin with? We shuffle through the highlight reels of everyones best lighting, best moments, and best angles. Yes, pretending that everything is always candlelight and running through meadows on the perfect sunny day can lead to discontentment in hearts and unhealthy comparisons and expectations. However, I do not see the idea of romanticizing life in this way. I see it as focusing ones mind on what is lovely, praiseworthy, noble, true, pure, and admirable. I see it as breaking free from what the world has taught us to focus on and be caught up in, and rather taking the time, when we are able, to be truly present in the moments of life. Indeed, every moment of every day is not going to feel like a scene out of a historic novel. We will not always have the time to go for a quaint bike ride down a windy wooded trail, or run through that meadow of sunflowers. Some days, we will have food splattered on our shirts, laundry strewn across the bed, and a freezer meal plopped in the oven for dinner. However, we all have the ability to romanticize our lives and see the beauty in them with more fullness. It doesn't matter whether you live in a writers cabin in the woods, a wide open prairie homestead, an RV at a campsite, or a studio apartment in the middle of the city, you can romanticize an 'ordinary life'.
You see, romanticizing life is not about a perfectly curated existence, but rather, it is about a mindset. When you choose to see the little things all around you, and take on the wonderment of the eyes of a child, ordinary life becomes much less ordinary. The scripture says, 'For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.' - Romans 1:20
The divine nature and eternal power of the Creator is expressed within His creation. We were designed to be in awe and wonder of the world around us. The way the mountains came to be, the stars strung in the sky, the way light dances off the waters, how fire suddenly comes into being and keeps you warm on the coldest day, how food grows from vines and bushes just to keep you strong, how the right sunset can move you deep down in your soul, how the strings of a fiddle or holes of a flute can bring tears to your eyes, and how birds sing in such harmonious chorus each and every morning.
No, this is not burying ones head in the sand. We all know the world is in a state right now. The beauty of this move back to intentionality and wonder is that despite the outer circumstances, you can create a little haven of peace right there in that moment and exist in it. You can set your mind on what's lovely, when it's tempted to dwell on all that is ugly out there.
The problem is that with all the entertainment and technology that we've been inundated with in the past few decades, we've all but stopped living in the awe and wonder that we were designed to live in; we've stopped looking up. So, really that's what this all means to me. It is a move back to a place of wonder. To stop and notice the way the steam comes off your morning cup of tea and simply stop to breath deep and say thank you. It's lighting the candle instead of turning on all the lights and screens, and sitting in the stillness of the morning. It is choosing to read a chapter of an edifying old book instead of watching another show on tv. Sure, sometimes it's even pulling over to run through that meadow of wildflowers, because, why not? Lord, help us to regain and never lose our wonder at all that you have made.
So you see, it's not about what you have or even the season of life that you are in, it's about your mindset. It takes less than a minute to smell the herbs before placing them in the soup, to breathe the morning air and say thank you, to touch your husbands hand like you're feeling it for the first time, to be in awe at the intricacies of life, and to look at your child like the miracle they are. It's about seeing splendor in the 'ordinary' and experiencing the wonder in the 'mundane'.
Tips for 'romanticizing an ordinary life':
Notice the little things and really take them in.
Get dressed in the morning if you are physically able *this might just be a me thing, but dressing in a feminine way helps me to be more productive*
Play instrumental music or soothing hymns in the background while doing your ordinary daily work
Take time to read something edifying even if just for a few minutes.
Invest in a little candlelight *even if you are at a season of life where you can only have flameless candles - do it*
Grow a few flowers in your garden or even in simple pots by the window or on a balcony
Let the rain hit your skin, the sun graze your face, the breeze steal your attention, and the snowflakes land on your nose.
Embrace the best parts of every season and notice those things as often as possible.
Shop second hand to bring intentional special pieces into your home.
Cook homemade meals whenever you can and really enjoy all the smells and sounds of cooking instead of rushing through it.
Say thank you often to the One who created it all.
When you see something beautiful, smile.
Aim for your living space to be intentional. Bring in purposeful, meaningful, or special things without allowing for too much clutter. Studies done on how clutter affects a persons mind and body, shows that clutter leads to increased stress and higher cortisol levels, thus triggering anxiety, depressive feelings, and even physical pains and tiredness. Less clutter = less to clean = more time to enjoy the space.
Really enjoy every sip of that cup of tea or coffee (and sometimes dig out that special teacup).
Spend more time outside in nature and stop to notice what a miracle it all is.
Write an old fashioned letter and send it to a friend.
Aim to be in the moments as much as possible, for tomorrow has troubles of its own.
Embrace childlike wonder *I mean, fire is really cool, right?*
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.'