When you think of epic, does your mind immediately wander to famous personalities, international vacations, and extreme sports? Do you ever consider your own life as epic?
One of the biggest lies I fight against is in order for my story and life to be of value, it must be epic.
Take our recent “honeymoon friday.” With both boys in school Friday mornings, we’ve found ourselves alone. At last. Thank God almighty. Really, it’s a grand excuse to pretend we are honeymooners for a few short hours; alone to explore and eat and do whatever we want. After breakfast, at a tiny table surrounded by coffee shop regulars, we walked the harbor, dreaming about our upcoming anniversary. Year 11 is approaching and I had grand plans. Epic to be exact. Spain. Maybe France. Perhaps we can hike the Himalayas and end with supper at the Alps. Because last year was the big 1-0 and that’s a giant milestone, and it sort of passed us by so this, this year. Well, we are going all out. Or so I had hoped.
Bryan, bless his heart, matches my dreams with gentle truth. Bek, I don’t see how we can do weeks in Spain. We haven’t budgeted for it. I could feel the anxious butterflies swarm and my shoulders slump. Cue adult temper tantrum. But it’s our 11th anniversary, and some of our friends bought islands for their anniversaries, and went to tropical places, and toured Europe for weeks on end. (No, they didn’t) As we talked, it hit me. I equated an epic trip to define the value of our anniversary celebration. Sheer panic struck as I shared my expectations and listened to his. They were quite different. But our anniversary is supposed to be a big to-do. It’s about being big kids who take big vacations. When he took my hand, relief flooded. Painful, true relief. It doesn’t matter where we go, it’s how we spend our time. He meant in the most un-cheesy way and he was right. Our reality doesn’t make it feasible to take off for an African safari for the month of June. In this season with younger kids, budgeted resources, and time restraints, at the end of the day, as much as the idea of going bankrupt for the sake of having an “epic anniversary vacation” tempts, now is not wise or realistic.
Practical and within our continent will still be an epic anniversary.
The other night, I opened our doors for a prayer night, unsure of who was coming. Having emerged from a season where disconnectedness and loneliness loomed, I sensed God drawing me to start an evening for women to come and be seen, to feel encouraged, and to experience a deep sense of belonging. Hours before it was to start, fear hit. What will I say? How should the night go? Lord, when we pray, would you move so mightily that lightning bursts through the ceiling? Because, ya know, in order for it to be an epic evening, big things must come out of it. And I saw it again: my disillusionment that if things aren’t epic big, they aren’t important. In that moment, I was able to recognize my hopes and put them, along with I wanted, aside, and instead ask for Him to just show up. However He wanted. Big or small.
And He did.
I think of a bedtime conversation with Tanner when I’d asked him, What’s your favorite thing we do as a family, bud?
What I thought he’d say? Epic moments. When we go to the zoo, or that one time we went to Disneyland. Or Legoland. And I was blown away by his response. He didn’t bat an eye before the words came. I like it when we play and have dinner together as a family.
At the root of believing epic-ness equals value is the core fear that my story is not epic and therefore lacks purpose. And if I layer it with grand vacations and life-changing prayer nights and incredible parenting moments, it will distract from the reality that my story is ever-so simple.
Do you ever feel this way? That your story needs to be huge and spotlighty and world-changing in order to matter? That somehow God can’t use you just as you are, where you are?
Epicness, I’m finding, is an unobtainable expectation, a thing I’ve built up in my head that suffocates simple joy. When I put down contentment and pick up the lie that wow moments hold the most value, I resent reality. Reality, however, brings freedom when I recognize epic is our everyday.
Epic, in my book, is having real conversations with my husband- the kind where we can talk back and forth and compromise. Epic, is sitting with new and old friends and honestly sharing our fears and praying His truth into those areas. Epic is real life. Wherever we are.
It’s making our rented cottage an inviting home, it’s wearing my husband’s high school wrestling sweatshirt, and having Taco Tuesday tradition. Epic is in going to Palm Springs for a long weekend, and watching our boys learn how to skateboard, and fall, and get back up.
Epic is when we play and have dinner together as a family. When we celebrate anniversaries we can afford. When we take advantage of beach runs, five minutes from our doorstep.
Epic is a mindset of making the most of what we have.
Epic is celebrating my story. And epic is celebrating your story.
Value doesn’t depend on the level of grandiose or cost, but in how content we are with our everyday life.
And this everyday, is quite epic indeed.