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Is having routine spiritually healthy?
Lately I have rejoiced in the return to routine in my life. After months of much of my time not being my own, I now have days to write more.
Each morning is blessed with time with God – in His Word and listing in His presence.
I have time for that second cup of coffee and have even started once again some exercise by walking each morning.
There is a certain comfort to having known patterns in life, isn’t there?
I fly on automatic pilot in my morning shower, brushing teeth, and drying hair. I know without thinking which cereal to grab with my handful of blueberries on top. My to-do list is doable with some wiggle room to grab unexpected spontaneity.
I am snug in my comfort zone.
So I ponder routine.
1. Is routine good? It does reinforce good habits.
2. Is routine not so good? It also preserves bad habits.
3. Is routine something I should really desire? It brings comfort after times of trial and provides a time and place of rest.
4. Is routine where God wants me to live? I think this is the real question He is inviting me to consider.
Perhaps the best place to be is on the edge.
Reminded me of the memoir Calvin Miller wrote Life Is Mostly Edges. He writes:
“I do remember enough to know I like the middle of my stamp more than the edges. This is not unusual. We all like the middle. The middle is safe. You can’t fall off the middle. Only the edges are dangerous. The great lessons, the deep tragedies, the storms of unbearable heart-quakes always happen along the edges. We don’t cry much in the middle but then we don’t laugh much there either – at least not with any belly-deep laughter…Brinkmanship is the name of the game.”
One of favorite quotes:
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
You must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
You will be taught how to fly
Routine does provide a place of refuge to rest and recover, but I think I will cherish it less and hold it more lightly. I hide in routine – a dark place where not much growth occurs. I bury myself in the safety of my comfort zone instead of running in faith to the Comforter.
Life happens on the brightly lit edges and perhaps that is the healthiest place to live.
What do you think?
I feel very much out of my routine (because of extensive traveling). Yesterday I opened the devotional I’m reading, Dear Jesus by Sarah Young, feeling guilty after two or three days of neglect.
But wouldn’t you know, God wrapped me in His loving arms. Here’s a little of what I read: “If you think it is your spiritual disciplines that keep you close to Me, you are at risk. Some days you may skimp on your time with Me or not be able to concentrate well….My Love for you is always assured. So you can rest in Me, trusting in My unfailing Love, flourishing in My abiding Presence.”
The key is to rely on God, not on our own efforts.
Thanks, Jeanie, for sharing your own experiences through this blog.
Jean Wise says
What interesting comments here to this post. As I wrote above, I almost didn’t write this, so find it so cool that others ponder how to keep a healthy balance. Great thoughts. thanks for visiting.
Duane Scott says
Routine isn’t good for me.
But does it stretch me to become all the Lord wants me to be? Do I really need my coffee to meet with the Lord?
What if I’m busy busy busy and I’m out on the loud mower? Can Jesus talk through that noise?
Lately I’ve learned He can.
It’s refreshing to know I still have God when everything else spins out of control.
Janis@Open My Ears Lord says
I’m just the opposite of routine–too spontaneous. I have always struggled with establishing routines because I become captive to them and they become boring.
I’m a live on the edge kind of person who needs to allow the Lord to put more routine in my life, but not to the point of it dominating me.
Great thoughtful post, Jean. Thank you for visiting.
This is something I had never considered. To sum up, I can see that routine has a place but should not rule my life. (Actually my bigger problem is a tendency to drift, enjoying neither a routine nor “brinkmanship.”)
Thank you for a very thought-provoking post!
Routine makes me feel safe, too, but I think God throws me enough curve balls so that I don’t get too comfortable, so that I keep trusting in Him instead of the order.
Very good questions!
Jean Wise says
From all the interesting comments I think I am not the only one living with the tension between the middle and the edges. God does stretch us but also gives us time to rest. Thank heaven for a loving gentle God who coaxes us out and tenderly leads us when the time is right. Great comments. Interesting as I almost didn’t write this one yet this has brought such thoughtful responses. Thanks all!
Oooh – these are excellent questions. LIke Miller says, we all like the middle. Routine is comforting, especially if you are recovering from something. But having an awareness of the dangers of routine is important, too. Being willing to push ourselves a bit and get out of that comfort zone in order to grow. These are good thoughts. Thanks for sharing!
Phather Phil Malmstrom says
What a wonderful, insightful and challenging post to begin the week with Jean. 🙂
Faith isn’t easy. God’s most fundamental truths and powerful miracles don’t exist in a state of comfort, but instead in the “rough edges” of our lives. God stretches and grows our faith through those extensions of our safety zone, and it allows us to grow closer to Him in the process.
Structure isn’t a bad thing, it’s just important that we allow God to direct us outside our usual boundaries when He’s ready for us to do so.
Great post Jean!
P.S. I’ve always been VERY routine driven as well, so some of my biggest leaps of faith have been along this line. 🙂
I love my mornings I get up put my coffee on turn the computer on and sit in my office ready to start my day. And the beauty of it is God always tell me what to blog about, and if He says no blog that day then there is no blog.
Having the freedom to have and do what you love is truly a blessing from God.
There are times I treasure my routine… but then, it’s like light shines in and I realize I’m ready to step out. I guess I’m an in and out kind of girl. When I stay in too long God seems to push and I’m out before I think and it’s sink or swim. Love the Calvin quote. Heart-quakes describe it well.
Jean Wise says
Nancy – good insight having a love/hate relationship with routine. I am the same way and you named it so right.
Glad you visited Kristin. It is a balance and a rhythm to this too, isn’t there?
Roberta your comment is thought provoking. Being full mindful of the present moment and where you are at the time will help us discern if this is a time of rest or time to venture closer to the edge.
Shanda, blessings on you as your discern your path. I find when routine becomes boring and if I am in a fairly stable, rested time, I explore new ways to spend time with God. but if i am under stress and chaos, it is time to cling what is tried and true in helping me draw closer to God.
all good thought. thanks!
I got butterflies in my stomach when I read your words…because I know this is a season where God is requiring me to live on the edge. Thank you for your encouragement to have faith and believe that “there will be something solid to stand on or (I) will be taught how to fly.”
‘Routine Spirituality’ That is a term to ponder. I am not good about routine…infact I am all over the place. So I need to practice routine in my time with God. Yet, there are so many ‘spiritual’ things that I do as part of my routine that have become less meaningful. I need to think on this one.
I find that the quotidian tasks of our lives are endowed with sacredness – it’s in being fully present to each of them that they allow us to see the holy in what we thought was only mundane.
Kristin Bridgman says
I wrote a post awhile back about getting out of my comfort zone.
I like routine too, but it is dangerous to be too comfortable. I know from experience, for me, that when I have stepped out of my comfort zone, away from the routine, I have grown the strongest, move closer to my Lord, and the blessings rain down.
After a big run in “outside of comfort zone”, I treasure coming back to routine. I just don’t want to stay there. The routine gets my motor running strong again, recharges me, and then I’m ready to go again.
So glad I found your site, I will be back:)
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with routine. I love it because I’m the tiniest little bit Type A, and routine helps me get things done. I hate it because routine so often keeps me from acknowledging my need for Jesus. Great quotes–you always come up with the best ones!