The Good And Bad Of Routine

Routine . . . When it works it works. And when it doesn’t, things get interesting.

I missed two blog posts in the last week, something I just don’t do. Why? Because my routine was majorly thrown off. I was out of town for a few days with no Internet access. I don’t have my computer (off for repairs at Apple). And my kids are out of school (I work from home).

Before I knew it, my routine was thrown off. And the effect was some gimpy behavior at work and at home.

It got me thinking about routine as it pertains to this arena of spiritual formation we play in, both in leading others in spiritual formation and in our own personal growth.

When does routine work for us?

  • When it keeps us faithful in regularly encountering God through His Word
  • When it helps us engage with God in prayer
  • When it serves us in preparing to lead others in Bible Study
  • When it enables us to be “present” mentally and spiritually with our families
  • When it keep us disciplined in exercising our bodies
  • When it encourages us to spend time pouring-in to our children’s spiritual development
  • When it equips us in staying close to our spouse

When does routine fail us?

  • When it robs us of our sense of adventure
  • When it channels us into the deep rut of redundancy in our Bible teaching
  • When it creates in us legalistic tendencies in our prayer or Bible study
  • When it positions family time as ritual not delight
  • When it serves as an excuse not to maintain physical health
  • When it makes the spiritual instruction of our children habit not privilege
  • When it puts a wall of complacency between you and your spouse

For me it boils down to this: do you serve your routine, or does it serve you? Correctly leveraged, routine can propel us to a greater level of discipline and intentionality in all areas of our life. But without intentionality, we can quickly become a slave to the daily grind, lulled to sleep by the familiar pattern of a routine un-bridled.

I don’t know about you, but my life is too precious to go through the motions of a dull routine.

I’m striving to let routine provide just the right amount of structure, but not the rigidity that can rob us of purpose and excitement. Let’s strive to be people who are disciplined, but who maximize their time each day, wringing the most out of the opportunities we’ve been blessed with. And let’s lead those around us to do the same.

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