The Thrill of Routine

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thrill of routine buttonIf you know me at all, you know that I LOVE routine.  I get all giddy about making weekly schedules and to-do lists.  I thrive in knowing what’s on the agenda.  Ironically though, I also LOVE change.  I get a teensy bit bored of my routine after a while.  This probably stems from moving 13 times by the age of 18.  Or maybe it’s genetic.  I can’t tell you how many times during my childhood my mom inspired me at 8 o’clock at night to rearrange the furniture.  Mix things up a bit!  Regardless of the psychology behind it, I know this about myself: I’m at my best when I have a solid weekly routine and when I’m free to shake it up now and then.  Although, the best part about changing things is that I then get to sit down and hammer out a new routine!  Oooo!  Goosebumps.

You may not love predictability as much as I do, but I would suggest that it can be your best friend in establishing your biggest life priorities.

Here’s an interesting challenge.  If I asked you to write out your weekly schedule- what you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, seven days a week- what would it tell me about your priorities?  If I didn’t know you at all, and all I could see was a detailed schedule of your week, would it reveal what you’re hoping?  Could I presume your most important values based on how you’re spending your time?

Because sometimes I think we’re all talk.  We say we value our family, or our relationship with God, or our friends, or our health, or whatever.  But how much time do we spend investing in these things?  We get all caught up in what we assume are life’s most necessary activities, but we never stop to ask what daily, weekly, monthly activities will actually contribute to creating the life we’ve been called to live.  Maybe we’ve actually gotten as far as knowing what we need to do to prioritize- we know we need to have date nights with our spouse, or workout regularly, or have quiet time to pray and read our Bibles…but when?  When is it going to happen?  Because if our priorities don’t make it onto our schedules, then they’re not really our priorities.  They’re just good ideas.

If you haven’t already guessed, I went through this exercise recently.  I wrote out my top priorities.  I narrowed them down to eight.  Yes eight.  I think there should probably be less, but this is as whittled down as I could get it right now, so I’m running with it.  These are my 8 priorities, in order:

Jesus

Dwayne (husband)

Josiah & Abby (kiddos)

Friends/Extended family

Homeschooling

My church

My business

My health

So after I nailed these down, I re-worked my weekly schedule.  (Yay!)  I made sure these 8 priorities were getting my real attention.  Not that they just looked right on paper, but that I spent actual time investing in each of these things every week.  That I carved out blocks of time on my weekly schedule for these essential pieces, before I put in anything else.  So that every night when I go to bed, I’ll know that I invested my life in the things that matter most to me.  If other things fell by the wayside, but I maintained my commitment to these things, then I’ll rest easy.

I know that in the morning, when I wake up, I have a plan.  That might not sound super exciting.  But it’s a plan to spend this life- the only life I’ve got- pouring myself into the things God has called me to.  And that’s even more thrilling than a freshly printed schedule.

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