I’ve spent almost the last hour looking for a quote. It’s a really good quote, but I can’t find it. So I’m going to paraphrase it…”The best thing for a dull mind is to break up the routine.” Now that’s not original, The original was much more eloquent. Unfortunately, I can’t remember who said it, either. I’m guessing A.W. Tozer or C.S. Lewis. Oh well please pretend it’s eloquent and properly cited. (If anyone can find the real quote, I’d be much abliged to you if you were to pass the info on to me.)

Everyone…yes, EVERYONE, has a routine that provides structure to their lives. For some, the routine is easily recognizable and looks (from the outside) very constricting. For others, it may appear that there’s nothing but haphazardness about someone’s life…but upon close inspection, one will find a routine, even if it’s only the routine of sleeping and waking with an obvious eschewing of any routine in between. Even the eschewing of routine is a form of routine that provides structure to the person’s life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about routine lately because Phil has a new job and it’s messing with our routines. It’s a part time job — 20 hours a week — but different hours every week and at least so far it’s been constantly changing. We’re told that it will repeat, but in the 2 months he’s been there that’s not proven to be the case. This new non-routine has caused many of the things that have defined who we are as a couple no longer exist. I’m sure that sounds overstated, but it’s certainly how it feels. (I guess this is where I lecture myself on truth vs. perceptions — perception is NOT reality — truth is reality…but that’s a topic for another blog.) You see, as a couple, we had routines related to when we woke up, when we ate, when we worked, when we played and when we “talked about our day.” Now that’s all jumbled up.

Phil’s new job isn’t the only thing prompting these wonderings about routine. When my dad died, I felt as if all of my internal structures has been shattered. It both made sense and it made no sense. It made no sense because I hadn’t actually depended on Dad for anything over the past 20 years or more (except perhaps the occasional advice…which I usually didn’t follow anyway). Yet it made sense because something that had been truth for 51 years, suddenly, on the first day of my 52nd year of life was no longer true. My dad had existed, had been alive…now he isn’t. And truth isn’t supposed to change. And the internal structure that had existed because of that fact had been shattered. Weird.

So I’m meditating a bit on the subject of “routine.” Routine provides structure for our lives. Yet occasionally it must be jumbled up a bit to bring us out of the slumber it nurtures. A.W. Tozer recognized this when he wrote “Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth” (The Pursuit of God: p. 17).

Undoubtedly, God is a God of routine and structure. He created a world with day and night, high tide and low tide, summer and winter. Yet He recognizes our sinful tendency to not appreciate that which we have and to become self-absorbed when we’re not absorbed with something greater than ourselves. So He built into our lives seasons that jumble up the routines — seasons of mourning and seaons of joy, seasons of success and seasons of failure.

We like to pretend that we should always be at the top of our game, or at least nearing the top with the top just another step or two ahead of us. But that’s not consistent with Scripture — either the teaching or the experience documented in Scripture. “To everything there is a season” Ecclesiastes tells us. Part of “everything” is joy AND sadness, success AND failure.
Enough rambling! Suffice it to say that God has been jumbling my routines. From what I read in other blogs and from what I hear talking to others, I’m not alone. Here’s to God doing NEW things in our lives — yours and mine. May we all be open to them.

Comment by dansdesk
Good thoughts! I’m not saying this about you but I wonder how often God shakes up my routine because it’s a “bad” routine!
Thursday July 19, 2007 – 04:16pm (EDT)

Response by Sandyhov
I’m absolutely positive (for me, not you) that it’s sometimes shaken because it’s a “bad” routine. This current shaking is a prime example. There were many reasons for Phil taking the part-time job at the hospital, but part of it was that we just came to a point where after almost 20 years in business it was a bit unhealthy for Phil & I to be working together at Data Designs as we were. We needed more outside interaction. He needed to be around people more. Yes, God’s shaking is scary but good.
Monday July 30, 2007 – 09:21pm (EDT)

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