Routine isn't a word that evokes great passion and excitement from most people. It sounds boring...ordinary.
But over the years, I've come to understand that routine can be something wonderful.
It helps me prioritize
I want to make important things part of my routine. Since things like scrapbooking and exercise aren't currently things that I put much value in (don't judge...I'm being honest), they obviously don't make it into the routine. Other things that ARE important to me, however, are the things I make part of my daily routine (things like tucking my kids in bed at night, spending some time with God in the mornings, doing homework with kids when they get off the bus after school, and grabbing a Polar Pop with pellet ice on my way to campus!)
It puts first things first
Some of my routines are imposed on me by outside influences. For instance, I don't get to choose when my kids get off the bus in the afternoons. The school decides that for me and I must be home when they get here, or they'll be standing out in the cold.
Some of the other priorities in my life are a little more in my own control...and that isn't always a good thing (as my 10 year master's program attests). Spending time reading and meditating on God's word and praying for others is a priority in my life. But it's easy for me to put it off in the day, thinking I'll do it later, when there's time, or if something more urgent comes up.
This is why routine is important. Committing to reading God's word first thing in my day puts first things first. It's not a magical or super-spiritual time of the day, but it's a time when I have fewer distractions and more opportunity to listen to God.
And then, something really freeing happens.....I start to see God more in my day. Maybe it's by helping me understand the scripture I read that morning in the way my kids play together, or in divine appointments that seem to "coincidentally" pop up. Having a routine of seeking God in the morning frees me up to spend the rest of the day experiencing Him. The reality is that if I try to do it the opposite way - thinking about God at the end of my day, I often neglect to even consider God until I'm ready to lay my head on my pillow.
I love the start of a new year....or a new semester....It often means a new journal for me....new bible studies with college students...and it usually means a new bible reading plan for my early morning times with God.
So what will help you put first things first and grow in your relationship with Jesus?
YouVersion has about 20 different bible reading plans that you can have sent to your inbox or phone. Some of them walk you through the entire Bible in a year, or as short as 90 days....other plans focus on just the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, or select passages based on a theme.
Discipleship Journal has a few different plans. One I've used a couple of times gives you an OT reading, a NT reading, and a Psalm every day.
DailyAudioBible.com is a resource my good friend Apryl has fallen in love with this year. Her beautiful routine involves curling up with a cup of tea and listening to the Word. Today she completed the entire Bible in one year!
So get a clean journal out.....find a plan to use.....and do something crazy. What's going to be part of your routine this year?