What factors decide what your daily routine looks like?
For most people, there are two major factors that decide the routine of each day – careers and family. In our home, it is certainly the daily schedule of our 21-month old baby boy, who we have regimented on his sleep and eating schedule down to clockwork. I (Aaron) serve at a local church, and so my daily work schedule fluctuates with the ebbs and flows of ministry duties, but the baby’s schedule never changes, day in, day out. Happy baby, happy home – and well fed and rested babies makes for happy ones!
I’m sure that your routine is similarly dictated by factors that are largely beyond your control. Schools begin and end at specific times, as do shifts at work, children’s sports practices, even church worship and group meeting times. Unless we have absolutely no commitments and obligations to anyone else in the world, other people and other schedules dictate our time much more than we do.
That’s where busyness comes from – not having enough control over our schedule.
And when so many other factors compete for – and dominate – your schedule, it isn’t long before we’re completely overwhelmed, and our spiritual life. The routines the world dictates to us rarely being rest and comfort. Let’s face it, it’s often very stressful to try to meet every deadline, right?
Serving at a church is always an interesting focus group for spiritual problems, and one that I encounter almost every Sunday is running into a family who hasn’t been to church in a while. After initial greetings, they’ll often say something to the effect, “Yeah, we haven’t been here in a while – just been so busy!” Of course, they’re usually just trying to explain their absentee nature…but the more concerning question in my mind is, “If you’re so busy that you can’t come to church, which you enjoy doing…then how much less time do you devote to your own personal spiritual life?”
The problem of busyness doesn’t stem from its effect on church attendance. No, it points to a much less obvious to see, but frighteningly evident issue – Christian people are not making space in their lives for thoughts, conversation, reading, prayer and all the other spiritual disciplines that should constitute the private life of a follower of Jesus.
If we don’t have space in our routine for God, then we are living rudderless, aimless lives.
If Jesus is our Lord, then that makes Him the master of our lives. How is He the master if we don’t have time for Him, and He isn’t dictating our routine?
In his final conversation and prayer with the disciples, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come to them, and the Spirit will “teach you all things” (John 14:26). Jesus described this profound assurance of the Spirit to help His followers move from being controlled by the rhythms of the world, and instead find a rooted life based on the Spirit.
That’s what Jesus teaches us in John 14:27:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus’ desire is to give us peace and rest. He directly contrasts what He gives, peace, with the troubles and fear imparted on us by the routines of the world.
Now, God isn’t calling us all to a monastic life, removed from everyone else so that we have nothing but time to devote to our spiritual lives. Rather, the challenge is to move from seeing a Spirit-led life as a “component of life” to the “fulfillment of life”.
Creating space in our routines for focusing on God is a practice that enables us to begin seeing God everywhere, in all places.
Specific time for God lends itself to developing new patterns of thinking, speaking, and prayer that benefits every moment of life. This is the heart of discipleship and requires intentionality in our routine.
Jesus is offering us His peace and a different way to see the stressors and routines in life – but will we accept His invitation? In the next installment of this series, we’ll examine some ways that we can break the cycles of busyness and make intentional inroads into our routine, shifting them closer to God’s movement in our lives.
But for now here’s some great resources to help you connect with God through your busy schedule.
We hope that you find some time to connect with God through these great ideas, thanks for reading!