Useful routines…


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Habits and routines get a bad rap – “O you’re JUST doing that as a routine…” but in reality routines are healthy and useful!  People who brush and floss their teeth out of habit (who even feel uncomfortable going to bed without doing it) will tend to have healthy teeth.  Their teeth will be much healthier than people who haven’t formed this habit.  People who work out habitually, who NEED to run five miles every day or work out at the gym will be physically healthier than people who haven’t developed that habit.  Many people work out in spurts, overdo it, and never turn it into a habit don’t reap the benefits of it…  But the habitual exercisers who just do it the way they brush their teeth every day – they’re the ones who reap the benefits of their gym membership.  In the same way people who have a habit of prayer – instead of those who just do it in spurts – become more grounded emotionally, and grow spiritually, more consistently than people who just pray “when they remember.”

But isn’t praying just as a routine a bad thing? Not if you’re really praying.  Working out every day, as part of your routine WILL make you healthier – provided you’re not just going to the gym and sitting around…  As along as you’re really working your muscles you will be fine.  And prayer, even as a routine, if you’re really praying: repenting, asking, confessing, connecting… Will get you closer to God.

Boring personal anecdote: Back in the late 90’s when Grace and I were friends – before we were dating or thought to date – we had a Wednesday routine of meeting for dinner along with another friend who lived in the neighborhood.  I think once or twice there were other people who dropped in too, but for us it was part of our weekly routine…  But it wasn’t rote.  Through the routine we got to know each other better and become friends.  I don’t know if we would have had the chance to become friends if it weren’t for our weekly routine over the coarse of half a year…

Having God-routines help us to know God better. And if you think about it – I don’t know why routines get a bad rap…  The things we make into routines tend to be the good things, the important things…  We make them into habits because we want to be consistent with them, and we know we need them…  And it’s our routines that wind up shaping us in the long run: do you routinely get drunk?  That will shape you over the long run?  Do you routinely job and exercise?  That will shape you…literally.  Do you routinely overeat?  Do you routinely starve yourself?  (both are not so good for your body).  And in the same way, do you routinely pray?  Do you routinely make time for other fellowship with other flawed believers?  Do you routinely study the Bible?  These kinds of routines, along with the mundane ones – like brushing your teeth – shape you in the long run…

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