In Praise of Routines

As I sit here in the waning days of July, I think back to the promise of summer that was shimmering brightly in May. Several months ago, which now seems a lifetime, I was smothering under the weight of the never ending “To Do” list with all the excitement that comes with graduation, end of the year, birthdays, and Mother’s Day. There was a lot to celebrate and many details to check off in order that the celebrations would be sufficiently memorable.  I kept holding tightly to the promise of June with the idea of lazy days spent reading and walking the dog, leisurely enjoying the company of friends and family. Did you reach the end of May feeling as though you were lucky to have survived all the fun as well?

Summer is a time when we savor the longer days and the absence of an agenda.  Days seem to unfold on their own without much need for micromanagement.  The heat, the sudden rain showers, the fresh tomatoes all call to us to slow down and enjoy the present moment.  We can stay up later knowing that we do not have to wake up early for a meeting or to rush everyone out the door. Indulging in the treats of summer is also simple because the heat seemingly puts glitter around the edges of an ice cream cone or a cold glass of Prosecco making them even more appealing than they would be if the temperature were hovering in the seventies. 

While I love summer and there are great things that happen when there is no real schedule, I miss my routine.  Why does it seem nearly impossible to hold onto structure when June or July are on the top of the page in my planner? It might be that we need to experience a vacation from our daily routine in order to appreciate the value that it brings to our lives. Without structure, I do not get to do all that I want in the summer because I become too lethargic. Sadly, I did not have a plan in place to ensure that I read more or connected with my friends; and I have not done either as much as I had hoped.

When I am in my routine, I find it easier to do the things that I need to do to stay healthy and remain connected to God. These two things allow me to hold fast to the peace that only God can give. This peace, accompanied with His grace, strengthen me to face the day with more joy and more gratitude. 

Routine for me is changing as it may be for you as well. With the details of my life as an “empty nester” coming more clearly into focus, I know that I need to begin planning now to create the routine for the fall that will allow God to fill me so that I can do all He is asking of me each day. Now is a perfect time to start pondering and even creating a personal schedule, a daily routine, so that I do not fall into the trap of following the next thing that glitters in the corner of my eye. 

Are you ready for a routine to return to your life? What about your old routine do you like and what would you like to change? How could a new routine help you make more room for God in your day?