Routines makes life a lot easier, and I have a theory as to why.
Have you ever watched a baby trying to eat from a spoon for the first time? It’s so adorable!
You put the pureed food on a little spoon, and you slowly start toward the baby’s mouth.
“Open up!” you say in a bit of a baby-talk voice.
And for added emphasis, pop! Your own mouth opens as if to help the baby. (I mean seriously, I can’t even feed a baby without pop! my own mouth opening! I’ve tried!)
When it’s the baby’s turn to try? It’s hard enough for her to load the food on the spoon. Most of it falls off before it ever reaches her mouth! But she isn’t bothered by that. She just keeps trying. She gets a little bit in and, yum, she’s ready to try again. As long as the food is delectable, she’ll keep trying and trying.
Sometimes it lands on her cheek. Sometimes over her left eyebrow or in her hair. Sometimes it lands all over you!
But meal after meal, day after day, week after month after year, there comes a point where she never stops to consider how to hold a spoon and maneuver food into her mouth.
It has become automated.
It is a routine.
And when something is a routine, it requires no energy. We don’t stress out about it any more. We don’t even think about it! We just do it!
If we want to grow up and stop being spiritual babies, there are a few routines we need to incorporate in our lives. Keep in mind that the first days and months will feel like this is hard! But as we keep at it, routines become habits that require no energy or stress.
“Solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
Here are just some of the routines I recommend:
Daily Bible Reading
In Psalm 1:2, we read that we are to meditate on the Torah of YHVH day and night. To meditate is to chew on, all the time.
We are so blessed in our time to have access to Bibles of many translations and styles, in printed form and even on any device we choose. We can read or listen to audio Bibles. We can join groups on social media to hold each other accountable and to discuss what we learn.
But it still takes forming a habit to actually find the time to read our Bibles every day. My friend Christine Miller and I are journaling our way through the Bible this year, and if it helps you, I welcome you to join us!
Daily Prayer Time
We are familiar with the Scripture that promises unsurpassed peace if we will just stop worrying and start praying.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua” (Philippians 4:6-7).
For myself, it seems a lot wiser to be proactive and plan times of prayer into my day — or frankly, I’ll get preoccupied with other things, forgetting that those very preoccupations are the things that get me all worried in the first place.
And I have been learning that intercession (praying on behalf of others) is extremely fulfilling and faith building. It is a way I can minister powerfully to others.
I keep a prayer list on a note-taking app on my phone, and I also have specific prayers I pray daily. Here is a video explaining how to start this routine, and here is a link to helpful resources.
Listening to the Voice of God
Scripture is very clear that not only does the Father want to hear our prayers, but He also wants to give us guidance by speaking to us.
“For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword” (Job 33:14-18).
Just as Samuel was instructed to say, “Speak, YHVH, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:8-10), we are to pay attention to the various ways the Father opens our ears and instructs us. He wants to teach us, to warn us, to convict us of sin, and to save us from danger.
“Then [Yeshua] said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him'” (Mark 4:24-25).
An excellent book to help you learn more about learning to listen is Seeing the Voice of God, by Laura Harris Smith.
Writing Down What He Is Telling Me
Finally, as you read, pray, and listen, be sure to be a good steward of it by writing it down. After all, if you forget what He has told you, how can you take action on it?
I keep notes both on my phone (handy because it’s almost always with me) and on paper (which is great because the act of handwriting seems to help me remember better what I write down).
Both creative and analytical women will benefit from this discipline. Don’t compare yourself to me or anyone else. Do you prefer doodling, bullet journals, creative artwork, outlines and classic note-taking, voice memos? The important point is that you do it, not how!
So for all these routines, there is one key point I want to mention.
How does a baby learn to use a spoon? Repetition.
Three times a day — or more! Never missing a day!
Because you won’t have a rumbly tummy to remind you, I recommend setting alarms on your phone. Pick the times. Pick the place. Have all the supplies you need READY to go, and then set alarms.
I am sure I could list even more routines, but this is plenty for today. However, I’d love to hear about your routines in the comments below! How are they different? What other routines do you depend upon?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.