Routines: we all start getting into a rhythm of them as kids, right? I still remember my middle and high school ‘getting ready’ routine, which all began with my dad turning on the night light in my fish tank. I would hear the ‘click,’ and immediately open my eyes. That routine changed and shifted as I graduated, went to college, and now as a full-time mom and teacher. Life looks a lot different than it did when I was I was younger, but my new daily routines pretty much stay the same, day after day, month after month.
During the week, I have two alarms set on my phone. I press snooze on them both, staying in bed way too long. I go into our bathroom, our black cat follows, I close the door, and I do all my ‘getting ready’ steps. In my classroom, my students repeat the same norms and procedures every single morning. We stand behind our chairs, fix our posture and recite:
Be respectful. Ignore negative behavior. Follow directions the first time asked….
My toddlers too, have a pretty standard rhythm of life–breakfast, play time, snack, more playtime, lunch, nap… Their bedtime routines are the same; they always want their favorite blankets, Lion and baby doll. They know the schedule, and that’s what they thrive on. I know you have your own rhythms of life too. Maybe you’re a morning person, and you wake at the same time each day; drink your coffee and catch up on the news or get in the Word! Perhaps you prefer to get a workout in before your job begins. Or maybe you come home straight from work, change clothes and head to the gym? Whatever it is, however, your average day appears, does it ever get boring?
Lara Casey said, “When we work heartily for the Lord, the mundane becomes meaningful, and the bigger tasks are given greater energy and focus.” Lately, I have been struggling with sorting my thoughts and organizing them into creating purpose. I know God has gifted me with several attributes, but where does He want me to START? Lara also said, ““Do one thing at a time. Do it well. Or just get it done. Done is better than perfect, and doing one thing well is better than doing a thousand mediocre things.”
I tend to get wrapped up in my head (and heart). I feel things deeply: words, emotions, thoughts, comments, conversations. A few days ago I visited the gym, and as I was stretching, I caught my own eye in the full-length mirror. I was in a complete and utter haze. I didn’t know what I was thinking; I felt sad and blue and blah and then I thought, “Ashley, just pray.” I headed to the treadmill where I ran a very slow two miles, and began:
Jesus, I don’t even know what I’m thinking. I feel so disorganized, so muddled. Please give me peace, help me to find joy that only You can bring. Give me the strength to keep putting my feet forward, help me to radiate You, wherever I go.
And then throughout the weekend, I continued that prayer. Our weekend consisted of our normal routines and followed the same structure as it normally does. As much as I love my children, I deeply cherish their nap and bedtimes. During their rest, I painted a desk, read more of Make it Happen, journaled, and just prayed. Here I am, at the beginning of my work week, and I promise myself today to find joy in the mundane. There is purpose in even the smallest tasks, and I am confident that the Lord will be at work through them. I don’t even think twice when I wash my hands throughout the day, but for my daughter, it’s one of her biggest delights!
What type of energy are you going to radiate today? My Monday will be a fairly typical one. Our kids will eat dinner around six-thirty, have their baths, and be in their beds around 7:30 pm. At the end of the day, I won’t have climbed a mountain or watched a beautiful sunset from the white sands of a beach. I won’t have published a book or produced a record-smashing album. But I’ll have taught and loved my students well. I will have hugged my children tightly and have tried to encourage the adults in my life in any ways that I can.
I’ll still have lots of thoughts in my head, but I pray that I will continue giving them to the God who made me. One step at a time, day by day, and I think He’ll make it more and more clear the radical that He has planned for my life. Not that being mom, teacher, wife, (insert a hundred more titles here) are small tasks–they’re not. And yours aren’t either. Instead of getting caught up in the haze of each one, I encourage you to fulfill your duties with zeal and heart.
How are you today, friends? What are the first five things that pop into your head as you’ve finished reading this? What is on your to-do list today or for this week? Are there tasks in your life that are starting to feel mundane or ordinary? Send me an e-mail, comment below and let me know how I can pray for you this week!