Gentle Routines

Routines. Not a very sexy word, but for me, often a sanity saver. I’d much rather run from crisis to crisis with no set plan, to fly by the seat of my pants. That’s all well and good for a small part of the time, but we all need a home base. At least I do, or anxiety takes over my life.

It’s funny. I go back over old blog posts, and about every three months or so I find myself writing about entering Rest. Apparently, it is not something I’ve yet learned how to do. Sounds great, but how? What does a Christian at Rest look like?

I’m reading “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I was struck by the similarity in the advice he gives for a regular Christian life to the lifestyle of mentors I’ve had in my own life, and even other more recently written books. In the chapter “The Day with Other’s”, Bonhoeffer promotes the following ideas:

  1. Family devotions first thing in the morning. He recommends this time include scripture reading, Psalm singing, and prayer.
  2. Regular Work
  3. Gathering together again around the noon meal, if possible, for more singing and prayer
  4. More work
  5. Supper. Ending the evening with more scripture reading, singing and prayer

The pattern seems almost monastic. It seems beautiful in its simplicity.

Our home routine has some regularity, but tends to kind of fall apart when the school day ends. Bedtimes are rough. The house never seems to stay clean longer than a few moments, and we never seem to get all of the outside chores done. We watch too much TV in the evenings, exhausted from pushing hard from the first three hours of the day, then running here, there, and yonder from lunch till supper.

What if?

I went back to only going into town a couple of times a week.

I allowed school and chores to take however long they needed to, not pushing to get things done quickly, but content to enter into the work of Christ wherever it finds me.

I stopped looking for more to do and did what was already in front of me well.

I didn’t rush headlong through the day towards a point where I could disconnect, disengage, and be mindlessly entertained.

For me, entering Rest probably looks a lot like learning to keep plodding along when I want to sprint, and to be still when I want to make things happen. It is not a matter or measure of righteousness, for righteousness is found in Christ alone, but a regularity that breeds sanity and maturity.



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