Saturday, March 01, 2008

routine and rest

Routine and rest. I think both of these are important for us in living out the Christian life. But at the same time both often seem impossible to us, as we see from Erika Haub's wonderful post here. So for any of you in situations that resist routine and rest, we can only pray for those of you we know, that God will give you special times of rest and a sense of routine and rhythm during this time of your life and journey.

Routine is good for me. It helps me forget my troubles. It is a part of what makes us human, we have six days to work and a seventh day to rest built into the fabric of creation. So routine and rest, however played out in our experience, are important for us.

What does routine look like for you? For me it's about things I do regularly, such as getting up, reading Scripture, getting ready to go to work, etc., with prayer interspersed through all of this, hopefully. And learning to open my little "prayer book" with written lists to help me remember to pray for others and for special requests. This routine goes until evening, and an important part I'm working on now is the need for proper, or I should say, better, as in more hours of sleep.

What does rest look like for you? For me it's about hopefully getting a little time to curl up my feet and under a blanket leisurely get some reading in. And at the end of the week, it's hopefully, either Saturday or Sunday (sometimes part of Friday included), get in some significant relaxation in more reading and doing something together with Deb, and usually more sleeping than I can get during the week.

I'm not getting into the Sabbath or what that means for us today. That's a big subject, and I'm not sure of it, though I'm more sure as to what I practice in relation to it, and how I look at it in general. It has more than one application, I believe. But the important thing here in this routine and rest, is the sense of rhythm, I believe, that we as human beings need. Both in how we practice our days, weeks, months and years- and how we look at our walk of faith in this life, with the good works in Jesus following.

These words, as limited as they are, give me strength right now. I have to avoid that which is contrary to them, and which can set me off into a self-pity party or something that is neither pleasing to God or helpful to anyone, including myself.

What other words might you like to share about routine and rest?


Rachel Mc said...

Routine for me is a hope, dream and prayer. This post came at a very good time for me because I am struggling to get a routine and rythmn in my life. I need a routine to get my to do list done, but also for my peace of mind. I find that if I stick to my routine I actually find time for God and for myself and for my sons. If I mess up the routine I find myself jumping from task to task without feeling like I accomplished anything, then I take my anger and self pity to God and I have to wonder, isn't God getting tired of hearing me complain about the same thing over and over, especially when part of the solution is for me to stick to the routine?

Mike said...

Routine comes in many forms. For myself I must form spiritual routines and practises.

Rest is very importnat in my life. I feel we are running faster and faster, yet to hear GOD we have to sit and wait.

Anonymous said...

i have a corner with a chair and books and a little lamp...though i hope for a more comfortable chair in the future, it is a nice place that i can, like you say...curl the feet up, and read and pray and just be. though sometimes there is too much noise to be there, there are other times that it is a quiet place. in the summer i often go into my car inside the garage and that is a nice place just to be quiet. so these are good places of rest...not counting sleeping.

there is somewhat of a routine around our house...but, i have to be somewhat flexable because self employed winemaking calls for a lot of juggling and different seasons of different focus...and with a 11 year old...need i say more? however, we do eat supper together when all of us are home...which is most of the time. i think each day does require a certain ammount of routine with a bit of flexability for the changes that are taking place. i think that routine keeps us in line to a certain extent. and if things are not at a usual routine and life is full of a lot of changes as it sometimes does do that, i find that a quiet time in the evening with making a little list with a few things that need priority of doing or attention is helpful.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, and I'm praying for you. I know something of your struggle from my own perspective.

We want routine, but we also have to have a certain flexibility within that routine open for God's interruptions and for the relative chaos that will hit us from time to time, maybe the low grade chaos that hits you regularly with your sons.

As for complaining, I think we see God's people in Scripture complaining time and again to God, including within the Hebrew song book, the psalms. God wants us to tell him what we're feeling and what we're struggling over, and I'm sure you know this. It can be an expression of our faith, even expressing our anger to God that things are not at all the way they ought to be. And then God can move in response since we're engaged in faith with him, and help us. Something like that. I've experienced that numerous times, I'm sure.

But still your point is right, that we need to work towards routine and rest on a regular basis, to work towards that rhythm.

Am praying for you, sister.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for the good reminders to us of spiritual routines or disciplines as they're called, and physical rest.

Just this past week I've been consciously working on getting more sleep, and though I'm not getting as much sleep as I need to yet, I believe it helped already, just to be working towards that. And I too need to keep up on things I do to keep me hopefully listening to God and trying to get more in tune with God and his will and work in my life.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for sharing something of your routine with us. We need that special place or spot. I may take my practice for granted too often, but I shudder to think what it would be like to lose it. I long for more of this, getting away with God; I need it!

Thanks too for sharing wisdom you've gained in regard to this. I agree that we need to not get concerned when our routines are occasionally blown or rest is interrupted, though we do have to work at it if this becomes a regular issue, and maybe take some personal inventory on that, I would think.

Anonymous said...

sometimes i think that maybe i should make a list of things that i actually did in a day and mark off that i did them...instead of looking at the list of things that i thought i needed to do and did not get to.

i just read that an even i had a hard time understanding it! :-)

hope you can figure it out.

anyway, seriously...i think that it is hard to get in all the things that one day calls for sometimes...many choices. and i agree that if anyone is not getting their rest and sleep that it really does call for some...personal inventory is a very good way of putting it. right now i am making an decided effort to cut back on my computer time. not cutting it out completely, just cutting back.

Ted M. Gossard said...

My biggest adjustment is just to get more sleep. In doing so I think I end up doing most things better, and am therefore more efficient to get things done and done well enough. But with that cutting out caffeine during pm's for the most part, just in the morning, that's helped me, too. To get more sleep. So my main thing is more sleep, and then with that sticking to a routime.

I think it would be scary sometimes, to have recorded what I actually do during the course of a day. Wouldn't be able to escape the truth, then.

Andrew said...

For me, routine is something I've come to enjoy--something I can count on. Every morning at 5:15 that pesky alarm goes off, and ... . Well, maybe not THOSE routines!

Every Saturday I have made a habit of eating a good bowl of oatmeal and fruit, spend 2 hours reading the Word and praying and journaling, and then go running for an hour. This is sort of the highlight of my week, in some ways. It's simple, but it feels freeing to me to have a routine.

I'm not so good at the "rest" part of my routine. This morning I read Exodus 16 (as part of the Robert Murray McCheyne Bible reading plan, another annual routine of mine) and weekly and Sabbath routines. I'm realizing I need to do "double duty" on Saturdays so that my Sundays are free for worship, rest, and enjoyment. Sundays for me are ruined by Mondays, and I need to be ready earlier.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your good comment. I think I'm tracking with you on all you say here. By the way, I think I've seen that Robert Murray McCheyne Bible reading plan, and it looks very good, probably better than the one I use, and I will look it up.

I like your plan for Saturdays, and I really understand how Monday just comes too soon! Not good to clutter up our weekends and Sundays, but easy to do.

For me to keep doing certain things is important, though not to have time so regimented that there's no flexibility. All a challenge.

Interesting how Jesus used to get up early mornings to spend time in prayer, with the Father.

Thanks, Andrew.