When this former procrastinator was in the fourth grade, I went bowling for the first time. My total score for the whole game was either one or two! (How could I forget?) Only once did my ball make contact with the pins. All the other times it rolled off to the side and down the gutters.
At that bowling alley, there were no “bumpers” for children to use. Bumpers are long low pads placed inside the gutters’ full length. They keep the ball from rolling into the gutters and thus missing the pins. The ball gently bounces off the bumper and continues on its way down the lane toward the pins. Clearly, I needed that help!
I need the same help now. As I’ve pondered how to make exercise work in my morning, I’ve realized that routine is like bowling bumpers. Routine helps me reach the pins – my priorities.
So, the ball is me – my use of time and effort. I want to knock down the priority pins at the end of the lane. The gutter is anything I fall into that carries me away from the lane I should follow. Routine is the bumper that insures that I stay in the lane and therefore knock down some pins. Bumper routines keep me from putting off what I ought to do now.
For those who think routine is too restrictive, remember there’s plenty of space in that lane. We can go down the center, to the right, to the left, or cross back and forth. There’s lots of wobble room. But once I hit a bumper, I’m directed toward the pins and not allowed to wobble off into the gutter.
Devotions, exercise, and work time are priorities for me. I’m now figuring out a new morning bumper routine that includes those.
Two other bumpers for me are dinner at 6:30 p.m. and sending my accountability partner a list of priorities I’d like to accomplish each week.
We identify our priority pins – scripture memory, professional reading, teaching Johnny math. Then we set up some kind of bumper routine to help us stay in the lane so we hit those pins – an alarm clock, a partner to meet, a dog to walk.
Every trip down the lane won’t be a strike where we knock out all ten pins. Sometimes, yes; sometimes just a pin or two. Either way, with bumpers, we keep ourselves in the lane and hit SOME priority pins. Without bumper routines, we can roll in the gutter and miss ALL the pins.
What are the priority pins you want to knock down? What bumpers have you set up to make sure you hit them?