Do you ever wish, former procrastinators, that you had a blinking neon arrow pointing the way you should go? That’s what routine does for us. It’s a great tool for resisting temptation. With routine based on priorities, we have a set time for doing something. Self-control moves us forward. A routine for priorities moves us out of good intentions and into actual direction.
Intention is important but it won’t get the job done. Lack of routine means temptation can easily lure us away from our intentions.
A pastor says “Direction not intention determines destination.” In other words, where is my behavior taking me? Do I exercise self-control to go in the direction I intend?
“Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure,” (Proverbs 4:26) What am I actually doing about what I say is important to me?
Routine moves our feet in the direction we want to go. With a set pattern for working on something, we are less susceptible to the temptation of laziness or diversion.
“Oh, that my ways were directed to keep your statutes.” (Psalm 119:5) The concept of bowling bumpers helps us be faithful to God’s direction. Long rounded pads in the gutters of the bowling lane prevent the ball from falling in the gutter. Gutter balls do not hit the pins. When the ball runs up against the bumper, it swerves back into the lane and continues on to knock down pins. The pins are our priorities. Routine is the bowling bumper that keeps us on course. It reminds us “Now is the time I do so and so.”
Routine is a pattern we follow. A habit is an automatic behavior. It takes a long time for me to form a habit; however, I can be faithful to a routine without it being habit. I set an alarm on my phone. Repeat alarms are great for daily or weekly direction. Or, I pair things together – one thing follows the other. Clean the kitchen after every meal. Read to the kids after math.
I paired eye drops in the morning with two minutes of scripture memory. Now when I put drops in at night, as soon as my head tilts back, the scripture comes to mind then too. A cool surprise! I also set alarms for weekly phone calls with friends.
This summer instead of participating in my usual Bible study, my husband and I are doing a different study. I use the 3 hours of the original drive time and meeting to concentrate on the summer topic. Keeping that Tuesday afternoon appointment keeps me faithful and makes sure I use the “off” time profitably. Routine supplies a pattern to follow and makes being faithful to study easier. Otherwise, those useful hours could slip away like water through my fingers.
What are you prioritizing for this summer? What routine is directing your feet there?