Does that word create a positive reflection in you, or a negative one? Definition of routine: in the same repetitious manner, everyday: a runner training for a marathon; a musician strenuously training to become better; a writer trying to become better with words, etc. All of those things are examples of routine, and in order to make progress in them, require very certain practical plans of attack. It’s wise to repeat exercises or practice plans over and over again until we make vast strides of improvement. Sometimes, the best plan of action for particular tasks or goals in our everyday lives is to take certain steps or actions. In this sense, routine certainly isn’t something that you can argue as being bad. In order to reach goals, or to take necessary steps toward realizing the dreams of our heart, certain routines of attack are wise and good to have. Routine is a good thing here.
Why is there a reason this word conjures up a negative connotation every time we hear it? Routine, in this sense, is autopilot. It’s this automatic way of living that never stops to simply ask why we do the things we do. It’s this way of living that never stops to just think about things, period. It’s this way of living with our eyes closed. We can get so accustomed to doing the same thing over and over again that we forget the why behind the actions.
More importantly, when we let routine get the best of us, we forget the Who behind why we are living in the first place.
In the Psalms we are told to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
How often are we just, still?
In order to stop living on autopilot, we need to start opening up our eyes and our hearts. We can only truly do this when we turn them towards our Creator. And when we do this, we have no other desire but to be still;
The prayer of Psalm 90:12 is how we do this: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)
Our time here isn’t long. Look how quickly time just flies. The heart of the wise knows this, and therefore makes everyday a day of intentionality: a day to love someone, to serve someone, to pray for someone, to consider others and their burdens, and to hear from the God who is always speaking. Routine hinders this. But living is this.