When Traci and I vacation, I love to have a very loose schedule with some super relaxed guidelines. I don’t want to fill every inch of my schedule with activity, instead, I want the freedom to do, or not do things, based on how I feel in the moment. Schedules cramp my vacation style.
Being free with a schedule on vacation is one thing, but people who go through the rest of life without much of a routine usually struggle to accomplish the work God has for them. It’s hard to live remarkably when you’re trying to cram it in “when you feel like it” in the moment!
As a youth pastor for almost 17 years, I have seen a lot of students who illustrate the truth of this point. The students who live by a schedule, who get up at a certain time each morning, run through a routine that doesn’t include a last minute panic to get out the door, come home from school and follow a similar routine with homework, chores and entertainment, always did so much better than the students who just raced around frantically all the time, responding to whims and in-the-moment feelings.
I tended to be one of the latter students when I was growing up. It was easy for me to stay up late, cram for tests and live on relatively little sleep. I’m not saying I functioned at my best, but I could get by, so I allowed myself to be easily distracted by social invitations and last-minute Taco Bell runs. And when I look back at my high school years, I realize that I missed a lot of opportunities with friends, family, work and youth group, because I was so busy not living by a schedule!
Some of you, like us, have little kids in the house, and you know how important schedules can be. There is something profoundly important about living by a fairly steady routine that makes it easier for all of us in the family to function. And I’m convinced it is one of the qualities of those that live most remarkably; those that live the Overboard Life to its fullest.
Jesus was a man of habit. Luke 4:16 says it was his habit, “his custom,” to go up to the synagogue on the sabbath and to read the Scriptures. At least 20 times in the Gospels we’re told that Jesus set out to pray, and in Mark 1:35 we’re told He went out to His “scheduled place” to pray. Jesus established regular habits of filling Himself up with God’s Word and spending time connecting in prayer.
He also served others regularly, He spent time with friends, He had time for strangers, He met with religious leaders, He helped the poor and He confronted the wicked and He did it all with plenty of time to spare. When His life was over He prayed to the Father and said, “I have accomplished everything you set for me to do.” Somehow, Jesus had enough time for all the work God gave Him.
I know from my own experience, as well as the experience and wisdom of others, that a routine is crucial to maximizing success in life. As I approach 40 and think about what the next 40 years will look like, I have some big goals and God-sized dreams that will need a tighter daily routine if they are going to be accomplished in whatever years I have left. For example, one of my goals, inspired by author and speaker John Townsend, is to write a book every year, for the next 20 years. That’s an impossible goal if my daily routines don’t adjust for it.
How routine are your routines? Where could you make an adjustment to your schedule that might help you maximize your effectiveness? Are you intentionally making time to connect each day with God? Today, take a moment to have an honest look at your routine and maybe start by making one small adjustment. Share with us in the comments what change you can make and maybe you’ll inspire others to make the same change!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!