Monday, June 13, 2011

Living on Purpose

A routine can be good. There's something comforting about the familiar. My dictionary defines the term as, "a set of customary and often mechanically performed procedures or activities." The things I do every morning can easily be considered a routine. I exercise, take care of our pets, do my Bible study, spend time writing.

But part of the dictionary definition bothers me. It states that a routine is "often mechanically performed." I get the impression that I can do these things without much thought. Without much effort. It screams of just going through the motions. Definitely NOT what I'm after.

So is a routine truly a good thing? It definitely can be. It does give structure to my day. The challenge comes down to my attitude. It's up to me to choose to be aware of what I'm doing and not give into the temptation to shift into neutral. Just because it's a routine doesn't mean I can't set goals for each of these activities. After all, growth is what I'm after.

Time to give some thought to steps for growth. What better place to find direction than God's Word. The book of Luke describes the growth of Jesus," And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man," (Luke 2:52; KJV). Even at the age of twelve, Jesus was developing physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.

Some things happen naturally, like the physical growth of a child. Yet, as an adult, I have the opportunity to choose what foods I'll eat and whether or not I'll exercise. The Apostle Paul shares the importance of taking care of my physical body and my spirit, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's," (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I can determine what level of fitness I'm after and figure out what nutrients and activities will help me achieve that goal.

In order to grow in my relationship with the Lord, it's important for me to study His Word and obey His directives. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him," (John 14:21). Setting a goal for memorizing His Word and spending time in prayer and Bible study help me achieve the growth I'm after.

Relationships are very important. They take work and effort. My relationship with God doesn't just happen - it takes concentrated time. The same is true regarding relationships with people. Any relationship that is strong is the result of time spent cultivating that bond. God designed me for relationships. Jesus was very clear, "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," (Matthew 22:37b-38).

When I realize the value of family and friends in my life, I am willing to set aside time to nurture those relationships. To plan for regular time together. To put their needs ahead of my own. As a result, growth will happen. With the right attitude, I can stick to my routine AND see positive growth!

Do you have a routine? If you're just going through the motions, what steps will you put in place to achieve growth?

Heavenly Father, Thank You that Your Word shows the importance of growth in all areas of my life. Help me to set realistic goals to achieve this growth. Your Word is clear, "Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day," (Psalm 25:4-5). In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. Routines can turn into ruts if we let them. Setting goals for growth each week/month can definitey help us to be more purposeful. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Ralene - Thanks for stopping by! Your statement is SO true, "Routines can turn into ruts if we let them..." Becoming aware of the rut is the first step to getting out of it! Look forward to swinging by your blog this week! Are you enjoying Hawaii? Have a blessed week, my friend! :)

  3. Maria, a wonderful word! I have routines each morning as well, sounds much like yours. I like that you say we need to make goals each day for those routines so we don't shift into neutral. You're such a blessing!

  4. Jessica - Thanks for your sweet words of encouragement! I shift into neutral far too easily - I need to stay on my toes and consider why I do what I do and consistently strive for growth. Have a great week! Hugs and blessings to you!

  5. Hi Maria -

    Sometimes I'm like a sleepwalker. I do things, and don't recall how I did them.

    Awhile back, I saw a program about the brain. Doing puzzles, breaking out of old patterns, and learning new skills build new connections. I'm sure the same thing applies to remaining fresh in our relationship with the Lord.

    Susan :)

  6. I'm dealing with this very subject in my novel. You're right; the key is the attitude (isn't it always the key?) about the habits we perform. If our routine is rote schedule, then it becomes the rut that Ralene mentioned. But if we put our focus on the balance that our routine offers, and have a willingness to adjust as the Lord directs our daily paths, then we can enjoy the freedom and peace of Divine direction.

  7. Good thoughts. I find routine can help spur growth if it is purposeful and the things being done routinely are worthwhile. You've given some good ideas for us to dwell on.