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Honoring God with Healthy and Efficient Routines

Oh, the carefree days of summer. The hectic pace of life changes and the daily grind subsides. There is finally time for tasks and fun that we have not had time for the rest of the year. Yet, we often reach the end of the summer still feeling frazzled and disordered, with those “to-do list” items still incomplete. Rather than abandoning structure and responsibility completely, summer is the ideal time to implement much needed healthy routines before the fast-paced fall season resumes.

The irony is that we have a love-hate relationship with routines. In May we are exhausted by the demands of routine, but by August we long for the stability routines provide. Routines provide structure. We crave structure because we are made in image of God. The creation account exemplifies that God is logical and uses structure (e.g., water was created before fish). Structure promotes safety, such as traffic laws that everyone is to abide by. Structure reduces decision fatigue because fewer decisions are needed when we can just follow a set routine.

But we don’t just need routines; we need routines that promote health. Society encourages us to fill our lives with a “do more” and “make more” mentality. However, God instructs us that better living is found through stewarding well all that he is already providing us. Our Creator has made us to need certain elements to function optimally; therefore, using what he provides in a way that honors him is also inherently beneficial to you. Consider how well you are currently showing appreciation to our Provider God in these essential areas of healthy living: sleep, nutrition/hydration, exercise, mental health, relationships/community, and faith. The benefits are broad, including improved cognitive functioning, emotional resiliency, greater peace and happiness, improved athletic ability, weight loss, reduced risk of various diseases, interpersonal connection, and hope. When you are routinely taking care of the life God has given you, you are not only honoring God and benefiting yourself—others enjoy being around you more.

God instructs us that better living is found through stewarding well all that he is already providing us.

The basic logic of taking care of oneself is so obvious that failure to do so should be shocking; but quite to the contrary, some level of self-neglect is commonplace. As you and I and my psychotherapy clients can attest, the problem is implementing healthy routines that are also efficient. To establish routines, we need to know how to make them efficient from the very beginning.

Let’s consider four tips for evaluating and establishing healthy and efficient routines this summer.

  1. Be mission minded. Write your goal, stating what do you want rather than what you do not want. For example: “I want to spend at least 15 minutes of quality, one-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball, undistracted time with my spouse every day” is much more mission minded than “I don’t want to lose connection with my spouse.” Notice that the bar is not set especially high at first. Routines need to be accomplishable with great regularity so that we are motivated by our own success (i.e., the benefits that God built in from the beginning).

  2. Be single-minded. James 1:8 refers to the danger of being double-minded, which means being undecided, wavering, or vacillating in our thoughts. To be efficient, focus on not being divided—that is, be single-minded. Mean what you say, even as you set goals in the privacy of your thoughts. If you want to eat healthier, for example, consider: would an onlooker be able to see proof of this goal in your daily choices?

  3. Be prepared. Putting a new healthy routine in place takes some planning; otherwise, it will likely not become a routine. So, study and do the research necessary to make your efforts last. Let’s say you want to spend more time in the God’s Word. Be prepared by determining when, how much time, how often, and even where you can make this part of your routine. Contrary to what many of us were taught, it is not the thought that counts. Prepare to accomplish and maintain your routines, and then get going!

  4. Be realistic. Take a good long look in the mirror and consider what you know about yourself. Think about your strengths (which may be underutilized) and your stumbling blocks. What characteristics may pose a challenge to implementing healthy routines? For example, do not overestimate or underestimate how long things take you. Are you slower moving than you had planned for, or do you get things done with time to spare and not have a plan for the time saved?

The summer months offer more flexibility in our lives, which makes this time of year ideal for establishing new routines. By incorporating these four tips in new healthy routines, we can honor God, reap a multitude of inherent benefits, and be a more pleasant person to others in our lives. Now—before the busy pace resumes—what new routines will you set in place that honor God our Provider? Let’s each endeavor to live daily in such a way that our routines shout out, “Thank you, God!”

INSTITUTE ARCHIVE

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