Monday Musing: Rhythms and Routines

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash

I get bored really easily. Too much routine drives me a little nutty. I love changing for the sake of change. It’s something that drives Amy and my closest friends a little crazy. This often times finds its expression in trying some new app. I get teased regularly for always trying to get folks to try something new every few weeks.

During these days of the stay-at-home order I’m beginning to learn the importance of rhythms and routines. For a while now I’ve been a proponent of what’s known as the predictable pattern when it comes to community life. For instance, when people arrive to our home for Missional Community there is a very clear predictable pattern. Folks arrive right around 6 pm on Sunday nights and place their contribution to the community meal on the island or on the counter if it’s a dessert (everyone knows where their particular goes, somehow they just do). We pray. We eat, talk, laugh, and listen. At around 7 pm we spend time in the Scriptures followed by communion and a time of storytelling and prayer. The predictability of the whole thing is part of the beauty.

I’m beginning to learn that I need the same in my personal life. I need predictable patterns, rhythms and routines, in my everyday.

This morning I watched the Beastie Boys Story, a documentary about the Beastie Boys. I was struck by how, during their times of creativity, they had a predictable pattern. These guys would wake early, go get breakfast, and then spend the day creating. It was their routine, the routine fostered creativity.

The last ten days I have deviated from my routine. My creativity and production fell off drastically. I noticed a rise in anxiety and a general sense of laziness.

It turns out that predictable patterns in my daily life free me to be more of the person that I want to be. I want to write and produce thoughtful content. I can’t do that when I’m all over the place. Knowing that every morning I’m going to wake up at a certain time, have coffee, eat, then write, frees my mind to create. When I’m out of rhythm I am using tons of mental energy to just figure out how to find the time to create.

The other thing that embracing predictable patterns in my personal life does it allows me to actually take a break, to reset, to refresh, and renew. Why? Because, the break in the predictable pattern signals my mind that this is a different time.

So was last week just a refresh time? No. What makes it different is that it wasn’t intentional. I spent the week just going from one thing to the next with little direction or purpose. Because it wasn’t intentional it wasn’t a break. It was something else. Whatever it was, it was exhausting.

Today, I did the typical Monday routine. Woke with the alarm, made coffee, ate, took a slow morning because of pouring out myself in ministry the day before. Now, I’m sitting down to write and the words are flowing. The ideas are there at the surface because I’m flowing in the moment of the predictable pattern.

How about you? What predictable patterns do you need to put into place or do you already have in place?