There are good routines in life, and not-so-good routines. I had been working on developing what I thought were some good routines: spending some time each morning working out, then reading scripture and praying (which I wrote about here and here), before eating breakfast. I was doing this nearly every day before heading to my office at church.
Then summer came.
The kids were out of school. That, in and of itself, posed little challenge to my routine. But when I took a week of vacation, which was followed by a week counseling camp, which was followed by a week of Vacation Bible School... well, so much for routine.
It took me almost a week to get back into the habit of doing pushups and situps in the morning. It took even longer for me to resume my morning prayer time. And, in case you haven't noticed, my blogging routine has also been off a little lately.
These are the good types of routines. When I'm in the routine of doing something, I'm much more likely to keep doing those things. Some mornings I don't really feel like exercising, but I do at least a short workout just to keep the routine. (I suppose another word for this type of routine is discipline.)
Then there are the routines that I want to break. One example would be when I return home at the end of the day via a different route than the one I took in the morning when I left the house. Some people have a routine of turning on the TV whenever they walk into their living room, even though they don't know what programs are on. That would be a good routine to break out of.
It takes awhile to develop a routine. When I started using reusable bags for grocery shopping, more often than not I would forget to bring the bags, or I'd bring them but accidentally leave them in the car. Now it's part of my routine. If I'm going to the store, I bring the bags.
It also takes awhile to break a routine. Some routines, in fact, last for generations, long after their effectiveness ends. I remember the story of one mother who was baking a ham for her family. As she prepared it, her daughter asked, "Why do you cut the ends off of the ham?"
"I don't know; that's just what my mom did," the mother replied. "Let's ask grandmother."
They call grandmother and ask her, and she replies, "Well, that's how my mom prepared ham. Why don't you ask her?"
So they call great-grandmother. "Great-grandma, why do you cut off the ends of the ham before you bake it?"
Great-grandma replied: "Because my pan is too small."
What are some of your routines? What routines would you like to have? What routines would you like to get rid of?
Next week, I'll be out of my routine once again, as I attend the General Assembly of my church. Assuming I'll have access to computers there, I'll share stories here while I'm away. Otherwise, you can follow what I'm up to on twitter, and I'll post stories here when I return...