Whether I like it or not I have got to admit that there is something comforting, natural, even appealing about routine! It has its clear perks….. Breakfast in the mornings with my children, coffee in the morning in the office, work, exercise (my wife would laugh out loud at me putting that), travel, weekly groups, Saturday papers, tweeting/checking facebook, daily prayer, the list goes on and in any given week we all probably experience dozens of things that are routine and that have a significant degree of appeal.
There is something profound about creating Rhythms in our life. The film at the top of this post highlights the importance of taking our everyday, ordinary life and offering it up to God as an act of worship. Yes worship. Our whole life matters to God. How we shop and live in the mundane is just as important as the songs we sing in church. Worship is a way of life not just a weekly event!
However is there also a danger that routine and the mundane can crush and kill off the dreams, hopes, aspirations and vision that we had/have for life? Do we sell ourselves short by getting to drawn into routine?
I love learning and definitely describe myself as an open person. I am keen to learn new things, new ideas, read new books and new articles, meet new people, expand my worldview. Its when I feel most alive. The chance to be stretched and keep fresh by doing things that are fresh. Yet I also know that a weakness is that I am also someone who craves the familiar, the comfortable and the routine. This is a good and natural thing, to a degree, but do I sometimes migrate to that position out of a fear? A fear of others? A fear of failure? A fear of the unknown and uncomfortable?
This week we had a session with a senior colleague who spoke profoundly about our need to not become to comfortable. About how we need to consider how we keep ourselves, our relationships, our work and our dreams alive by stepping out, taking risks and being open. It was a profound and stirring session. I don’t think I have listened to pearl after pearl of wisdom like that for quite some time. It was extraordinary.
They went on to talk about how easily we fall into traps, patterns and ways in our thinking and actions and how these patterns can so often become unhealthy and unhelpful. Sighting John Eldredge’s Waking the Dead they talked about the importance of keeping the heart alive, keeping life and faith alive to possibilities and growth, building and developing good and healthy relationships and keeping our hearts open and right.
These two quotes highlight the power and challenge of this book..
“To find God, you must look with all your heart. To remain present to God, you must remain present to your heart. To hear his voice, you must listen with all your heart. To love him, you must love with all your heart. You cannot be the person God meant you to be, and you cannot live the life he meant you to live, unless you live from the heart.”
“[The Enemy’s] plan from the beginning was to assault the heart… Make them so busy, they ignore the heart. Wound them so deeply, they don’t want a heart. Twist their theology, so they despise the heart. Take away their courage. Destroy their creativity. Make intimacy with God impossible for them.”
The talk then went onto explore the concept of land in spirituality and theology, through the lense of Walter Brueggemann’s book and theology: The Land: Place as gift, promise and challenge in biblical faith. Eden begins the biblical narrative and something akin to Eden ends the narrative. We were challenged to think about whether like the Israelites we have lost a degree of direction and purpose in our sojourning and pilgrimage and need to reopen ourselves to the possibility of journeying back to where God really intends us to be and intends us to be operating in.
For me that is where the power and importance of the film is vital. We can redeem and live well in the everyday as well as the big picture. Its good to start with small steps that could lead to bigger, giant strides that help us journey to being more and more like the people that God intended us to be. Fully Alive, Fully present, using our God given gifts to the full, living in love and harmony, serving out of integrity and natural joy and living a full and fulfilling life that gives and receives and has hopes and dreams of a better world. I want to be part of that. I choose to keep open and to seek God afresh to help me be more of the person he created me to be. Its exciting and I am keeping open to that way of life.