I'm a fan of routine — and surprises. Yes, I know it is a weird combination. With most personality types, those two nouns don't skip happily along hand in hand. Those who crave routine aren't happy when spontaneity shows up, wrecking the day's plan. On the other hand, those free-at-heart types feel stifled by a to-do list and the daily drill. Each of these personality types find joy in their outlooks, security in the expected for one and excitement for the unexpected for the other.
However, when it comes to a relationship with God, the routine lovers and life-of-the-party people agree one thing: every personal moment spent with God should be a razzle-dazzle, life-changing experience. Whether it's our bible study or prayer time, we want a spiritual shindig full of energy and emotion. We expect God to show up in the grand gesture kind of way, and when that doesn't happen on a daily basis, we feel cheated.
Reading through Genesis 1 reminds us that after God created each day, he declared it as "good" — except for the second day: "And God said, 'Let there be space between the waters, to separate water from water.' And so it was. God made this space to separate the waters above from the waters below. And God called the space 'sky.' This happened on the second day." There was no declaration of the second creation day's "specialness;" it simply was. Each moment we sit down with God, we seek poignant moments where He (or we) declare "it is good!" We want to hear God loud and clear, have a powerful aha connection, or simply sense His presence ever so near. That expectancy is commendable, but not always probable.
Following God is much like living Tuesdays over and over. It's routine, a commonplace day where the same needs must be met and the same responsibilities taken up. Our God-time experiences are more likely to be like the times we spend with a best friend, spouse, or child on a Tuesday. Those kind of everyday moments are more often of the mundane variety, full of routine, and the living side by side.
My personal discovery of Tuesday's blandness happened several months into my marriage. I don't remember the exact situation but I do remember recognizing that the honeymoon was over. The disappointment was profound, not in my husband or my marriage, but in the fact that it wouldn't always be romance, roses, and rainbows. It was simply life, one full of bills, jobs, alarm clocks, tired bodies, dinners to be cooked, dishes to be washed, lived with another person by my side. Quickly, I realized that if I couldn't find glory in the ordinary, I would live discontentedly, always searching for the next big moment.
And so it is with our relationship with God. We can choose to complain at the lack of riveting mountain top moments, or we can revel in the contentment of the ordinary. Oh, there will be days filled with words leaping of the pages of the Bible as God reveals himself. But in general, many days will simply be the routine of sharing a cup of tea and talking about life, learning and growing in seemingly unnoticeable ways.
Days filled mounds of trivialities, small step taken on the journey, and mundane minutes of routine.
A quick glance around convinces us that God loves routine. The sun rises each morning, shines throughout the day, and settles in for the night to let the moon and stars take over. Winter sings the earth to sleep, then gives way to Spring's song. Summer soon takes over with a sun-filled celebration, allowing Autumn to carrying it off in a fireworks display of color. Then the whole process starts over.
Routine is God's delight, a steady reassurance of his faithfulness to us each day. Why would we despise it in our relationship with Him? In Colossians, Paul subtly reminds us of this daily routine: "Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done" (Colossians 2:7). The roots of a tree don't only grow during the fun-loving, celebratory days of summer. In fact, its roots grow deeper each day no matter the weather. The daily routine of a tree is to stretch a little deeper in the soil, ensuring a strong foundation for the branches that produce its fruit.
It is the regular days that equip us to grow, allowing us to drink truth like water and strengthen our faith. If God created the value of a simple, ordinary day, we can rest in the daily side by side relationship with Him and be content, no longer constantly striving after just the extraordinary moments, but accept them both as what they are — good and perfect gifts from our Father.
Alicia Hall is a writer, blogger, and missionary. Several years ago, she left hercareer as a middle school English teacher to share the love of Christ in the jungles ofEcuador. Recently, she unpacked her bags again in the hills of Tennesseewith her husband and their two soon-to-leave-the-nest teenagers. When she’s not blogging devotionals or penning love stories, she’s most likely hiking the trails of theGreat Smoky Mountains or cuddling with her Bassett Hound, Harvey. Youcan visit her at UnpackingLife.com.