Best of Daily Reflections: Do Your Daily Habits Reflect Your Values?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Years ago, a mentor told me, “Show me your bank account, and I’ll show you your true self.” She meant that our spending habits often say more about us than we think they do. She wanted to challenge me to consider how I use my resources, to ensure that my stewardship of my money reflected intention and purpose.
Perhaps the same thing can be said about our routines: show me your daily habits, and I’ll show you your values.
The Psalmist encourages us to pay attention and to remember that this life we’ve been given has a beginning and an end, with all the moments and habits and routines filed in between the two.This is a hard truth for me. It’s a bit of a wake up call, even. Because, to be honest, all too often my daily habits aren’t exactly what I would hope for myself.
Take a hard look at the story your routines are telling about you. What do you see there? Sometimes, when I look at the story of my own life, I realize I’ve slowly drifted away from an intentional routine into an unthinking routine.
Unthinking routines are driven by our schedules and obligations, by appetites and emotions. Over time, it seems that my first conscious act of the day is to check my email and social media, for instance, and it’s become my unthinking daily routine. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that act, not at all. And yet, that unthinking routine shows that my first priority is email and social media. Once upon a time, that time was for the routine of rising for a cup of tea and a time of prayer. My life is poorer for choosing email-first as my routine instead of prayer-first as my routine.
Meanwhile, intentional routine is driven by values and priorities, purpose and the best hopes for life. Of course, there are always schedules and obligations; this is part of life. A large part of our lives is often structured around meeting those obligations: meetings, mortgages, bills, and so on.
And yet, God is just as present while we do laundry or write or pay bills or attend meetings, and as we move through any other parts of our day, as when we sit in a church service. Crafting an intentional routine around the life-giving work or disciplines reorients our lives beautifully. We are no longer at the mercy of other people’s priorities or even our own laziness. Instead, a life of intentional routine ensures that we use our time with purpose, realizing the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Is your routine unthinking or is it intentional? What would an intentional routine look like for you?
PRAYER: Jesus, we repent for the ways that our routines have become unthinking. Help us to reorient our lives around our best hopes and values, around your life and teachings. We desire to move through our days with wisdom and intention. Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom. Thank you for giving us wisdom so generously. May we have the courage to follow your leadings even in our most humble routines. Amen.
We have asked some members of our community to share their holy routines. At first glance, these routines may not seem holy at all. However, in this series, Holy Routines, our writers extend an invitation to you to walk beside them in the actions and interactions and spaces that often seem ordinary but also usher them into the presence of God. We hope that spending a few moments in the holy routines of a few friends will inspire you to see and meet God in daily moments you may be tempted to rush through, or where you feel tempted to overlook the presence of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this series will give you permission to savor the sacred in the ordinary moments of your day.