Summary: Life is unpredictable yet for the most part many of us live our lives in a very predictable fashion. What can we do? The simple answer is change but we don't like that word; even if it's for the better. But change shouldn't be shunned; it can be embraced.
ESCAPING THE ROUTINE RUT
As we head into the new year we might not be too excited. One reason is we anticipate that 2019 will not be too much different than 2018. Life is unpredictable yet for the most part many of us live our lives in a very predictable fashion. We perform the same routines without much variation. Get up, get ready, go to work, come home, do chores, cook dinner, do homework, read or watch some TV and go to bed. Get up the next day and do it all over again-wash, rinse, repeat.
Even Sundays can be predictable. Get up, go to church, listen to a boring sermon, go home, eat lunch, take a nap, watch football, go to bed. The only day that can have some real variation to it is our day off.
The weird thing is on one hand we don't mind routine; we like its predictability. We like to know what to expect; we don't like surprises. But on the other hand we loathe it; we're bored with our lives.
So what can we do? The simple answer is change up our routine. But that's a word that we don't like; even if it's for the good. Change involves unpredictability. It involves getting used to something new. But that doesn't have to be shunned; it can be embraced with enthusiasm.
1) Make your routine less routine.
You can have a routine day but not know what you'll experience along the way. Doctors, police officers and the like could easily say this. Many would say that's what they like about their jobs. They never know what will happen on any given day. That can be exciting but also a little scary.
But that might not be you. You may have a very predictable and boring job. But that doesn't mean you're doomed. Even if you have a routine day where you pretty much know what you'll be doing with little variation it doesn't have to be completely routine.
For instance, your work may be predictable but the conversations you have with those around you don't have to be. Instead of the routine small talk start a conversation about current events or some exciting topic. Maybe tell a funny joke or story.
Did anything out of the ordinary happen to you over the weekend? That can be what breaks the Monday morning monotony. Instead of answering the "so what did you do this week-end" with "nothing special; same old-same old", you can tell them what you did; even if it seems ordinary.
Maybe it's the movie you went to see. Maybe it's the new book you're reading. Maybe it's the thought-provoking sermon you heard on Sunday. Your work may be routine but your conversations don't have to be.
Speaking of Sunday, there are some Sunday routines that don't have to be routine. One of those things is communion. We do it every Sunday and it can become just a routine but it shouldn't. Yes, what we're focused on is somewhat routine-the sacrifice of Christ-but what can be talked about regarding that is anything but routine.
When I, Bobby or Jerry share a Lord's Supper meditation, we're not using the same illustrations; we're not always using the same verses. Even if they are the same verses the focus can be on a different part of the verse. It can be about remembering, the blood, giving thanks.
It can be about the crucifixion, Jesus' sacrifice during his ministry, his resurrection, our repentance, our salvation, our life. There are a lot of different things we can focus on during the routine Lord's Supper. The act is repetitive but the focus is not.
Some other Sunday routines that don't have to be are things like always sitting in the same seat or always talking to the same people. Change it up; break out of your comfort zone. Maybe change the time you typically come to church; come earlier. Change how long you typically stay afterwards and hang around for a little while longer. All in the name of fellowship and service.
What are the routine things in your life where you can insert some variation to make them anything but routine? A young soldier and his commanding officer got on a train together. They had done this numerous times and the young officer thought this was going to be just another boring, routine train ride. The only available seats were across from a young, attractive woman who was traveling with her grandmother. "Maybe this train ride won't be so routine after all," the soldier thought.
As they engaged in pleasant conversation, the soldier and the young woman kept eyeing one another; and the attraction was obviously mutual. Suddenly the train went into a tunnel and the car became pitch black. Immediately two sounds were heard: the “smack” of a kiss, and the “smack” of a slap across the face.