Day 8 – The Routine of the Routine Breaking
I didn’t expect to feel this way 8 days in, but I guess I’ve always tried to be a little ahead of the curve.
The whole purpose of fasting was to break the routine of gorging myself and running through life as fast as my fast food anchored body could go. But here’s what I noticed today:
I broke one bad routine only to replace it with another.
And it only took 8 days.
Routines by nature can be good or bad. Routines help us maximize productivity but things go terribly wrong when we forget why we started the routine.
Example: think of how many people start out with good intentions like providing for their family. They work hard and long hours and get a promotion. Then they get to work harder and longer hours. They get another promotion and increase the work cycle. Eventually work starts coming home with them. At that point the line between family and work gets blurred. The family that they were working so hard to support disappears behind the routine. The relationship with the spouse suffers and the kids become a nuisance, not a blessing.
What I say next may surprise you. As a pastor I was in a routine of trying to help everyone else’s spiritual life at the expense of my own. Even though my passion and vocation both revolve around a relationship with Jesus (a unique harmony that may eventually get its own post) it is easy to neglect my own relationship with God. Since the passion and vocation challenge is new to me I wanted to break the routine of giving God my emotional left overs. I wanted him to have my first time and best time.
Initially, the fast did a great job of breaking that mentality and giving my relationship with Christ a real boost.
But what I’ve done is take the fast, gotten used to it, and work it into the old routine. The hunger pangs aren’t as bad, missing the food is less frequent (though more intense), and that makes it more manageable.
What we can manage can quickly become a routine.
When I first started my routine was wrecked and I had to rely on God. The constant hunger and desire forced me to beg God for his presence and grace to help me through it. Now that I can manage that on my own my mind is moving on.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in this. The children of Israel in the Old Testament seemed to have a really serious habit of this good routine/bad routine thing. God established ways for them to worship and they’d follow for awhile with their hearts. Soon, they’d keep doing the routine but their hearts weren’t in it. Then they’d get themselves in trouble, God would rescue, they’d remember “Hey, remember that thing we used to do with God? I miss that.”, they’d go back to the old practices which soon would become routines again.
In the story of the Israelites lies the secret as to why and when a routine works. The heart.
The routine is never the goal.
The heart is.
Working to provide for the family isn’t the point. The family is.
Doing the rituals given aren’t the point. The ritual giver is.
And the fast definitely isn’t the point but the giving of my heart to extended devotion to the God of this fast is.
Father, forgive me for making the fast into a bad routine. Help me to focus again on our relationship. Take my heart. Amen.
*Side note: tried some Morning Star meatless bacon with lettuce on whole grain bread and it was GOOD! So good…I had two.
Also, we had Organic popcorn and I got chills it was so good.