Last week I wrote on the importance of intentional, Christian women committing to a daily routine.
Here’s a quick recap of the 4 reasons why it’s important to commit to a daily routine:
1. Life passes quickly and without your permission.
Having a daily routine is a surefire way to make sure that you’re getting the most out of each day. Sometimes the days seem long, but life goes by so quickly and it’s much too easy to waste time. Use a daily routine to make sure all the “important things” are getting accomplished each day and in a timely manner.
2. There is power in a familiar routine.
Life often takes us through a series of events that make simply rising in the morning a challenge; and while we don’t advocate a life of “going through the motions,” sometimes the routine is what keeps us sane — and also keeps us from melting down.
3. A routine allows you to keep track of what is coming into and going out of your life.
If you struggle with allowing negativity, sin, or unhealthy habits into your life, having a routine of good, healthy, intentional practices will help you to turn away from that which isn’t advantageous for an intentional, Christian girl.
4. A routine keeps you on track spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
It can be challenging to say no. It can be difficult to keep priorities at the top of your to-do list when the to-do list gets longer with each hour you’re awake. You can give of yourself so much that you finally reach a point where you experience burn-out, a nervous breakdown, or other health problems. A routine can help you keep your spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well-being in a healthy state.
After reading so many emails and comments on social media containing phrases like, “What should I include in my routine?” and “How do I create a good routine?” and “How do I get out of a rut?” I decided to write just a bit more on this topic.
Darlings, thank you for reaching out and asking questions! It can be intimidating to put yourself out there but I admire your transparency. Believe me: I know what it’s like to feel as if the routine you’re in is actually more of a rut than a routine; what it’s like to feel as if what you’re doing is mediocre and absolutely nothing close to your dream reality; what it’s like to wish that someone would just TELL you what to do to change the monotony of the everyday.
And I know that when you’re feeling ALL of those things it’s difficult to accomplish anything at all. I also know how easy it is to just want to cry over your coffee, stay in your jammies, and simply exist. I know those things. I do.
So today I’m going to be that person:
I’m going to be that person who tells you exactly what to do in order to break free of the rut. That person who encourages you to get out of the monotonous cycle. Your friend who wants you to get out of what makes you feel less than the intentional woman you are and can be. I’m going to tell you how to create a routine that isn’t a rut. I’m going to tell you how to make the most out of who you are, what you’re doing, and how to chase those beautiful dreams living inside your mind and heart and how to make them a reality — because Jesus gave you those dreams, you know.
1. Read the Bible.
Girlfriends, read your Bible every day.
Seriously: every.single.day. Please, please, please don’t expect that the few scriptures you hear in Sunday School or in your pastor’s sermons are enough to keep your heart whole and healthy for the week — because it’s not. You must carve out alone time to experience the Word of God for yourself. You need to understand what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus. The intentional life starts with learning about God, His commandments, and the beautiful love He has for you.
Pick a specific time of day to read the Bible and stick with it — make it happen. I personally prefer to read my Bible first thing in the morning because it’s the time of day when my mind is clear of all the clutter.
Get to the point where you look forward to spending time with Jesus. If you’ve fallen off the Bible-reading bandwagon, you don’t actually have to start reading at Genesis. In fact, to change things up, start with the gospels. Read about Jesus from the men who knew Him the best. Reflect on His miracles, learn the personalities of His disciples, and immerse yourself in His teachings.
2. Engage in personal development time.
Read a self-help book, an inspirational book, or a prayer journal. These books do not diminish the importance of the Word of God, rather they are an accompaniment to it.
The right companion books will make the Bible come alive. The right book will answer questions you didn’t know that you had. The right book will make you passionate about following your calling.
Read blogs like ours, follow inspirational people on social media (just don’t idolize them and mistake social media for real-life!), listen to encouraging TED talks or podcasts that will stimulate your mind and promote optimism.
My current three favorite books have been on my nightstand since January because I can’t seem to get away from them. I’ve read them over and over again — and I’m amazed at how they constantly fit with my current life situation.
3. Journal your heart’s song.
Whether it’s the scripture from your daily Bible reading that stood out to you, a paragraph from She’s Intentional that spoke to your heart, or the thoughts that keep you up at night, write it down. The written word is so powerful because it makes you take ownership of your thoughts and feelings. Journaling makes you accountable to your belief system. Writing down your dreams and ambitions makes them more than far-away, lofty hopes: it makes them attainable and worthy aspirations. Whatever is in your heart is worth writing about.
You’ll be more interested in writing in a journal that makes you happy when you look it at rather than that old, black and white notebook half-filled with 8th grade algebra problems. This journal should be something special and designated as the place where you are completely honest with yourself. It should be the place where you are authentically YOU; the place where the words you’re afraid to say out loud should make their way. Your journal should be the place you pray the prayers you can’t speak out loud.
When you later go back and read those prayers, when you see the fulfillment of your dreams, you’ll experience hope and grace that you wouldn’t have if you had not written down those thoughts and feelings. These experiences remind you of the journey you’re on and help to cultivate an even closer relationship with God when you see His faithfulness plainly written out in your own handwriting.
4. Change your mindset.
This is actually one of the most important aspects to include in your new daily routine. This is the key, darlings. Because honestly? You can read that Bible of yours every day, read book after book about martyred Christians, go to church three times a week and feel worthless if you are dwelling on the past, the hurt, and the disappointments of life. If you journal shallow thoughts without digging into your soul, you will not discover your purpose because your mindset will be in a place of doom and despair.
In Living as a Christian, Tozer reminds us to “celebrate what we have been saved from. That should bring to us a great deal of praise and thanksgiving that God has saved us from a life of wretchedness. But, more important, we need to celebrate what we have been saved unto. The Christian walk is the forward walk. It is the ‘looking unto Jesus’ that is most important. Every redeemed person has a specific destiny to fulfill. Discovering that destiny and fulfilling it in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the joy of the Christian’s daily walk.”
When you change your mindset and intentionally choose to live for Jesus your daily routine will finally become effective. When you commit each day to Jesus and commit to celebrating all the reasons Jesus has saved you from a life of sin and the heartache it brings, you will become the unstoppable force that the Biblical Deborah was.
Deborah was “a renowned prophetess, an honored judge, and an ideal role model for every woman called to lead others.” In other words, Deborah was the quintessential, intentional Christian woman. Her mindset was such that in a time when there wasn’t a man willing to follow God’s calling, she allowed God to use her in an abnormal, unexpected way. She did not allow the mindset of her culture to determine what she did for her God or how she lived for Him. She did not allow the magnitude of her calling to be lessened by considering her past: she simply did what was required of her and lived in the present.
In order to be the same kind of intentional, godly woman Deborah was, it’s necessary to do exactly what Tozer says: have a mindset that looks to the future rather than the past. Create a mindset that puts your calling at a higher importance than your past mistakes and failures. Create a mindset that puts Jesus at the forefront of every day. Create a mindset that focuses on the positive rather than the negative.
Be committed to this routine. Live it out every day. Be intentional about it and I’m certain that you will see a change in your heart and mind.
1. A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor
2. A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesse by Henri J.M. Nouwen
3. Living as a Christian by A.W. Tozer
4. I personally love using The Everyday Life Bible (Amplified Version) for every day reading rather than my King James Version because it breaks down some of those difficult-to-understand passages without losing important context and historical accuracy.
Three Lovely Journal Finds:
1. I’m loving this pretty pink “Start Somewhere” journal from Anthropologie ($20).
2. This gold striped Kate Spade journal is on sale for $11. UM YES PLEASE!
3. My favorite? This beautiful, ethically made, recycled newspaper journal from Shopanthropic that’s on sale for only $18.