Routines. We all have them. We wake up, stare at the clock and wonder why we have to pluck ourselves from our warm covers at this god-forsaken hour. We mosey into the bathroom and start our day. Teeth. Shower. Moisturizer. Hair. Makeup. The list continues until we make it to work, or school, or whatever appointment is in our planner for the day.
It’s those things, that become habit, a force of nature, that get us through the day. I mean seriously. Some days I’d rather skip the shower and conserve some energy, but I know that the beads of water beating against my skin will do a better job of providing energy than the ten minutes I would have saved going stinky.
It’s the routines, the rhythms of our lives, that help us to be successful.
I’m a band geek at heart.
My first piano lesson was when I was seven years old, and I took up clarinet at the first chance I got in fifth grade. I played that instrument until my band teacher could take it no longer, as I like to think, and she moved me to tenor sax in eighth grade. I continued playing sax through my freshman year of college.
I was never terribly good at any of the instruments that I played, but I practiced like my life depended on it. The squeaks, the missed notes, the multiple chipped reeds and splinters, the exasperation as I tried to get my fingers to cooperate with the rhythms of the music; I plodded my way through and caused my poor family to desire a good set of ear plugs.
But you know what, the practice paid off. I was a part of the marching band that won the best in state my freshman year in high school. I also got to march in two competitions that took us to Mountaineer Field (Let’s Go Mountaineers!) where we placed within the top ten bands in the Eastern U.S.
No, it wasn’t a solo act; it wasn’t just me on a stage doing my thing, it was a group effort, but we didn’t get there by simply walking out on the football field one afternoon without any preparation and expect to not fall over each other. It took hard work, sweat tears, and some really wacky tan lines to get us to that point.
I love the scripture that Annie includes in this letter,
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11
Following the rhythm, the routine, the discipline of life is often not a pleasant experience. Just like weight training requires breaking down your muscles in order to build them stronger, so a faith-based or a courage-striving discipline requires moments of monotonous activity.
It take time to build up character, belief, and a routine that produces great results, and prepares our hearts for greater rewards.