Routines Build Relationships
Face it, without routines in relationships, the relationship would slowly dry up. Back in the days before Internet, when Pedro and I first started dating, we wrote to each other on a daily basis during the long summers we spent apart. Those letters represent a routine of communication that built our relationship. We didn’t write flowery poems or repeat the same sentiment over and over again. We just shared with each other how our day had gone, asked questions, and answered questions the other had asked.
I worked at a summer camp, so mail call turned into my favorite part of the day. When the camp bell rang for lunch, I salivated for a letter from Pedro—never mind what they had on the food deck. Each evening before I dropped into my bunk, exhausted from a dirty, dusty day of wrangling campers and horses, I would write to Pedro and have the letter ready to drop in the camp mail box the next morning.
Building a routine for forming a relationship with God works the same way. Choose a time of day, grab a notebook or a journal, and spend five minutes telling God about your day and asking questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in finding answers to those questions.
Praise and worship go together like macaroni and cheese. David tells us in Psalm 150 that we should praise God in a variety of places and plethora of ways. We don’t have to limit our praise to church or to a set ritual. But we DO need to praise God—he’s the only one who deserves our praise and worship (Deuteronomy 10:21).
I’ve made a habit of praising God when I see something beautiful that he created—a stunning sunset, a funky insect, or a beautiful bird. As part of my morning routine, I make a list of 5-10 things that I’m grateful for. You don’t have to have a great voice and sing on key in order to praise God. You can bust loose with some cymbal clanging or whoops of joy, too.
In order to form routines, we have to practice intentionality. I set my alarm for an hour before I know everyone else will get up so that I have the house to myself. Next, I make my ‘why bother’ (non-fat, decaf latte), and then I sink into my favorite rocker and pull out my journal and my Bible. I don’t do this some days, or just when I feel like it. Every. Single. Day. I meet up with God.
Trust me, when I’m away from home, I have to really work at this. But I have learned to carve that time alone with God into my daily routines—no matter where I am or who I’m with.
As an introvert, intentionally seeking time with someone else doesn’t feel natural—especially when I first started forming the routine of spending time with God. I couldn’t see him, and I hate talking on the phone, so the whole concept of spending time with an invisible deity felt weird.
After 36 years of practice, I know that without that time, I’m just macaroni—there’s no substance or flavor in me.
By this I don’t mean that you practice how to pray. I mean, form the habit of praying throughout the day. When you feel an argument with your spouse coming on, shoot up a prayer for help. If you stub your toe, praise God instead of cursing (it feels better faster). When you feel ready to sell your children to the highest bidder, gasp out a prayer to God. Take bumper-to-bumper traffic as an opportunity to tell God about your day.
The routine of constant contact with God helps build your relationship with him. It also helps you avoid thinking of God as your heavenly butler.
Remember, God is not Your Butler
Few of us would ever admit to thinking that God should act as our heavenly butler. But our actions often speak louder than our words. If the only routine in our relationship with God consists of praying for things we want or need, we might have a problem.
God, unlike a butler, wants things from us, too. He wants our obedience. Our devotion. He requires our praise. Our will.God is NOT your cosmic butler. Unlike a butler, he requires things from us. #relationship #spirituality Click To Tweet
Form the routine of spending time in reading God’s instructional manual (the Bible). Find a version that resonates with you (I love the Message version). Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your reading, and then dig in.
Don’t get me wrong. Asking God for things is fine—in fact, God wants us to ask for things (Luke 11:11, Matthew 7:7). But if we fail to form the first four routines, we can easily fall into the mindset that God is nothing more than a cosmic butler.
Q4U: What routines do you have to build your relationship with God?
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