Wednesday I confessed how schedules oftentimes become a savior to me. I develop a dependency on them that convinces my heart that the schedule itself is somehow solving life’s problems. But schedules aren’t the only thing that can block my view of the cross. Exercise, reading my Bible, talking to my husband, teaching my children, cleaning my house, hospitality, serving others, managed finances, reading the right books, buying the right things, saying no to the wrong things. I’ve got more. But when I’m trying to safeguard against temptation, is my only option cutting these things out entirely? If so, I would have to drop all the things I just listed along with many others. In fact, I might just need to lock myself in a padded white room for the rest of my life, though I’m sure I would find the color white to eventually become a stumbling block as well.
This was the problem the Pharisees had. They put their hope in all the boundaries and rules they set up for themselves instead of in the promises of God himself. The moments I begin to worship some routine I have in place, the issue is not the routine itself. The issue is that I’ve taken my eyes off Jesus and have placed them on my own works. Therefore, the solution is not to drop the routine so it’s no longer an obstacle for me. The solution is to remember who I am and what has been done for me, to keep my eyes there and then just let the routine (or lack thereof) be just that: a routine. No one needs a routine. We only need Jesus. Sure, sure, I have things like Bible study worked into my schedule, things that can be helpful to keep my eyes on the cross, but those things have the same function as the schedule–a tool that can help keep my eyes focused. And a tool is only as good as it is actually useful. And there’s never any confusion about if the tool serves the worker or the other way around.
Here’s the deal: I’m not gifted in many organizational areas (look in anything that’s covered by a door or drawer in my house), but I am gifted in time management. It’s not laborious for me to whip up a routine for my family. But I’m not not not gifted at keeping up with all the kids and what they need to be doing along with my own workload, sans schedule. When the kids are off from school for a week here and there, I almost always drop the schedule just to give everyone a break. It’s super fun, but I become kind of like a baby who sits and drools all day. I get to enjoy the kids in out-of-ordinary ways which is completely worth it, but my family tends to live without clean clothes, home-cooked meals that move past PB&J, and baths. While that’s actually awesome for a week or so, it obviously wouldn’t work on a regular basis. I have many friends who are super stars at having zero routine in place and get more done in a day than I can in a week. And I despise admire them for it. I was not gifted for the same calling. And I’m good with that.
We use routines and schedules, but only so far as they help us. Bill and I later in this series are actually going to post what the day would look like if he stayed home with the kids instead of me to display how absolutely different we are in this area. And you know what? Our family often follows Bill’s “schedule” on the weekends, and they are some of the sweetest, most gospel-centered moments we have together. Regardless of whether you use a schedule, the goal of each day is seeing Jesus more clearly. If schedules help us do that, then great. If not, then great. And despite my temptation to savior-ize schedules, they still help keep me from just sitting and drooling while the kids rampage the house.
Monday I’ll pick up with some tips on how I go about plugging things in my beloved excel file.