I'm not sure what your evening routine is with kiddos but here’s an example recently:
7:30p Court: "Alright guys, let's start getting ready for bed"
7:32p Impromptu dance party in the living room
7:45p Me: "Okay, that was fun, now let's get ready for bed"
7:51p Loud noises and possibly the sound of things breaking
7:52p Me: "GUYS... WHY ARE YOU YELLING!?"
7:55p Court: "Did you remember to get your drink or apple?" (Yes, they love apples)
8:01p Kids: "Dad, will you read a chapter of our book tonight"
8:02p Me: "Did you guys brush your teeth tonight?"
Me: "No you did not"
Kids: "Yes we did"
Me: "Do it again then"
8:03p Kids: "Done"
Me: "Everybody back to the bathroom…"
8:15p Kids asleep… IN OUR DREAMS!!!
It was here that I noticed something… At some point we started assuming our kids knew the routine for bed and believed they did it well each time. And if I were being very honest, I would have to admit that more often than not I’m not very vigilant or concerned with the process as much as I just need them down and soon!! Sure, at 8, 7 & 4 we should be getting close, at least, for two of them but that doesn’t mean what happened next wasn’t necessary. Courtney and I began going over “Bathroom 101.” We walked through ‘washing hands’, ‘showering’, ‘combing’, ‘brushing’ and even ‘wiping’ (no stone left unturned here). It turned into a pretty fun time and one I will remember forever because it was exactly the word picture I was looking for to articulate where I am at in my spiritual journey.
Though I know I’m supposed to be reading my Bible, praying, sharing God's love, etc. Somewhere along the way it had become just the "routine" and over time had been dwindled down to the bare basics of a list. I would pray every day, I would try and share God's love both in action and word, I would even check the list with some Bible reading in the morning to get my day "started right." But I was missing the intent… All of those, to use some Christianese, spiritual disciplines were well and good and I believe even essential to keep a solid commitment to God in "dry times." However, because they were just things I did to start my day, I treated them as such, just brushing my teeth for 7 seconds to say I had and not getting the real point (or benefit) of taking my time and doing it well.
Hear me clearly… I don't have it all together! I'm not even completely through this period right now. I do know that I don't want to just have a meaningless checklist but a real relationship with the Creator of the universe. This week, I'm excited again for reading God's living Word praying for my heart to be moved closer to His story. This week, I'm focused on reading other author's thoughts on discipline and truth. This week, I'm praying for change and will not back down until it happens. This week, I focus on my physical body and my spiritual body. My hope is that 'this week' turns into a month, that turns into a year, that continues for a new season in my life.
May God continue to reveal Himself in mighty ways in your life. May we be looking for the incredible ways Jesus continues to transform lives. May we lean not on our own understanding but in His Spirit to guide us. May we move beyond the checklist and into relationship this week. May we listen as You lead!!