Routines are something I naturally gravitate towards. They just feel right. My favorite routine is my morning routine that includes time with God, planning my day, and some kind of exercise.
A routine may not sound very exciting – doing the same thing day in and day out. Sometimes it is flat – free of profound moments. Then suddenly, God shows up in that predictable space with a powerful life changing insight. Nothing routine about that!
For me, routine is about being disciplined. It is about regularly creating that space for God to speak to me and trusting that He is still acting on my behalf even when He is quiet. It is a chance for me to reconnect with what’s most important and begin my day with the right mindset.
Not all routines are daily. Some routines are weekly, like fellowshipping with other believers, or monthly, when I plan and set goals for my businesses.
One routine I have had for the last several years is to choose One Word to focus on, guide, and inspire me for the year. It is always fascinating to me how the word is selected for one reason, but as the year goes on God expands my understanding of my One Word for the year.
This year, my One Word has been “release.” It hangs on my office wall next to my desk with the tagline “Let go of what you can’t change or what isn’t helpful.” In my mind, this word was about saying good-bye to things, decluttering both tangible things and mindsets – loss.
Recently God barged into my routine to reveal a new take on the word release. It isn’t just letting go and leaving a void. No, it is about letting go to make space for the new, better opportunities that He has for me. If I hang on tightly to the old, grabbing hold of the new will be impossible. I can’t have a new lease on life without first giving up what I have now. That’s re-lease!
Letting go can be scary. To surrender is to leave the familiar, behind and embrace the unknown. There is loss, pain, and void. It requires trusting God to fill that void with a new opportunity far better than what I let go of.
Too often my gaze has remained on whatever I let go of. As long as my focus lingers in that direction, I will miss what God has for me. The new opportunity will not look like I expect it to. Often it is not even something I would have picked. My eyes need to be open to the possibilities.
Releasing is not just about learning to let go, it is about learning to embrace the new.
What might you need to release?
1. Material things
Perhaps you have been holding on to stuff; reminders of loved ones or happy times even though they are things that are really just cluttering your space. Or maybe you have let papers accumulate and the thought of sorting through them seems overwhelming. Whatever it is for you, start small. Identify what the things mean to you. Do they need to be put away, donated or tossed?
Does your schedule have you racing from one thing to the next with very little time to pause, reflect, and refresh? Perhaps you need to let go of some of the things you are doing.
When it comes to investing in your current responsibilities, are your commitments realistic? Is it possible that you have spread yourself so thin that you are not actually thriving in any of the things you have committed to doing? Or are a few responsibilities getting the bulk of your attention while others get neglected? With fewer commitments you have the more energy and focus to devote to them. What needs to go in this season?
How you think about things has a profound effect on your life, work, relationships, goals, and more. When negative feelings like dread, fear, or anxiety pop up, it is a clue that it is time for a mindset to go so you can embrace a new way of thinking. Mindsets are sneaky. They step in and guide things without you even knowing it. Without regularly tuning in to how you are feeling, you will miss the subtle influence it is having on your life.
Relationships are one of my top five values. The people in my life are important to me. In spite of the desire of my heart to want to be connected to everyone, the reality is I have a limited capacity to do so. That means I need to be selective about who I chose to give my time to. While I am to lovingly interact with everyone, not everyone needs to have a place in my life.
When you expect life to be a certain way it blinds you to all the many other possibilities. When you expect people to operate in a particular way you will be disappointed and hurt.
Without planning, it is difficult to reach goals and get things done. A key part of being an excellent planner is the ability to flex, adjust, and easily create a new plan. Planning is good! Having rigid plans that you are unwilling to adjust – not so good!
In order to focus the energy and time in your life right now, and maximize your effort, what do you need to release so you have the space for the new and better opportunities God might have in mind for you?