Thursday, January 08, 2009

Breaking Old Patterns

Proverbs 16:3 (New International Version)
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed

"If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting."

It was Sunday night and as I anticipated seriously starting back to work in the morning, I knew that it was crunch time. It had been a restful week since Christmas--a week in which I began to adopt new patterns. The week had been like a booster rocket to my determination to get enough sleep, embrace the gift of Sabbath and guard a Sacred Hour. But on Monday morning I would hit the ground running, and I knew that unless I was deliberate in shaking up my normal patterns, I would be sunk.

I had a sudden flash of inspiration. "If I don't do anything differently, nothing different is going to happen." OK, OK. I never claimed to be a genius.

Maybe it was Sunday morning's sermon at church that got me thinking about all of this. It was from Luke 5:36-38 and was all about not putting new wine into old wine skins. "My habits are old wine skins," I thought, "I have to create new ones to support new ways of being."

So I decided to shake up my morning routine to improve my chances of change.

Most of us never think about our routines, but we do the same things every day in the same order and I am equally predictable. I knew that to make it all work I would have to get up early, by 5.00. But then what? I thought about it and decided to go radical. I decided to not shower, dress and put on my make up before having my Sacred Hour. Don't laugh. I always do these things before facing the world!

So, I have crept down in the dark, put on the coffee, thrown on a long cardigan and then headed for my lamp-lit arm chair with a blanket, Bible and books. The hour has flown by fast and the timing of everything else after it has gone amazingly well.

My friend Joanna of God with Us Finding Joy , when reading some of the blog posts here last week; wrote to ask whether I had read Mark Buchanan's book, The Rest of God . The book happened to be sitting on my "to read," bookshelf, so I have started it. Wow, what an encouraging book to be reading right now. I will end for today with a quote that emphasizes the need for new patterns. Mark writes about Zaccheus the despised tax collector, who upon becoming a believer in Christ, radically changed his life:

He embraces a practice that embodies and rehearses his new way of seeing...first you think differently, then you act differently. First you shift the imagination with which you perceive this world, and then you enact gestures with which you honor it.

I'm all for that. Breaking old patterns; holding fast to the new.


Marilyn said...

INTENTIONALITY is essential! Congratulations!

Good intentions and ACTING with intentionality are two different things. I need regular reminders of this. Thanks!

Also, as a fellow early-morning 'get up and ready' person, I'm sure it was out of your comfort zone to move forward without first getting yourself ready for public viewing. I've found that just about ANY significant and worthwhile change I want to make requires a push out of my comfort zone, at least at first....until the new routine becomes comfortable.

Do others find that to be true?

Susan said...

Wow, B'a. Meeting up with the King of Kings without makeup? You ARE serious about this, aren't you? :)

Belinda said...

You guys, you made me laugh! Marilyn made me feel think of a dead body "getting ready for public viewing," My mind works in such weird ways!:) And Susan, no, The King of Kings doesn't care what I look like, but I was worried about Paul. To my surprise he didn't seem to mind the "wild look." Ha ha!

Susan said...

Well, then it's about time you tried it! (The wild look.) It's always worked for me! :) No, wait a second. You're trying to ELIMINATE distractions, aren't you? Oh, well, you'll figure it out.

Seriously, all the best with your endeavours to build these disciplines into your life. Looking forward to your sharing of all the fruit! You're going to have to change your email to "more abundant bananas"... :)

Joanna Mallory said...

"If I don't do anything differently, nothing different is going to happen." - Belinda, there's a lot of wisdom in that, and in the creating new patterns. The LORD bless you and help you in developing them as He develops you.

Enjoy The Rest of God.

Marilyn, I agree about the pushing out of comfort zones, until they become comfortable. One wise friend says when the new way becomes comfortable, God shakes things up again so she has to find a new way -- not to be mean, but to keep her alert.