the blossoms of routine

I’ve always hated people that say they are addicted to exercise or any other thing that I considered a burden and a chore and an unpleasant necessity of life.

(OK, not HATED them, but definitely could not relate.)

And I still can’t relate. Scripture is a chore, prayer a task, exercise a burden. My natural inclination is to watch the Food Network while eating ice-cream  and to count  leisurely walking as cardio.

I’ve been waiting thirty years for that NOT TO BE SO. Also, it’s a slippery dance between desire and doing it anyway and legalism and discipline. I’ve been bouncing back and forth, to and fro, my whole life.

Learning to sleep again has required a lot of routine and discipline. I do certain things because I want sleep almost more than anything. I want my life to be back to normal. I don’t want to be the first one to leave birthday parties. I don’t want to have to ask people to pray that I can do something my body was made to do. I don’t want to have to take pills. I want freedom.

My psychiatrist asked me to do “mindful meditation” before bed. This has turned into reading Seeking God ‘s Face after medication, before sleep. He asked me to exercise and suddenly all of my excuses flew out the window and I do a routine in the living room during nap time.

Learning to sleep again includes two things I know are good for me, yet I fight against. Perhaps it is the grace of God to take me on this journey. Maybe he knew the only way to bring these sweet disciplines into my life are if my sleep and sanity depended on it.

Because sometimes spiritual rewards are too foggy (yet if only I could see with my earth- turned eyes the wonderful beauty ), too abstract for me. I’ve always known that if I want to hear God, I have to sit in quiet regularly. But I have never been consistent because it is a slow and unimpressive work.

Instead of a suffering, maybe this anxiety and sleeplessness are building something in me that I have never been able to do. Do disciplines help change who we are? Do our routines shape us? If so, I am forever grateful for this. I’ve worried my daughter would have an inconsistent mother who often “forgot” to pray for her.

Maybe one day I will grow beyond these practices and not need them so desperately. But I hope by then, that my heart is bent towards them forever.

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“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

(Duet. 33:12)

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