The Routine

by Rhonda, September 04, 2022

The seasons are changing, and there's a new crispness in the air signaling fall is on its way.  My garden is struggling to finish with the last of the fruits for the season.  We had our last summer party this weekend, and when everyone left, we cleaned and closed down the outdoor grill until next summer.  The pool will close soon, and school is back in session.  It feels like the end came so quickly again this year, and the work/school grind is in full effect once again.

Don't get me wrong.  I love fall.  I love it when the leaves change and the temperature falls.  I love warming up next to a fire with a cozy blanket.  I love decorating my front door with a fall wreath, and I photograph the beautifully changing trees obsessively.  Fall is fantastic, and the changing of the seasons is always welcome by me.

But, perhaps my bigger issue is returning to the routine.  School schedules are tough.  Work schedules tend to become more aggressive as we focus on goals for the remainder of the year.  My heart craves the adventure and freedom of summer as it slowly succumbs back into the routine.

Our church had a worship night last week.  Our worship nights consist of reading of scripture and playing of music for an hour and a half.  I look forward to worship nights, because I think a deep requirement within the soul is to worship God with others.  I leave worship nights feeling like a great need has been met inside of me.

At the service, the kids and I sat in front of a family who didn't speak much English.  Two young girls were dressed in colorful dresses and sat between their mother and father.  We nodded to them as we sat down, but couldn't say much more than hello.  As the service kicked off, even though they didn't speak much English, they knew most of the songs being sung.  They sang loudly, very loudly, along with the music.  It was so enjoyable to sit in front of them, listening to them worship with all of their hearts as tears ran down their faces.

I wondered if this is how their church in their home country always worshipped.  I wondered if, when they came to America, they found our services to be a bit watered down and corporate.   I considered how precious this small, faithful family was in God's eyes.  Truth be told, I thought about them a lot.  I wondered how they were doing here, and I thought about how hard life can be here if you don't speak English.

Last weekend, they were still on my mind during our final summer party, hosted at my home.  My sister-in-law is from Peru, so I asked her, "Do you ever wish you were still back home?"

She thought about it for a few minutes.  Then she said, "No, because the opportunities here are better for my kids.  And, I've gotten used to this country, so I am not so homesick anymore."

We sat quietly for a little while, thinking about my question.  Soon, she spoke up again.

"Did you know I joined the gym?"

"I heard that.  Do you like it?"

"Yes.  Because someday the boys are going to be grown and I am going to want to do mission work.  I want to start getting strong for it now, because it takes a lot of strength."

And, there it was.  She's desiring adventure and freedom, too.  What we're both looking for is to see God work in big ways.  Sometimes that's harder to spot in a country of many comforts.  The need for Jesus somehow becomes muted by the race for more money and more things, and I'm as guilty of it as anyone.  

I thought about our upcoming vacation this year.  We're planning to head back to Florida, to see Universal Studios during Christmas.  I wondered what would happen if we took a trip that was more meaningful.  A trip to Israel could be life-changing, or a trip back to Peru with my sister-in-law to help the poor would never be forgotten.  I pondered whether my kids would go for it.

As the party came to a close, I hugged my sister-in-law goodbye.  After listening to her talk about her dreams that day, I got to know her better and I realized we have far more in common than I knew.  The biggest thing we have in common (and always have) is our deep love for God, and our desire to serve Him.  I wondered where it would lead us.  Perhaps our dreams were going to intersect and somehow come together.

Today, I am deflating balloons and taking down decorations from the party.  I have adventure on my mind, and a longing in my heart to see God in a new light, in a new way.   I wonder what would happen if my adventures center around seeking God more than anything else.  What if I approached every day of my life this way, not just a once-a-year vacation?

I finish cleaning and pull a book off of my bookshelf called Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  The following words leap out at me:

When God puts a passion in your heart, whether it be relieving starvation in Africa or education children in the inner city or making movies with redemptive messages, that God-ordained passion becomes your responsibility.

Maybe this nagging need for an adventure pursuing Jesus is more than just a random desire.  Perhaps it is actually my responsibility.  

Only time will tell.

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