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I love downloading daily routine lists because I’m prone to feeling like I will finally have my life organized if I follow someone else’s perfect morning schedule or daily rhythms. I follow them for a while, but they never end up being sustainable. The truth is, there is no perfect daily routine for every person. Instead, when creating sustainable, Christ-Centered routines, we should follow these ten principles.
1. Recognize that all your work should be done for God’s glory
1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
“As an extension of God’s creative work, the Christian’s labor has its orientation toward God himself, and we must ask how it can be done distinctively and for his glory.” – Every Good Endeavor: Timothy Keller, pg 186-187
A right understanding of why we work, performing even the most mundane routines, is an essential starting point. Mama, you were created for God’s glory and, if you are a believer, you are a new creation with a distinct purpose. The Gospel changes everything which means your mundane moments matter.
Our daily routines should be distinct from that of unbelievers because they should be rooted in our purpose. We work hard, well, and for the glory of God.
2. Christ-centered routines are done excellently and for your neighbor’s good
“As an extension of God’s providential work, our labor has its orientation toward our neighbor, and we must ask how it can be done excellently and for his or her good.” Every Good Endeavor: Timothy Keller, pg 186-187
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:15-17
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10
As we seek to do all things for God’s glory, we quickly learn that means we extend His love to those around us. Taking care of others is one way we respond to and demonstrate God’s love. When our daily routines become selfish, focusing purely on our own wants and needs, we fail to display God’s glory to the world.
3. Christ-Centered Routines Don’t Save You
“All of us are haunted by the work under the work – that need to prove and save ourselves, to gain a sense of worth and identity. But if we can experience gospel-rest in our hearts, if we can be free from the need to earn our salvation through our work, we will have a deep reservoir of refreshment that continually rejuvenates us, restores our perspective, and renews our passion.” Every Good Endeavor: Keller: 242
Why are we still striving to prove our worth as moms when we can find freedom in the Gospel? – Less is More: God’s expectations vs the World’s
Having the “perfect” routine will not save you, will not cause God to love you more, and should never be the source of your identity. Routines and daily rhythms should only be viewed as tools – tools you can use to help you stay focused on the things that matter most. Take a moment to remind yourself of the Gospel and your identity in Christ.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
4. Evaluate your Expectations
Because God is perfectly good, His commands for our lives and His expectations are also perfectly good. Unlike worldly expectations of motherhood that feel both never-ending yet always changing, God has clearly made known His desires for us through the Bible. – Less is More: God’s expectations vs the World’s
Make a list of everything you think should be included in your daily routine. Now, pray through each thing, maybe even writing verses next to them that support them. Consider whether your supposed Christ-centered routines are Biblical or are influenced by culture.
“In Jesus’ words, we find a clue – a powerful Truth that sets us free from the bondage of hurry and frustration about all we have to do. Notice what work Jesus completed in the thirty-three years He was here on the earth: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” That is the secret. Jesus didn’t finish everything His disciples wanted Him to do. (Some of them were hoping He would overthrow the Roman government!) He didn’t finish everything the multitudes wanted Him to do. (There were still people who were sick and lonely and dying). But He did finish the work the God gave Him to do…
The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities that are not on His agenda for me. When I establish my own agenda or let others determine the priorities for my life, rather than taking time to discern what it is that God wants me to do, I end up buried under piles of half-finished, poorly done, or never-attempted projects and tasks. I live with guilt, frustration, and haste, rather than enjoying the peaceful, well-ordered life that He intends.” – Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free: Nancy Leigh DeMoss – pg 118-119
5. Pray Over Your Daily Routines
In her book, Life Management for Busy Women, Elizabeth George includes a list of seven things to pray as you seek to live out God’s plan. The first three encourage you to pray over and through your priorities – asking God what His will is during this time of your life, what you should be doing to accomplish that purpose, and when you should be doing those tasks.
Take time also to pray that God would be glorified through your schedule, that it would be filled with truly Christ-centered routines. Pray that you would work hard and show love to others, not being selfish with your time. Play also that you would rest in the saving work of Christ, trusting your sovereign God to order your steps.
6. Write Down Your Current Routines
You may think that you don’t have any daily routines, but everyone has tasks they perform each day. Maybe your phone alarm goes off at 6:30 am, you hit snooze, wake up to the baby crying, stumble into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee, and scroll Instagram while making breakfast. It might not be a routine you see offered as a free printable, but it’s still a routine. Write down what your day typically looks like, then take the time to evaluate these daily rhythms.
You may find Elizabeth George’s prayers/questions helpful here as you determine if your routines are helping you accomplish your purpose as a Christian.
7. Be Flexible
When I made my daily schedule as a new mom to a toddler, I quickly learned that I couldn’t accomplish all that I wished to. We were in survival mode. Whether it’s a new child, illness, or moving, there are times in our lives where we must go back to the basics. Over time, we should change our routines as we get involved in different ministries, our kids grow, or those around us need more help.
Remember, there is no one perfect Christ-centered routine.
8. Incorporate rest
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. – Mark 1:35
“When all Capernaum waited for his healing touch, he left for a desolate place to pray. And when the disciples told him to get back to work, he left for another town to preach. Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important. He understood that all the good things he could do were not necessarily the things he ought to do. It’s easy to assume that Jesus had fewer pressures on his time than we do. You may think to yourself, “Look, it’s nice that Jesus could sneak away in the morning to pray, but he didn’t have to get the kids’ breakfast….
Don’t think Jesus can’t sympathize with your busyness. You have bills that need to be paid? Jesus had lepers who wanted to be healed. You have kids screaming for you? Jesus had demons calling him by name. You have stress in your life? Jesus taught large crowds all over Judea and Galilee with people constantly trying to touch him, trick him, and kill him. He had every reason to be run over by a hundred expectations and a thousand great opportunities. And yet, he stayed on mission.” – Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem – Kevin DeYoung
Are there moments in your routine where you are too busy? Do you overcommit, even to “good” things?
Even the Savior of the world stopped to rest. You have physical limits. Recognize them.
And when you rest, rest well. “If you are able to take a moment of solitude, use it wisely. Fill yourself up with words of truth from the Scripture. Meditate on these words throughout your day.” – Three Tips for the Introverted Mother Struggling to Maintain her Sanity
9. Create Family Oriented Christ-Centered Routines
Research shows that family routines and rituals support early childhood development in multiple areas including speech, emotional connection, and behavior. (Family Routines and Rituals – citation) Beyond a secular perspective, God uses these moments to grow us and our children. As you create your routines, consider how they can give God glory not just through you but through your whole family.
“When I’m rocking a child to sleep for the thousandth night in a row, I can have faith that God can use that everyday moment to bring about his will for our lives. When I’m talking to my children at the breakfast table while someone squeezes too much syrup on their waffles, I can have faith that those conversations plant seeds that I can’t see.” Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler; pg 84
10. Start Small
Change up your morning routine to include less time on your phone and more time in the Word. Once that is a more consistent habit, find another area in which you struggle with busyness, unnecessary expectations, or poor priorities. Reevaluate and craft new routines in one area at a time. Creating sustainable, Christ-centered routines is part of a life of endurance.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. – Hebrews 12:1-3
What tips for Christ-centered routines do you have?