As a kid, I was giddy when the time came each summer to buy school supplies. Throughout high school and then college, I excitedly anticipated my new class schedule. With that coveted class schedule in hand, I hurried next to the university bookstore anxious to handpick each textbook. For me, it was literally walking into a candy store. Back at the dorm with my new stack of books, I thumbed through the pages savoring that fresh scent of a new book and contemplated all the new possibilities and information I’d discover within those pages. Yes, I do love my books!
Back-to-school, it’s an annual tradition for kids and parents alike. After the fun of a carefree summer, parents reinstate bed time curfews and calendars begin to fill with school and extracurricular schedules. Those relaxed and carefree days of summer fade away to organization and schedules. Routines. From preschoolers to grandparents, the annual trek back-to-school marks the return of routine for everyone.
We’re a few weeks into school now and fall is just around the corner. First day tears and timidity have been replaced with new friends and teachers. Class schedules are set, Friday night football has returned, activities are scheduled, and bedtime curfews established for the young ones. If you listen closely, you’ll hear an audible sigh of relief in the rhythm and routine of each day.
But did you include God in your routine?
As pilgrims we were encouraged to pursue our relationship with God on a deeper level to become stronger and more effective church leaders. As the days draw shorter and I transition to fall, I ponder my own routine and one Emmaus talk comes to mind.
Life in Piety.
Maybe you recall it this way–the first leg of that three-legged stool.
I didn’t know the speaker, but she spoke of living our whole life with God. Not momentary, but wholly living a life of genuine openness to God. Choosing a relationship with God as our priority. I was mesmerized. She spoke quietly, but her message was filled with such certainty. I sensed she didn’t just speak those words; she actually lived those words. Within minutes I knew I wanted to be just like her.
“A life in piety becomes a life joyfully lived in God’s grace,” she urged.
I wanted what she had.
Sitting in that conference room, we all learned that a life in piety is pursued through prayer, searching the Scriptures, meditation, worship, communion, spiritual direction, and journaling. Each of these activities allow us to personally relate to God and results in a life centered on Christ. That list sounds long and it may feel overwhelming, but here’s the key.
Establish a routine.
As you transitioned into your back-to-school routine, did you include quiet time with God? Did you include time to pray with your children as you tuck them into bed? Does your family read the Bible together? Does your meal routine include prayer? How do you spend your time as you wait in the school drop off or pickup line?
If your routine doesn’t include time with God, now is the perfect time to revise your back-to-school routine to schedule that time and plan those activities. Maybe it’s tucking a 30-day devotional in your car console or downloading a Bible app on your phone to read while you’re waiting in that line. Maybe it’s setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier, so you can read God’s word in the morning quiet before the stresses of the day unfold in rapid fire. Or maybe it’s tucking your kids into bed 10 minutes earlier with a bedtime prayer, then spending time with your spouse to reflect on the blessings of that day.
When you carve time into your routine for these Christ-focused activities, you’re pursuing a life in piety. You’ll soon begin to experience a life joyfully lived in God’s grace.
Together in Christ,
P.S. I’m compiling a list of resources to help you include Christ-focused activities into your routine. Check back soon! Or, better yet, subscribe to my website by providing your email address in the “Follow Me” section and you’ll receive that list of resources directly in your inbox!