It’s So Easy to Fall Back into Routines

I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

   and rivers in the desert. 

Isaiah 43:19 NRSV

A teacher describes moving the location of a favorite activity in her classroom. The toddlers in her care kept moving the activity back to its original location. Finally, she gave in to their persistence.

The light switch in the dining room of a house never seems to be in the right place because the switch in the man’s growing up home was on the other wall.

After months and years of working hard to eat healthy foods of reasonable quantities, a woman goes on vacation and returns overeating in her daily routine.

It’s so easy to fall back into routines.

Fresh out of college, my wife followed me to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I lost that job less than two-years later. Since that time I have followed Maggie around the country as her profession and vocation called her. I am blessed by lifetime friends in places as divergent as New York and West Virginia. I have gotten into the habit of following Maggie, my wife.

After spending three years in seminary, commuting 650 miles each week or being separated from Maggie for weeks at a time, I heard a powerful call to do a new thing in Portland. As I followed the Holy Spirit’s luring Maggie followed me. This has been a new experience for me; to be the one moving this ship of marriage forward.

To make this transition Maggie took a position that paid minimally but in the direction she discerns a call. This work of hers, helped us get to Portland. In order to pay the bills, I began working in my previous profession: early childhood education. The hours increased and my focus fell away from my purpose in being here.

It’s so easy to fall back into routines.

Maggie recently accepted a position that pays a living wage. This new position will enable me to back off on the number of hours I am working to keep our financial ship in afloat. Still, I hesitate. As I explained to Maggie last night, “The problem is these are not theoretical children. These are children whom I love. Leaving them is hard even though I know it is where I’m being called.”

I have spent three decades of my life deeply committed to children and families in very concrete ways. But God has issued a new claim, a new direction for my life. It is a call that excites me but it is so easy to do what I’ve always done. 

Creating God,

Weep with me as I continue to let go,
  not just of the things,
  but of ideas, people, & self-image.

Strengthen me with the will to do the new thing.
  Give me the wisdom to see the ways the old undergird the new.

Nourish me with the drive to co-create with you in this place.
  Give me the dexterity on my feet to respond to a changing world.

For you are the love which this world craves in this time.


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