“The often unseen and unsung ways we spend our time are what form us.”
— tish harrison warren
// ritual // an action arising from convention or habit
We took some time away this past weekend to think and plan and strategize for the year ahead. It’s something we try to do every January, and I highly recommend it! One of the things on my mind was habit and ritual. I recently finished up this book (which I highly recommend!), and the importance of being intentional with the “ordinary” was not lost on me.
Someone once said, “Character is formed in good habits,” and I wholeheartedly agree. As Warren says, “Our hearts and our loves are shaped by what we do again and again and again… it’s in the dailiness of the Christian faith — the making the bed, the doing the dishes, the praying for our enemies, the reading the Bible, the quiet, the small — that God’s transformation takes root and grows.” Kinda changes the way you think about the ordinary, right? The day in, day out of sticking with a task or plan is invaluable. The gift of that persistence becoming habit is a gift indeed.
And so, I’m starting off 2018 seeking to cultivate some new habits with my time… I’m excited about the 5-10 minutes before we walk out the door set aside to read a devotional with the 3 littles; the hour plus of “no phone zone” for the whole family from 6:45-8, so we can eat and talk together undistracted; and the before bed-time reading for James and I every night.
For some people, the making of the plan is the challenge. Taking the time to sit and break all the big things down to small manageable action items. For others, the challenge is sticking to that plan. Which is more where I live — I can craft beautiful schedules all day long, but when that alarm goes off Monday morning? Ah, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Sticking with something so long that it becomes a habit. Second nature. I think with most things, we just don’t make the effort to stick with something long enough to see the fruit. Such are the perils of living in this age of distraction. (Pulling my phone out of my pocket every moment of down time is definitely a habit for me. One I would prefer to break.) Thanks to social media, we are constantly aware of each other’s accomplishments. What we cannot see is all the effort and diligence and plain old hard work it takes to get to that place of making “it” look easy.
Take meal planning. I’ve been cooking dinners going on 18 years now, and my mom can attest I was not a stellar cook when I first started. But here’s the thing, you do something 18 years, day in, day out and eventually you are going to get better at it. You will find a rhythm, a system that works for you. Like the comfort of a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The key is starting somewhere and sticking with it. Making a plan and really doing it. I’ve had seasons of not planning, and seasons of cooking for a month a time, and seasons where I was lucky to get anything of substance on the table. But the thing is, every night you have to eat, right? It will be what you make of it. On that note, if you’ve made it this far in my ramble…
I’m working on a post about meal planning/dinner making and would LOVE your feedback :
——-> What is your greatest hindrance to meal planning? (time, not sure where to start, work involved)
——-> Any questions for me about this topic?
I would also love to hear… what helps you stick with a plan, schedule, goal or otherwise? I’m thoroughly enjoying this series on the topic by Trillia Newbell.
And speaking of plans, my goal is to post here at least 3x a week… let’s see if I can stick with that one!