When I was a young woman I rebelled against the traditional, the normative, and the routine. I didn’t think I should ever do something just because it was what was expected of me; in many ways this was good, but I also wasn’t able to see where some of these things might be helpful to me. One of my personality strengths is that I love to be spontaneous, unpredictable, and fun. I’m able to “wing it” with ease and I’ve always said, “I don’t make plans. You can make plans, then you can turn to me when your plans fall through!”
I especially hated the idea of disciplined living. I’m not going to just “go through the motions” if I don’t feel like doing something. If I WANTED to, I would, but if my heart wasn’t in it, then I thought it would be useless and empty. “I don’t want to be a hypocrite!”
So this is what I’ve learned the last few decades:
- Routines are our friends! Setting up structure and doing it in a disciplined way creates habits, and good habits serve us well.
- “Going through the motions” is called PRACTICE. If I practice my guitar or piano regularly, then I can play them well when I need to. If I practice my disciplines regularly, then I will be able to function well when I need to.
- Daily routines keep my house clean, functional, and beautiful. They don’t take very much energy, and having a usable and pretty home energizes me in return.
- Routines don’t stifle spontaneity, they make spontaneity possible! When I have the sudden urge to do something creative, I have wide open spaces to work in, and I can trust myself to clean up after myself when I’m done.
The “circular work” of homemaking can seem unrelenting and unrewarding, like laundry that always needs be to done AGAIN. But it is this circular work that forms the foundation of everything else I might have on my heart to do. Now THAT’s a good thing!
(Here’s a link to a great lady who inspired me to learn household routines: http://www.flylady.net)