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Fall Routines, Tired Achievers, and All Things Grace

Here’s the thing. The whole idea of “getting back into the swing of things” sometimes feels a little more like I missed the swing and landed hard in the dirt. The school schedules and work schedules can hit hard, leaving you a little bleary eyed and wistfully remembering the lazy summer days with less agendas. Fall routines can just about make you fall down in the whirlwind of it all.

We live driven lives. Eager to be productive, use our time well, and make the most of each day we get caught in a frenzied motion forward. Do more, complete more, accomplish more. That seems to be our motto. Achievement is our highest goal.

  • Productive mornings
  • Quickly formed plans
  • Checkmarks on the to-do list
  • Flawlessly organized systems
  • Adhered to schedules
  • Smooth and effective routines

Maybe it’s time for these goals to be kicked of the pedestal we have set them on.

Because when achievement becomes our highest goal we find ourselves wrapping our identity in what we’ve accomplished. Whether or not our day was productive has become the measuring stick for the worth and value of our person.

Sometimes productivity needs to be labeled the idol that it is.

And always idols must be destroyed.

What if the first week of the school year wasn’t nearly as unsuccessful as we thought? What if the schedules that weren’t followed, the plans that didn’t work out, the routines that didn’t fall into place, the tired bodies that just weren’t feeling the early mornings – what if they weren’t what determined success?IMG_1348IMG_1575cropped-img_23542.jpgIMG_4292IMG_4441

I’m a self-motivated, routine loving, responsible achiever. I want to use every minute of each day doing significant things, to go above and beyond what I committed to, and I want to find a rhythm that works consistently in order to do these things. By nature, I internally revolt at the idea that my day can still be a good one even if there are mistakes, unfinished tasks, or interrupted agendas.

So basically I’ve set myself up for failure.

Because tell me about a time that your day went exactly as planned. That there were no unexpected upsets or undesired outcomes. That you handled every circumstance, every conversation, every incident with grace and poise. That you went to be that night without a single task that had yet to be accomplished. Tell me about that day and I’ll tell you about the time I strapped rockets to my rollerblades and went all the way to the moon.

So how do we balance the desire to make the most of our time and use our resources and our lives responsibly without raising accomplishment, achievement, and productivity up on that pedestal again? How do we live each day to the fullest without feeling like a failure if we miss a few of the items on the agenda, lose our patience with a loved one, or move slower through our tasks than expected?

I actually don’t have the answer.

{The best thing about blogging as opposed to formal academic writing: you don’t have to provide answers or show supporting research. The idea doesn’t even have to be completed.}

I do know this however: As long as our identities our determined by what we do we are not living in the grace of God. Finished to-do lists, completed lesson plans, cleaned houses, turned in homework – these will never bring actual meaning or satisfaction to your life. But the more we lean into grace the more we will find meaning in our days – no matter how they turn out.

So here’s to a new year – filled with upcoming upsets, mistakes, unfinished tasks, undone to-do lists and sleepy eyes. It won’t make you a failure – you are in Christ.

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