The perfect day, starting with a cup of tea and ending with a book. Filled with mastering a new recipe (something involving chicken, no doubt), writing a short story, going for a run (classic cardio) (just had to google ‘is running cardio’ to make sure), keeping everyone in my life happy, watering a plant that smiles when it sees me, and loving God every second.
And now to this, a typical day in the life of Sarah:
Starting with a cup of tea whilst grumbling to myself about having to put work-appropriate clothes on (because, for some reason, getting changed is a massive inconvenience). Before work involves watching YouTube videos about how to have a clean house and happy children (I do not have any children) and, if I have time after all these smiley toddler videos, I’ll pray. Drive to work, time passes, drive home noticeably hungry. Read while I eat, feel inspired to write a short story, don’t end up writing a short story. Think about going for a run but do two sit-ups instead and wonder how I’ll manage to cook dinner for my future ten children when I don’t like touching raw chicken. I read the Bible before bed and go to sleep.
The perfect balance. Well.
Sometimes my life feels like it’s in pretty good shape. I’m praying and writing and reading and running and my plants are alive.
Other times my life feels like a jumble of sleeping too much and complaining about being tired.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a routine and wanting to make certain things a habit. (Routines are pretty much my life, alright.) But I’m also not going to get angry at myself for prioritising one thing over another. God is always my priority, but outside of that I go through phases. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes I read a lot. Sometimes I exercise – not a lot – and sometimes I bake more.
I like this. As much as that perfect day sounds, well, perfect, I like that I can follow different interests depending on what I feel like. Sometimes going for a run four days a week is what feels great, so I do that. But other days I want to sit and write for hours, which is fulfilling and healthy in a different way.
(And okay, maybe exercise should be a habit and not an interest that comes and goes.)
Our lives change, constantly. In small ways and big ways. Some routines might work wonders for a time, but if there’s a life change that routine might not run so smoothly. I was writing much, much more when I didn’t have a job because I had so much time to fill. Now with my job, that writing routine isn’t effective because I don’t have the same amount of time or energy or headspace.
But I don’t feel guilty about that. I still write as I feel like it, but it’s more of an interest than a habit now. I have new responsibilities, and to only focus on writing would result in me losing my job.
You know, the only time I do feel frustrated or upset or guilty about a change in routine is if I stop prioritising God. Writing and reading – I love them, but if one gets done more than the other I’m not going to cry.
But God? If I spend less time with Him, if He isn’t the centre, life starts slipping.
Because God is the perfect balance. When God is first in my life everything else runs better, regardless of what my habits or interests are or where my relationships are at. If I invite God into my whole life, I’ll know what things to do and when.
Early last year when I didn’t have a job I felt very strongly that God was giving me that time to be creative and to write. He put that motivation in me, teaching me to have fun and not be a perfectionist whilst being disciplined and setting goals in place.
Exercise is a trickier one because I don’t love it like I love writing. But I genuinely do try to help my body because I want to look after myself, and I want to look after the body God’s given me. I also don’t like the feeling of being lazy – you know when you’re being lazy but you don’t stop even though you feel a bit gross? Exercising (even if it is just two sit-ups) helps me from falling into that.
To avoid too much rambling here, my point is this:
Putting God first is much more effective than striving for that perfect routine that’ll make you successful and fulfilled and happy. That aint real. Having good habits and hobbies you love enhance life, but they can’t fill the gap that God’s made for.
On a lighter note, you can all be proud of me because last night – under the supervision of an expert (hi, mum!) – I cooked some chicken. And if that doesn’t make this a good Valentines Day, I don’t know what does.
Well, maybe don’t quote me on that.