I’m the one who lays my clothes out the night before, makes my lunch and my husband's lunches for the following day at about 5:00 the previous afternoon, and plans every outing we do with our friends. The “What do you wanna do? I don’t know, what do you wanna do?” conversation almost never happens with us! I am nothing if not prepared.
Which is probably why God constantly knocks me off balance!
Sometimes, I think it’s good to get a little wobbly.
Do you ever feel like you just can’t get ahead? That you’re running on the treadmill of life, on the same cycle over and over? You wake up, go to work, pay the bills (after wondering how you’re going to pay them!) come home, cook dinner, do dishes, do laundry, prepare for the next day, go to sleep, wake up… it never ends. And if we’re not careful, we can put our trust in our routine and not in the God who woke us up that morning.
I always have a load of laundry going. Something is always in the washer, dryer, or chair waiting to be hung up. It’s the only way I can keep up. It’s my routine. I depend on that cycle. Otherwise, Hubby wakes up and has no clean Wranglers for work. Same with the dishes. If we don’t wash dishes after every meal (yes, our dishwasher broke a year ago) then they back up and take over the kitchen. (Usually accompanied by a “Oh my, what is that smell” type of stench!)
These household routines work great when it comes to productivity. But they do nothing to promote creativity. It's so easy to keep jogging on that same treadmill – sleep, work, eat, chores, sleep, work, eat, chores – until we’re almost in a trance. Our legs churn automatically, our mind zones out, we perform like robots. The house might be clean, but did we kiss our spouse today? The dishes might be done, but did we have a meaningful conversation? The laundry might be folded, but did we stop to share a hug? The Treadmill Trance gets things accomplished, sure. But what does it do for our passions? Our marriages? Our mental and emotional stimulation?
My name is Betsy St. Amant, and I’m a Treadmiller.
In this article, I’m “preachin’ to the choir.” I’ll be the first to admit that I often become so ensnared in routine that I tend to forget my marriage is more important than vacuuming the bathroom rugs. That my love for my husband overrides my desire to keep things neat and homey. There’s nothing wrong with the wife creating a warm, comfortable home – but remember why you’re doing it in the first place…for your husband! And I can guarantee you that some nights, he’d rather you snuggle on the couch and channel surf with him than fold his socks.
If any of this speaks to your heart, maybe it’s time to take the gentle nudge from God and let your routine be thrown off balance for awhile!
We’ve seen how being a Treadmiller can be damaging to our marriages – but what about to our spiritual lives? If we’re so overcome by routine, in caring for our homes, our children, our spouses, etc., then how can we expect to make time for God? The sad thing is… we often don’t.
If that realization doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will. What’s more important to the God who created us? A clean kitchen floor, or a heart on fire for Him? What do you think makes our Heavenly Father smile with approval? A dust free living room or a Bible creased with use?
Breaking the Trance
Please understand me. There is nothing wrong with keeping a neat house or sticking to a routine, whether that’s with chores, work, or exercise. But don’t let that routine run your life. Don’t miss out on time with your spouse, family, or your God because of the endless to-do list in your mind. It’s good to work, it’s good to be organized and neat, it’s good to run a household or be a good employee - but it’s also good to rest and rejuvenate.
Have you been running too long? Does your body need a break? Is your mind exhausted? I hereby give you permission to put down the rag and pick up a bonbon!
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves and for our loved ones is just stop. Step away from the routine, crash on the couch, and just breathe in the Lord’s presence. It’s not okay to be a slacker or a sloth. The Bible warns against such laziness. But Jesus also tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Anyone else need to jump off the treadmill with me today? I see a giant box of chocolate with our names on it…and a Bible just waiting to be read.
Betsy Ann St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. Betsy has a bachelor's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. Her first published Christian Fiction novel, Midnight Angel, is now available on www.amazon.com. You can contact her at [email protected].