I am a woman of routine. I have habits that map out most of my days- choosing the week's outfits, making my bed, grocery shopping, entering the first five minutes of work, and enjoying family dinners. I love implementing new regularly scheduled activities to help keep me moving forward as well as keep me grounded when my day goes awry.

Routines bring me comfort in a world of chaos. When my dad died, I grabbed hold of a daily routine that helped my mom and me through each day. 

After 9 years of marriage, I have learned that my husband is not one for routines. They hinder his creativity and spontaneity. He prefers to do things as they are needed or whenever he notices. He doesn't have a set time to take out the trash or a specific day to pay the bills (as long as they're not late). He eats lunch when he is hungry or is finished a project (which may be 2pm). 

I have come to understand that routines have the potential to be both beneficial and suffocating. They can prioritize the most important things about your day or keep you from experiencing something extraordinary. They bring consistency, predicability, and stability, but may keep me too set in my ways, irritable of interruptions, and caught off guard by changes. 

Jesus, in his amazingness, is both a man of routine and anything but routine. The Word calls Him one who never changes and the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet in the same pages, God speaks of His unpredictable healing process, His patience in every interruption, and his unexpected responses to questions. 

In all things, our aim is to be more like Christ. So today, if you find yourself to be a person of routine, I challenge you to change it up and do something spontaneous. Respond differently than your natural tendency. Consider each interruption as an opportunity to see God use you. On the other hand, if your lean is toward spontaneity, maybe consider setting a new routine in place that will help bring consistency and organization. 

Your Turn: Routines- do you love them or resist them? 

One Thing at at Time

God has been revealing to me how important it is to slow down and be present in the moment. In this season of Advent, (check out this amazing book), I am challenged to wait on, pause for, kneel before, and stop to adore my Savior.  

As assistants, we are skilled in multi-tasking, completing projects while taking notes in meetings and getting out emails. But if we aren’t careful, multi-tasking becomes a way of life and we can lose focus on what’s before us. We have to avoid letting multi-tasking bleed into our being.(Sidenote- As I end 2017, it is so amazing to see God bring my attention back to what he has been trying to teach me all year on how to focus, have fun and build my faith).

Here are some examples:

-       Texting/drinking coffee/putting on makeup/eating breakfast while driving

-       Thinking about a previous conversation or pressing task while talking with someone

-       Writing cards while watching TV

-       Doing work while playing with my kids

It is hard to even write these down because in my head I think “none of these are really that bad and it helps me to get more done in my day”. But research shows (and my father in law sends me the articles to prove it) that multitasking is bad for your brain and your life. We will have difficulty doing the task in front of us with excellence; our body and minds have to be in sync. So in this sacred season I am going to work on (breaking this habit will be hard) doing one thing at a time. I may not DO as much, but what I get done will be done WELL. 

Tactful Timing

Many assistants I know have a regularly scheduled meeting with their supervisor, but that is not feasible for my boss and me. I am the only one to blame for not setting our time together since I help to block out his appointments. This is mostly because I tend to sacrifice this meeting time for when people  just need "15 minutes". So instead, I have an ongoing list of questions that I can quickly access whenever my boss is able to meet with me.

However, one thing I am not very good at is gauging the best timing for more difficult questions or serious topics.

For example: Wednesdays are set aside for my pastor to prepare the Sunday sermon. When he came in to the office, he asked me to connect about a few receipts and items to follow up on before he got to studying. I pulled out my list and used this opportunity to ask some quick questions. But while I was on a roll, I dropped a thoughtfully heavy topic regarding our structure/procedures. This was not an easy topic and it was absolutely the wrong time to ask. He was just about to study for a message and I left him with a topic that could easily linger in the forefront of his mind, and keep him from focusing on what is more urgent and important. 

So this blog post is less about advice on "how to" and instead a question of "how do you".  All I have to offer are these proverbs: 

Proverbs 10:14 NLT- Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

Proverbs 17:28 NLT- Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

Proverbs 21:23 NLT- Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.

Your Turn: What are your tactics of tactful timing for addressing difficult topics with your boss?