Today’s post in our Take One Step Series here on the Art of Adventure blog is written by my writing friend, Christina Hubbard. Be sure to join us now through November to hear from various women about their one small step. It is our hope that you will be encouraged to see your tiny, seemingly insignificant steps everyday as the backdrop for the miraculous, and the pathway of a beautiful adventure. Perhaps God isn’t waiting for us to take adrenaline-pumping, picture-worthy leaps of faith, but to simply put one foot in front of the other, with childlike expectation, everyday. Where is He inviting you to take one step, to break fear’s power, and let Him take care of the outcome?
Routine is my enemy. At least, it has always felt like that. I don’t like waking up at the same time every day or even taking the same path on my daily walk. Variety keeps life exciting! All adventurers thrive on newness: unpaved trails, fresh tastes, and unexperienced cultures are all stories ready to be lived for the first time. Routine seems predictable and boring to me.
Or might it be a surprising catalyst for adventure?
Recently, I was struggling to concentrate on some writing projects. It was smack dab in the middle of school starting. I was frazzled and spent from simply trying to get the kids out the door in the morning. When I sat down to finally get some work done, all I could see was the overwhelming vastness of my ideas. Hours would pass and I still had nothing to show for my efforts. I knew I needed some sort of system, perhaps a small step to keep me motivated.
I found one that sounded semi-doable: a method called the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is to work for 25-minute spurts with 5-minute breaks in between. During breaks, you do something completely different: go get the mail, eat a snack, or flip through a magazine. The aim of this technique is to keep creativity at its peak through variety and focus. I may not like routine, but I can will myself to do just about anything for 25 minutes!
Two of my aims as a poet are to get into God’s Word and read good literature every day. Here’s how I implemented routine via good ‘ole Pomodoro. At 9:30 a. m., I sat down at my kitchen table with a pen, paper, and my phone. First I copied one scripture from a Psalm. Then I wrote down two lines from a poem. That took about ten minutes. For the remaining 15 minutes, I worked on my own poetry. At 9:55, I stopped. I putzed around the house for five minutes: made my bed or reheated my coffee. At 10 a.m., I sat back down and did two more short work sessions on my main writing project.
Through this new routine I was giving my brain a groove to start tracking in, a system to start living out my writing adventures. The demands of school starting and kids complaining stopped hijacking my day. With less decisions about when to write or how to get started, I found the freedom of routine.
This one, small, practiced step of a timed work session is a pace I fall into easily now. Life is full of unpredictability, but I’ve found there is liberation in these simple structured moments.
This past summer, before we embarked on our one-month trip to Israel and Europe, my family and I submitted to the beauty of routine. We planned routes, made bookings, and scheduled our days.
One such glorious moment occurred in Montenegro. Surrounded by lush mountains, my husband and I sipped coffee in an outdoor cafe while the kids splashed in the Adriatic at our feet. We were able to enjoy this unplanned bliss because we had first rid ourselves of the false assumption that adventure is never carefully calculated.
Whether you’re piecing together an epic trip or implementing a new method to finally get to your art with a system like the Pomodoro technique, remember this: habitual activity doesn’t have to be a drag.
Routine brings joy to the adventure. Find presence in the predictable, and let your daily routines be brightly lit lanterns leading the way into the delightful unknown.
Papa God, Show me the sacredness of healthy routines. Let your beautiful adventure unfold in my life as I stay in step with your Spirit today.
If you’d like to catch up on the other Take One Step posts, go here.