Breaking Routine

Give them something new.

What separates us from animals?

My son Troy says it is our thumbs. His cats wouldn’t need or want him if they had thumbs and could open their own cans of food and scratch their own chins.

Psychologists say it is mnemonic cognition – we can remember the past and project into the future. We abstract metaphysical essences from perceptions, recombine them into concepts, and retain our memory of those concepts. Without concepts we, like animals, would have nothing but an “eternal present.”

I’m wondering if it has to do with routine.

Carey and I have two little inside dogs. To be more accurate, Carey graciously inherited two little dogs when she agreed to marry me.

Our little dogs are very much creatures of routine. They wake at sunrise and want to go to bed about 8 p.m. They wag their tails and want to go for a walk every time I put my shoes on.

Though they will eat anything at any time, they come ask me to feed them precisely at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. – even though people think that dogs can’t tell time.

On our trip to Knoxville last weekend, I realized that I, too, like routine. When it was after 6 a.m. and the dogs weren’t asking to be fed (they were visiting Carey’s parents,) I was uncomfortable.

I didn’t have “my” coffee grinder, “my” coffee, or “my” coffee press. My only umbilical cord was that I still had my smartphone so I could still check the weather.

Carey and I were in Knoxville to visit and help with our grandbaby Corban, three months old today. He was awake, so I had a totally different reason to get up and start my day. Different morning activities kept Carey and me from our normal morning time talking about our dreams and about God.

I told myself that breaking my routine was keeping me from God.

But He told me He was still right beside me. He told me that I was in a different place, so I could look at Him from a different place. He said I could enjoy it, that I might see a different side of Him.

What I saw was that if I do the same thing every day, I don’t ask Him what to do next. My comforts, my routines, can keep me from looking to God for His best for that day, for that moment.

If it worked for me yesterday, it will probably work for me today. But if I don’t ask Him about today, I will repeat yesterday with no change, no growth.

I won’t bring in more of His kingdom, I’ll just keep the status quo. That’s not what I want. That’s not what He wants.

You can’t remove all the need in the world today but there are lots of ways you can help. Ask God how you can give a thumbs up to the concept of breaking your routine to move further into your eternal future.

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