Shownotes: Why You Must Avoid Malformed Patterns to Live from God’s Center
This episode is related to episode 018 where we looked at 4 barriers to living from God’s center. The issue of patterns is a major one, hence this episode looks at why you must avoid malformed patterns. They can keep you from living from God’s center.
Our lives consist of patterns. We can just allow them to form haphazardly or we can be intentional in their formation. The patterns that we establish in our lives grow out of our plans. Plans repeated over time become patterns. Over time, ill conceived plans or the absence of planning lead to malformed patterns. These patterns tend to leave God behind, moving us away from God’s center.
This comes down how we order our life—our days, our health, our weeks.
How do you start your day to avoid malformed patterns?
The beginning of the day sets the tone for the rest of our day. So it matters how you start it. The ideal—Taking time to talk with God, hear from God through God’s Word, as we reflected. Journaling may be included. It is a slow ease into the day; a pause before the busyness of life. That’s the ideal. Wouldn’t you agree? You see, that sets us up to receive God’s guidance from the get go and continue through the day in that mode. It really is integral to living from God’s center.
- Not starting with prayer. It can be completely absent or of the token variety. We pray at other times for various reasons and count that as time with God. With a malformed pattern we can start each day without time with God.
- You intend to pray, but you decide to just take a peak at your phone and before you know it, you are working.
- You feel pressured by all that you have to do. You get up and are so consumed by our tasks, appointments, activities that you are in a great rush to get going. You know, those hospital visits, the meetings, the reports to submit, the sermon to write . . . So often it seems like an endless list. You’re up. You’re off.
How do you end your day to avoid malformed patterns?
These things all go together. So is your end-of-day pattern formed or malformed. It helps to have another pause at the end of the day. When you leave enough time to prayerfully process the day that has just ended, do a quick review of the upcoming day, then simply have some resting in God time, it makes the world of difference. You go to bed with a clear mind and heart. You rest better as we go to bed with God on our mind. That’s a pattern formed to live from God’s center.
- Working too late. You are unable to decompress and fully reconnect with God. Thus, you go to bed with everything on your mind. Often, this affects your sleep. Instead, have good boundaries during the day. We talked about priorities and so forth in Episode 018.
- Failing to switch off a device, a source of entertainment, even reading, early enough to have that soul-healthy pause that allows us our God time before we go into bed.
Your health, or lack thereof
This can affect how you wake and sleep. When you’re unhealthy you can experience insomnia, sluggishness in the morning, and so forth. Of course, it can go the other way as well whereby our lack of sleep impacts our health negatively. Thus, attention to our health is important. When we think of health, we think of food. Food does matter. We must eat a balanced diet, paying attention to vegetables, especially the leafy variety. Let’s leave the junk alone. Remember, our body bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We want to put good stuff in so that we can be our best for God and bring glory to God.
- In life, in ministry there is a lot to be done. Without good boundaries, without God’s guidance, you can end up being so rushed that we get into the grab-and-go pattern, where what we grab does not serve us, or ultimately, the ministry well.
- You attend events with different types of food. You accept everything. Learn how to say “no” in a way that honors those who are offering. Could some contexts provide an educational opportunity.
- Stress eating. When our other patterns are distorted, stress is accelerated. We are more prone to engage in unhealthy eating.
Movement to avoid malformed patterns
Movement has to be more than from car to office, to pulpit, to hospital bedsides. If you aren’t doing it, it’s time to create a pattern of regular exercise—walking, stretching, running, biking, weights—whatever your thing is, do it and do it regularly and consistently. Find the best time of day and stick to it. Movement helps with our energy and overall health. As a matter of fact, it is an integral part of being healthy.
- Exercising only once a week.
- No exercise at any time during the week..
A weekly pattern of living to avoid malformed patterns
What about your weekly patterns? Where during the week do you rest, really rest? Which day is your Sabbath day? Even machines need a break. What about you? A week without a Sabbath goes against God’s intentions and does great detriment to our ability to fulfill all that God has placed us to do to, the max. Again, none of us is so indispensable that we cannot live as God laid out. Sabbath is a call to rest, to just be with God, with nature, with self, and with others in unhurried ways.
- Conflating your day off with your Sabbath. Sabbath is more than exchanging one type of activity for another.
- Filling your Sabbath with busyness.
What kind of patterns do you see in your daily and weekly life? Are they well formed or malformed? In other words, are they empowering you to live from God’s center or are they moving you away from it? It’s your choice.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
Take a look at your daily pattern. Do you need to make any changes to make it less malformed and more well-formed? What about the weekly pattern? If you need to make changes, make a note of them and the time by which you will accomplish these changes. Now, pray and ask God for the strength to make these changes.
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Music: “A True Friend” by Josh Molen
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