Routine has always been something I have seen as a measure of success. Those people that wake up every single morning and go to the gym, home to shower, then to get their latte from the same barista, at the same corner coffee shop, back home to shower, then to work, home, and run their errands. This lifestyle of consistency has always been something that I thought I would thrive in. The predictability of each day, the mastery of something, being good at my routine.
This summer I’m working five different places. Each week is different, each day is different, bringing about a bunch of inconsistency. I’m taking it hour by hour.
One of the places I’m working this summer is a local coffee shop. It’s different than I thought it would be, for sure, but definitely a good different. I applied on a whim and I think God had a lesson he wanted to teach me, looking back on it all.
Every morning, we have our regulars. We have the weird orders, the ones we have learned not to argue with, those we look forward to greeting and catching up with, and others who look forward to seeing us. “The usual?” we ask some, and others we start making the drink when they walk in, because it’s the same thing, day after day. A part of their routine.
Working in food, anyone who has knows this, is all about the open/close procedures.
Last night, I was walking around behind the espresso bar changing trash and sweeping, emptying the milk fridge, re-sealing the beans, organizing the pour overs, when I started to notice how familiar it all became. The marks on the wall where the trashcan rubs when we toss an empty oat milk carton, the metal stains where we set the steam pitchers, the press marks from the shots. The wear on the hardwood from conversations ending, chairs being scootched in, feet shuffling from the ice machine to the counter to call the drink. Routine. Regularity.
The gospel of Luke tells us this. “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. –Luke 9:32, NAB
For some context, this is the narrative of the transfiguration. The entire story is Luke 9:28-36 if you would like to go read it. Here is the run down though–– Peter, James, and John go with Jesus to pray…but they start to doze off during their prayer. Falling asleep while praying with Jesus is wild to think about coming from our end though. How could they? They are praying with Jesusand they have the audacity to fall asleep? To us though, the idea of praying with Jesus is that of a revelation, but they probably went with Jesus many times to pray. (That doesn’t lessen the blow but still is something to think about). More than that, Jesus literally spent 40 days in the desert praying, so there is good reason to guess that these probbbbably weren’t short prayer sessions either. Either way, they are falling asleep, caught in the routine. And they almost miss what came next. The whole transfiguration of Christ.
It is easy to think back to the times where we are confident that something had God in it. The big things and the moments we can see His glory. But in those times I think we miss it in the details. When we do this, we risk missing the revelation of God’s love and glory because we are worn-out, indifferent, and stuck in a routine, going through the motions.
Each day is a new day to experience all different kinds of things. On a daily basis, we are exposed to so many opportunities to heal and break and mend and love. This is a cracked world, one that requires tenderness and intentionality. This world is broken, but not without grace. His good good grace and glory still shine through the places the real world is cracked and bleeding. But if our eyes are only fixed on the places that we expect to see miracles, we will miss the thousands of places they are revealed to us, every day.
The regulars I interact with could be a time when I need to encourage and serve them with love instead of releasing the stress of a rush on them. I can interact with my sweatshirt customers and ask them about their stories for their sweatshirts, why they want the words they want. I can check in on my Odyssey creators, read their writing, help them grow to use their words to share their passions and gifts, I can use content strategy to reach the most people with His message. How can you?
I guess what I’m saying is this:
Don’t fall asleep. We know the places we will find Christ and see His glory, but in the details – in the tiny places we overlook in our routines, that is where we have the potential to change lives, to dance around instead of simply walking, to encourage with words, to smile with our eyes, to bring others to the same love and joy and grace. To live, to be alive. To praise him in the ordinary– because He is there.