Habit Training for Mamas: Why do we need rhythms of renewal?

When I first started to pay more attention to my own health and fitness habits after becoming a mama, my goal was simple: to lose weight and have more energy.

The Lord took that simple desire to begin to show me where I needed to develop discipline in many areas of life, and one of the main fruits that came from that discipline of habits was a steady morning routine and rhythm.

I get asked about my rhythms often, and wanted to write a series sharing with you some of the why and how behind rhythms that I feel are important for anyone.

This probably won’t be anything ground-breaking or new. But it’s been my experience on my journey as a believer that we need to be reminded of the fundamentals over and over again. So a big goal of what I’m sharing is to remind all of us why we need these rhythms of renewal, and then to fuel our understanding of that value of why we need to pursue it. Lastly, I’ll share some practical applications.

Rhythms of Returning to Jesus’ Feet for Renewal and Remembrance

Why renewal?

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).

If we look at the context of this passage in Romans, many commentators declare these verses to be Paul’s crux of the entire book. Chapters 1-11 really lay a theological groundwork for what he says here in Romans 12:1-2. Because of all of these truths about God’s grace previously mentioned in Romans (go ahead and take the time to read it!), we come to chapter 12 and Paul tells us, “Therefore…” and follows it with instruction on what it means to live in a way that pleases God.

So, what does he say in these verses? He presents to us a cyclical effect of what it means to live in a way that is a response to God’s grace.

We are to give ourselves entirely to God because of His saving grace.

How? Our lives are changed to be more of a living sacrifice as our minds are made new.

How are our minds made new? Our minds are transformed by the renewal of God’s word so as not to conform to the world and thus be fruitless. 

We want to bear fruit and make an impact in the world, right? And we want this to begin in our home, right? I doubt I have to convince you that what we do in our home matters greatly. 

So how do we create these rhythms of renewal? 

I really, strongly believe this can be pursued well through our morning routines

Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Each day represents another opportunity to experience God’s grace anew.

Now, let me first make some clarifications as well as address objections to the idea of morning rhythms.

Firstly, hear me: I’m not saying that mornings are a holier time than afternoons or evenings or the middle of the night wakings to spend time with God. We can and need to be willing to meet with the Lord at any time of the day or night. And if you have a newborn that has you napping any chance you get because you need to be resting when you can, and your time with the Lord is over nursing a baby, that’s great!

However, we can’t simply wait for the time to present itself to us before we pursue it. We need to be intentional about it. And when I recommend mornings, I’m really recommending that you begin your day with the Lord. So for those of you who work night shift jobs, your “morning” may fall at a different time of the day – that’s fine. But I do think there is something that helps posture our days correctly when we begin our day with the Lord as intentionally as possible. I’ve simply found that when I don’t set aside time to begin my day with the Lord, it’s often far harder to make it happen. Not impossible, but much more difficult. So let me encourage you to make plans, and then adapt as needed when your plans don’t go accordingly.

“Well, I’m just not a morning person. I’m a night owl.”

I hear this response often when I encourage someone to incorporate morning routines. The truth is this: we are what we repeatedly do. So, yes, I believe you – if you are used to staying up later and sleeping later, then I believe that you are not a morning person…currently.

But that’s simply a habit that you’ve chosen to feed. That means that you can equally break that habit and reestablish a new one to become a morning person. It’s just a matter of what you choose to do repeatedly. No one is born a night owl or morning person. You can become either. Let’s not fall in the mind trap of thinking we cannot break old habits and establish new ones. You can read about my personal experience with becoming a morning person in college here.

Lastly, let’s address one more question that will help us understand our motivation for establishing new habits. Why is it that we often neglect these rhythms of renewal (at any time of the day), especially once becoming mothers?

I really think it can be traced back to one thing.

Proud self-reliance.

Ultimately, we are neglecting to submit to God, which is part of our human nature. But this is also another reason why we so desperately need a rhythm for renewal! We don’t naturally acknowledge God’s sovereignty. We don’t naturally live our days in light of God’s grace. We need to be reminded of the grace Paul talks about in Romans 1-11.

When we don’t take time for renewal, we are neglecting to acknowledge our limits and our need to cultivate a dependency on God. 

Over and over again in scripture, Christ says following his teaching, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9).

And I love what the ESV Study Bible says in the notes about this, specifically on Mark 4:9:  “Having ears to hear involves surrender of proud self-reliance and submission to God.”

May we intentionally understand, before we dive any deeper into the how of these rhythms of renewal, as we pursue these rhythms, we are choosing to actively remember and affirm that we do indeed have limits, we cannot and should not rely fully on ourselves, and we need the daily reminder to submit to God.

This is such a very tangible way to do this – by beginning our days with him. It’s worth pursuing, friend.

I know I haven’t gotten to the practical part of this discussion yet, but if you’re ready to dive into God’s Word now, let me recommend this summer reading plan. It doesn’t have to be January to get started. I encourage you to start now! Dive into scripture and you will never regret it.

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