SACRED: Your Work Ritual
Routine vs Ritual
There is a difference between routine and ritual, though each word is used to define the other.
Routine is the act of doing the same things in the same way. Ritual on the other hand, lends itself to a deeper meaning. When we say "ritual" it invokes a religious, sacred, set apart intent.
The good, the bad and the ugly of ritual is that it can become narrow and confined. Some think of ritual as superstitious. For instance, a baseball player's need to carry the quarter he had in his pocket when he pitched his first no-hitter. Or the actor's meal routine before each production. Perhaps even the keynote speaker's backstage habit of twirling in circles before heading onstage.
Ritual then becomes those things we believe signal that good things are coming our way. Yet, I believe ritual is something much more for the Christian entrepreneur.
Coffee and Consecration
As Christian Entrepreneurs we know our work is much more than the words we type, the products we sell, or the services we render. Deep within our being we understand we operate from the place of calling. Each day we begin with the understanding we aren't in this alone.
Undoubtedly, at least most days, you begin with some time in the Bible and/or prayer. You might have a devotional book you read. Maybe Mark Batterson's Draw the Circle or Jon Gordon's The Carpenter are books you read to help you along. These things are a portion of your daily practice. And, though you may not connect them with your work, they are vitally important.
Every activity in which you regularly engage (before or as you work) is part of your sacred work ritual. Yes indeed, the cup of just-right coffee or steaming mug of tea adds depth and meaning to the work you do. And each of these informs how you act, react and respond to the forces you face day-by-day.
Perhaps if you aren't experiencing joy in your work, it's time to investigate your rituals.
How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything
When your work becomes a burden, it shows. In other articles I've talked about the need of personal clarity in your work. From the beginning of your day, to the moment you step away from your work, the patterns and habits you practice determine what happens next.
For instance, I know that if I take too long of a break at lunch time, it is almost impossible for me to get back into work mode. By the same token, I also know if I have even a few minutes of exercise in the morning, I will have more energy throughout the morning. I can't imagine a day without my Artist's Way Morning Pages, Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year plan and prayer. Yet right alongside of those are that perfect cup of coffee, my pillows in just the right spot, and my blanket ready to turn my frosty toes into toasty digits. My Ritual. They set my day up for a certain pace.
When I dress in my workout clothes as I get ready for coffee and the Word, changes are up to 95% that I will exercise at least a few minutes. If I don't, it's 95% sure I won't.
You have rituals, too. It might be the music you always listen to, the news you must watch first thing, or when you brush your teeth. It's whether you fix your coffee maker at night or in the morning. From those first steps out of the bed, and on into the time you've set apart for your work, are your ritual.
Your Start Matters
It is worth your time to intentionally investigate how you start your day. Within those first twenty minutes are the seeds for productivity, joy and success. Your mindset for the day is informed by what you read first. Are you on Facebook first to check out the news? I'll admit that is a battle I face.
Is your work area ready for you? Or, do you have to fight your way to the desk, the work area or the telephone? Do you look at your work and work space as sacred or mundane?
Now listen, I don't intend to give the impression that I have angels hovering around my head singing. I do often have Spotify playing a Daily Mix of contemporary worship. It helps me be focused. And, my desk is kind of a mess. Yet, in this moment, right now, I'm thinking about you. I'm wondering how I can help you live out your life and calling. These words almost become a type of prayer. When I coach, I'm listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit to help me and you. As I work on an obstacle, I wait for a way through. And I believe that's because I start with Him.
If you need a fresh infusion of meaning in your work, ask the Lord. He gave you the work. It matters to Him. You matter to Him. Make it your ritual to turn all of it into His hands and see what happens.