A Key to Experiencing the Abundant Life is Rhythm

Living in rhythm—and the commitment to live life in a sustainable rhythm will help you avoid burnout, experience despair, and running your life on empty.In choosing to live in rhythm you are accepting a different cadence in life than the one which says: Get! Achieve! Acquire! Do!  That kind of rhythm over the long haul leads to the front doors of burnout and failure.  By developing a more life-giving rhythm, you will need to explore a few foundational realities: 

  1. Every living thing has a rhythm to it. The birds migrate. The sea ebbs and flows in tidal rhythm. A woman’s body has a biological rhythm and the farmer knows the rhythm of the seasons to plant the crops.
  2. Rhythm is found in the Bible in the opening chapters of Genesis when we read that God created the world in six days and on the seventh—he ceased from all his work. The kingpin of a system of living in rhythm begins with the Sabbath rhythm. Work six days and one day is totally off—completely ceasing from all work related activities.
  3. The Judeo-Christian faith was built upon a system of rhythm, festivals and experiences that allowed people to look FORWARD in anticipation because they knew Sabbath, or some festival or celebration was just around the corner. It also allowed them to reflect BACKWARD in appreciation of how good their time off was; how nurturing; how life-giving; how fun.
  4. The early church embraced this rhythm as is evidenced in the Apostles praying in rhythm at certain times and in observing special seasons and times that morphed into living in a liturgical calendar. For example, this Sunday is regarded as Pentecost Sunday. It’s the day Christians world-wide remember the coming of the Spirit and how the Spirit emboldens our lives and we now live with the Spirit of God living in us.

We've violated rhythm today. We're always on. We're always available. We're always working. Just yesterday two major news magazines featured articles on how Americans do not take their vacations because they'd rather work. Here's a link to one: Business Journal ArticleI discuss this more in The Jesus Life (Chapter 4).  The reality of rhythm is this regardless of your experience in living in rhythm or having never heard of what I am discussing here. Rhythm was modeled by God, lived out in the Old Testament era, anchored by Jesus through his own life style as recorded by Luke and embraced by the New Testament church. By the time of the industrial and technological revolution, we are now always “on,” always, “available,” and always, “wired.” We never quit.It was life giving for me to take our dog Laz to the Vet recently due an ear infection. We arrived at 12:30 thinking we would be seen by the next available doctor. However the sign on the door simply said, “Our office is closed from 12:00pm-2:00pm each day” Please come back during regular office hours. I could have gotten mad and irritated thinking, “I’ll go somewhere else that really wants my money and will stay open in this 24/7 world we live in.” But I smiled. I imagined how nice it would be to be on staff of this large vet clinic who closed each day for lunch, allowing employees run errands and more.We have much wrong in our way of looking at reality. Rhythm is the key to living a sustainable, enjoyable life which we might learn to experience as the abundant life; not the exhausted life. ---------------------------Let me encourage to get and read The Jesus Life as one of your TOP summer reads. It's filled with practical suggestions and resources to help you foster and develop a sense of abundance in your life right now. We're offering a special right now. We'll pay the shipping plus send a free book, Embracing Soul Care--which is a daily devotional reading on how to care for your soul. ---------------Download for FREE the chapter on Living in Rhythm from the Jesus Life!  Go to: www.myjesuslife.com

Marshalling Your Energy Wisely--it's what God wants!

A group of young, German church planters have invited Gwen and I to come lead a retreat for them on how to care for their souls. Their young wives will join them. What a great audience to pour our hearts into!It's interesting that in German church history, the word, "pastor" is rooted in an expression meaning "soul physician".  It's lost it's original meaning today and in our busy culture, a hurry sickness has infected the hearts of many.How we are so in need of a soul physician.  In all reality, that is exactly our calling, our work and our mission.Actually, this dis-ease is systemic invading all parts of a leader's life--their marriage, their parenting--their desire to live The Jesus Life and more. So, it's with great joy that we pack our bags to lead them in a rather long retreat. For six days, we'll have this captive audience and we will attempt to pour wisdom, counsel, common sense and what Eugene Peterson says, of "self-control"--the 'ability to marshal your energies wisely.'Who would have ever thought that the Greek meaning for self-control--one of the fruit of the Spirit actually means...."The ability to marshal your energies wisely."  It's listed right there in Galatians 5:22 as one of the fruit of God's work in us. It's what he wants in us---the ability to marshal your energy wisely.Just today in my office I sat with a female executive for a leading organization in Colorado Springs. She was breathless arriving late to our scheduled meeting. As she apologized, she listed a litany of reasons why our life was a bit "out of control."  Her children...her busy husband's schedule. Her "mom" duties and her full time job as a leading exec in her company. We began to talk about learning to live in rhythm and to give up the lie of the balanced life. We spoke about learning to marshal your energies wisely. As she cried and wiped tears from her eyes. She said, " I didn't realize that God actually wanted me to learn how to marshal my energies. I've felt so totally out of control."We will travel tomorrow to Germany offering young pastors in a once of the most competitive, successful and leading countries in the world---where the church is in absolute total decline and disarray--the opportunity to care for their souls. Pray for us in our ministry. We need it. Pray for no travel glitches. That we can overcome jetlag. That we can be prepared to talk three times a day in this retreat and to love these dear ones well.It will be a great blessing for us to have a few days at the end of our trip with our son, Cameron who is stationed in Kaiserslaughtan.  He's apartment is a proverbial one... right over a German butcher shop on a narrow pedestrian street. Sounds picturesque!  We'll let you know when we return. All blessings,Steve and Gwen