Rhythm is more than enjoying a B.B. King blues song; everything in life is done with rhythm. Our hearts beat in rhythm. When we walk, our gait is in a distinct rhythm. We cannot survive without healthy rhythms of waking and sleeping. And, of course, we could not sing or have music without rhythm. Indeed, we cannot survive without healthy rhythms of life.
Yet, there is something off with our rhythm. Our busy lifestyles can insidiously drag us away from God and his ways. The spiritual rhythms we need for healthy living have been disrupted and we may not have noticed. Someone has said, “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.” Our lives are often fashioned more by shopping for the super sale, by sporting events, or by the demands of work than by our connection to Jesus.
We seem to have bought into the lie that we can never slow down or take a break. Many of us know we are out of sync with God and his ways. We intuit that there is something amiss between our lives and the priorities of God. But we are not sure how to change our situation. I would implore us to imitate Jesus in his way of life.
Jesus had a rhythm in his life of outward ministry with people and inward time alone with the Father. If Jesus needed regular, dedicated time for solitude and prayer, then how much more do we!? (Mark 1:35-39).
Let’s not think that we know better than Jesus on this. If we persist in continually putting off spending generous portions of time with God, he has his ways of getting our attention and putting us in the place of solitude. And we may not like it, which is why sometimes God is not so quick to heal us or answer our prayers because he has some things to say to us. We might be so stinking stubborn that we refuse to slow down long enough to listen to Jesus. For such people, human suffering is a great way to meet Jesus. We simply cannot rush from task to task and expect to live a healthy spiritual life. We absolutely need time with Jesus.
Only through a healthy rhythm of life that includes solitude and prayer will we have clear direction for our daily lives, and wisdom for sound decision-making, not to mention being more relaxed and happy. Jesus came away from his times of solitude re-connected with his purpose for being on earth.
Both overwork and prolonged withdrawal from others is unhealthy. To always be working and serving eventually leads to bitterness, exhaustion, and burn-out. Conversely, to always be alone (and one can be alone even in a crowd of people) and not serving leads to a kind of spiritual constipation that makes us sick. It might be counter-intuitive for us to break away from work, but solitude and prayer will actually help us be productive.
What is the kind of healing and restoration you need in your life? How might you be a part of fostering healing in another and in your church? Do you need to make a plan for solitude and prayer? Do you need to make a plan for ministry and service? Let your rhythm of life be consistent with Jesus and his ways.