Rhythm of Life
What does “Rhythm of Life” mean?
Our hope for you is that you will learn about and integrate some new practices into your life that help you grow in your relationship with God, yourself and others. Integrated Spirituality is the approach we are seeking to take together. The purpose of this step is to help you grow into a disciple (disciplined follower) of Jesus Christ. These resources look at our Rhythm (Rule) of Life we are committed to at Society Church which are:
- LIFE TOGETHER: Gathering in community and worshiping together.
- DAILY OFFICE: Set times and practices throughout the day to connect with God.
- SABBATH: a set period of time to stop working and delight in life and God.
- SPIRIT LED LIFE: learning to live out of an integrated spirituality in all of life.
If this term, “rule of life”, is unfamiliar, it comes from the same Greek word we know of as trellis or vineyard. It is something that our life can grow on and become fruitful, as the trellis gives us a shape and form to grow up amidst. Andy Crouch says that a rule of life is- “A set of practices to guard our habits and guide our lives.” The term and idea of a “Rule of Life” came from St. Benedict around 516-540AD— He wrote a little book towards the end of his life called The Rule of St. Benedict. The purpose in developing a Rule of Life is to move from information and inspiration, (our faith or lack of faith can become dependent on these if we are not careful) to spiritual formation.
What does the Bible say about a “Rhythm of Life”?
- Luke 9:23- Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me daily.”
- 1 Timothy 4:7-9- “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.”
- Romans 12:2- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Pete Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, relates a rule of life and daily office to that of a rope meant to lead us home. Pete Writes:
“In his book A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer relates a story about farmers in the Midwest who would prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house out to the barn as a guide to ensure they could return safely home. These blizzards came quickly and fiercely and were highly dangerous. When their full force was blowing, a farmer could not see the end of his or her hand. Many froze to death in those blizzards, disoriented by their inability to see. They wandered in circles, lost sometimes in their own backyards. If they lost their grip on the rope, it became impossible for them to find their way home. Some froze within feet of their own front door, never realizing how close they were to safety. To this day, in parts of Canada and the Great Plains, meteorologists counsel people that, to avoid getting lost in the blinding snow when they venture outside, they tie one end of a long rope to their house and grasp the other end firmly.
Many of us have lost our way, spiritually, in the whiteout of the blizzard swirling around us. Blizzards begin when we say yes to too many things. Between demands from work and family, our lives fall somewhere between full and overflowing. We multitask, so much so that we are unaware we are doing three things at once. We admire people who are able to accomplish so much in so little time. They are our role models. At the same time many of us are overscheduled, tense, addicted to hurry, frantic, preoccupied, fatigued, and starved for time. Cramming as much as possible into our to-do lists, we battle life to make the best use of every spare minute we have. Yet not much changes. Our over productivity becomes counterproductive. We end our days exhausted from work and raising children. And then our “free time” on weekends becomes filled with more demands in an already-overburdened life. We listen to sermons and read books about slowing down and creating margin in our lives. We read about the need to rest and recharge our batteries. Our workplaces offer seminars on increased productivity through replenishing ourselves. But we can’t stop. And if we aren’t busy, we feel guilty that we waste time and are not productive. We go through the motions of doing so many things as if there is no alternative way of spending our days. It is like being addicted—only it is not to drugs or alcohol but to tasks, to work, to doing. Any sense of rhythm in our daily, weekly, and yearly lives has been swallowed up in the blizzard of our lives. Add to this the storms and trials of life that blow into our lives unexpectedly and catch us off guard, and we wonder why so many of us are disoriented and confused. We need a rope to lead us home.
There are many great spiritual disciplines—the prayer of examen, retreats, spiritual direction, service, community groups, worship, giving, Bible study, devotional reading, centering prayer, fasting, Scripture memorization, lectio divina, confession, journaling, intercession, to name a few. They are each wonderful tools and gifts to help us follow Jesus. Many are essential threads in a strong rope to keep us centered and lead us home in the midst of blizzards.”
Jesus knew where his source of strength to live an abundant and fulfilling life came from. It came from lonely wilderness or deserted places of prayer. His source of energy was not gained from the praise of people, the crowds, the adrenaline, the miracles. His source was God and because of that Jesus had a regular rhythm of prayer, retreat, rest and work.
Luke 5:15-16 NIV- “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely (wilderness or desert) places and prayed.”
Create a Rhythm of Life:
I don’t like rules, in my mind rules are made to be broken. Rhythms are there to keep us in cadence with the movement of the Spirit in our life. If you miss a rule there are consequences, if you miss a beat, a movement in the rhythm, you catch the next one and just keep playing. This is why I like using the term “rhythm of life” instead of “rule of life”.
Creating a good rhythm of life is holistic and requires both active and passive faith rhythms amidst all of Life. The hope is that our rhythm of life touches each area of our life and moves us towards a more integrated spiritual life with God & others in the world.
Beware of creating a set of disconnected spiritual practices that are making little to no impact on our personal spiritual formation. A good way to think about these rhythms is to consider how they are impacting our life to become more integrated into a love for God, our neighbor and self. The hope is that whatever our rhythm of life is, it is helping us to live out the two “Great Statements” of Jesus. Love God, Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Summary of Matthew 22:36-40). Go and make disciples anywhere and everywhere with everyone (Summary of Matthew 28:18-20).
Explore the rhythms below:
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero
Invitation to a Journey, Robert Mulholland
Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
An Unhurried Life, Alan Fadling