A quick observation from what I’m seeing in some of the people I’m coaching right now and experiencing in my own life.
For many Christian leaders, a sad reality is that there aren’t the scriptural rhythms of Rest and Work that define their reality. Rather than working from a place of rest, they push and push on work until they are forced (or crash!) into rest.
What I notice is that as people begin to develop daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms, often time for the first time in a way that is sustainable, they do it during what I call “peace time.” In other words, things in their life are often quite stable, repetitive and “normal.” They are able to wake up at the same time, have the same travel rhythms, put aside the same sabbath day; basically, able to manage their energy and schedule in a sustainable, peaceable way.
Which is fantastic.
However, I’m noticing that this is really stage one.
Because things don’t stay “peace time” all the time. Babies happen. Work can pick up. Travel can increase. Parents move in with you. People pass away. We experience sickness. Spiritual warfare. Sleepless nights. Things happen out of the blue that are completely unexpected and these unavoidable realities keep us from living out the rhythms we have painstakingly set up.
Perhaps a practical example: In “peace time,” I like to get up quite early in the morning, do something physical, then spend about 90 minutes by myself reading scripture, praying, journaling, listening to music, etc. That’s the best case scenario for me. And there was a time where this was possible.
But I noticed a big shift happen a while ago when Judah, my second kid, was born. And then my daughter Avery started to get up much earlier as she got older.
Big cannonball explosion into my rhythm. Suddenly, really through no fault of my own, my rhythm became unsustainable. For me, I’ve seen the same thing happen in heavy travel seasons.
What I noticed was that I almost needed a second set of rhythms that proved to be the drumbeat of my life during these times. What were things that I could do that kept me connected to the Father, continued to nourish me while I was in a more trying season without as much time and energy? This time isn’t negotiable, but the way in which I take these times can be. I don’t have as much time which means the time I do have needs to count just as much if not more.
What can I do with 5 minutes if 5 minutes is all I have?
It won’t be like this forever, but it’s reality right now. And what we’re so often prone to do is if we can’t get the idealized version, we do nothing at all.
I’ve seen in myself and the people I’m investing in that this war time rhythm is something that probably needs to be attended to, particularly in the day to day. My observation is that when this happens, we will actually need to re-double our efforts on our weekly sabbath, but really give ourselves to seasonal times of retreat and nourishment with the people (spouse?) who we do life with and draw life from.