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Soul Care Reflection - Stop Chasing Balance, Rest in Rhythms


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Stop Chasing Balance, Rest in Rhythms

“We are blessed with inner rhythms that tell us where we are, and where we are going. No matter, then, our fifty and sixty hour work weeks, the refusing to stop for lunch, the bypassing sleep and working deep into the darkness.

If we stop, if we return to rest, our natural state reasserts itself. Our natural wisdom and balance come to our aid, and we can find our way to what is good, necessary and true.”—Wayne Muller

Have you ever looked intently for something, like your glasses, to discover that they had been on top of your head the entire time during the "search and rescue"?

That's exactly what it's like to search for balance, dare I even say, to chase after it. Balance isn't rewarded to us, it's hard-wired in us. It's a by-product of a healthy system of rhythm.

Defining our Terms

Here's what I mean when I say...

Sabbath Rhythms: The patterns of rest in daily, weekly, monthly and annual moments.

Belief System: The basis of your reasoning.

Paradigm: The lens/filter through which you see.

Values: The worth you put on something.

Priorities: The focus you give to important and urgent matters.

Habits: The things you regularly practice/rehearse.

How Balance Works

So how exactly does balance function? Years ago, I did a study on how balance works and here it is in a nutshell: Our physical balance is controlled by the vestibular system, through signals to the brain from our eyes, the inner ear, and the sensory systems of the body (such as the skin, muscles and joints).

Our inner balance works, similarly. It is controlled by the spiritual vestibular system, through signals to the mind from spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, and the spiritual sensory system (such as sacred community with God and others, the holy Sacraments, spiritual gifts and sacred disciplines of faith).

If your rhythm is off, the first step is to invite wisdom and knowledge to reveal the underlying cause. Soul Care takes a deep and close look at what's under the surface. You enter into rest by spending time being hospitable and attentive to yourself, in prayer and meditation, Bible study, journaling, or talking it through with yourself or someone.

If you and I were lingering in a conversation, I'd ask you,

“How is your spiritual vision?" Basically, this is a question about how's your faith.

"How's your spiritual hearing?" This question is about the voices that you're listening to.

"What's the condition your spiritual sensory system?" A question like this takes your spiritual temperature (sorta speak). If there's an injury or disease in the system, it will impact the function of your soul.

If you had a physical problem with vertigo, any responsible and well-trained physician would find it significant to address the condition of the things that control your balance, instead of the symptoms.

This means we have to accept that we’re physically and spiritually vulnerable and sensitive to changes, even the slightest acceleration (such as going up in an elevator, figuratively or literally) can hijack our rhythm and adversely affect our balance.

There are also the major accelerations of life: grief, moving, having a baby, divorce, learning something new, medical issues, depression, losing a job, starting a new business, self-imposed pressures, etc.

But, there's hope and healing, because Love is sovereign, and He has factored in all of our vulnerabilities and limitations.

What are Sabbath Rhythms?

What exactly do I mean when I speak of Sabbath Rhythms (the routine or rehearsal of rest)? They are interwoven and integrated within our moments in the ordinary of the everyday. They are associated with your calendar:

Daily Diversions

Weekly Withdrawals

Monthly MOMents

Annual Abandonments

I go into more details about each of these aspects in another post (link at the end of your reading).

As I begin to lay out the foundation of Sabbath Rhythms in the coming weeks, please consider what "a" baby step for you might look like.

A paradigm of rest is very counter-culture (sadly, even in the Church), yet, it's a very Gospel-centered way to attune to your moments, your hours, your week.

Five babies ago, when I begin my journey of margin and rhythms, my one baby step was just to sit for five minutes of uninterrupted time in prayer, meditation and Bible study. I had to start in the most unlikely place, by not jumping right in, rather, noticing myself in my day. Seventeen years later, I still hold to that belief.

I think the best place to start cultivating Sabbath Rhythms in your life is to first unlearn an old way, in order to learn a new way. We often live day by day, but at the core of Sabbath Rhythms is an acknowledgment and anticipation of the small yeast like granules of moments that grow hour by hour, swelling into 168 hours within a week.

Believe it, or not, we all have the most generous and kindest allotment of time to live & engage meaningfully, albeit imperfectly.

How To Rest in Sabbath Rhythms - Notice, Discover & Honor Your Personal Rhythms, First

To notice your rhythms, I curated something for you (and myself), the Sabbath Rhythms Tracking Companion Guide.

Try not to think of this activity as a planner, you're not planning to do anything, instead, think of it as an X-ray, which reveals what you're already doing. All you're doing is tracking what you do for a week. It's not necessary to write down what you do each hour, rather, I teach you how to go about by looking at segments of your day (the guide goes into more details).

I encourage you to allow the guide to provide you with a framework to notice and understand what's already at hand with the way you manage yourself in time, rather than, the pressure and illusions of managing time, something that we can not control.

Attuned To Your Rhythms

Accept what's helpful and healthy about your rhythms and whatever isn't healthy and helpful begin to walk in the moment by moment leaning into the tension. Don't resist, relinquish. Freedom choices are accessible to you.

There's margin left for trial and error. Be patient with the process of transformation. Even the caterpillar goes through seven painstaking layers of shedding before emerging with wings.

Furthermore, to attune to God's invitation about your rhythms allows your little to experience His muchness in every square inch of your life.

Both/And: The Now & The Not Yet

There's a greater transformational impact when we rest in the tension of the now and the not yet. Abundance whispers, "both/and". Scarcity shouts, "either/or".

The Key to Sabbath Rhythms

The key to Sabbath Rhythms is to recognize that some rhythms are constant and some change with your life seasons, but they're all created and therefore, we can't rely on rhythms to sustain us; they are important in giving us a framework, but it's the benevolent Creator, our Beloved One, He is our Sustainer.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit guides us into the truth that keeps on setting us free. He cultivates a hospitable heart in us towards Love's revelation of deep soul rest.

Grace over Grind

If you easily get tempted by the overwhelming sense of scarcity or sabotage, there's so much grace. Stop and breathe. Let Love assure you that He's for you.

He has factored in all things, and He'll make all things work together for your good (even if it doesn't look good). You have new freedom choices to make. Yes, the opposition will be there, and resistance will try and throw its weight around, but you are accompanied by Love on this journey. And that makes Grace your eager companion.

Trust His nature and His nurture in your life.

Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.

Ponder and respond to this 4-part question about your current rhythms. Be specific as you consider the following driving forces behind them. If it helps you to process better, journal your responses.

1) What's your belief system about redeeming time (opportunities)?

2) What's your paradigm about your life seasons?

3) What are your personal core values?

4) What are the priorities that shape and inform your yeses and no's?

Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.

Sabbath Rhythms Tracking Guide

Until next time,

Scribble. Speak. From your soul.


Links for further discovery Subscribe & Listen to my Soul Care Podcasts

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In order to flourish, you must nourish!

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