Today I returned to work proper after the Christmas/New Year holidays (two days last week don’t really count…) and I have to admit, it was difficult to suddenly get back into the whole rhythm of things again. But one thing I found myself thinking, and even saying, was about it ‘taking a while to get back into the old rhythm again’.
Then I suddenly realised something. That the rhythm of my life as I had been living it at work wasn’t normal. It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t necessary. I didn’t have to live that way.
I’d almost resigned myself to getting back into my old work rhythm again, the whole busyness of life, the stress and anxiety of every day life – the consumer life – and that this was inevitable, even normal. That I was going to burn myself out yet again before then having another rest to recharge the batteries, almost wearing myself into the ground and then taking a break to recover – which we all seem to accept as ‘normal’ in the West don’t we?
But it’s not.
That way has no benefits for me – what happens then is that it puts excess stress and tiredness on my body, which then affects my health by giving me more epileptic fits.
So it’s not normal at all.
Just because I have a job, doesn’t mean that I have to give in to a whole way of life which surrounds it. I don’t have to subscribe to the agenda everyone else does. I don’t have to accept things as they are.
I can change the fundamental rhythm of my life and still do my job, still do my writing, still be involved with church and a house group. I can sit down and restructure my life, I can prioritise. I can decide what to say yes to, what the important things are in my life, what I want to say yes to – because then it’s much easier to say no to other things. I’ve heard it said that you are often defined as much by what you say no to as what you say yes to – and what you say yes to has a fundamental influence on what you can say no to.
I don’t want to go back to the old rhythms of my life. I want to redefine the rhythms of my life. None of us have to subscribe to the consumer-secular view of what’s important, of how to order our lives and what’s important in life. If we do that we are never going to be able to experience real relationship with God because we’ll be trying to fit Him into something which is smaller than Him – which doesn’t work.
You can’t fit one way of life into another way of life, it simply cannot work in the long run.
This is a new year, a new decade. Its a great opportunity for us all to re-start our lives, to begin again. It’s a chance to redefine the rhythms of our lives, to write a new chapter, to tell a new story. Instead of standing back and letting life happen to us thinking it’s inevitable, we have the chance to participate in a bigger story. We have the chance to redefine the values of the world we live in, to change the lives of those we come into contact with, to engage with relationship with a living God who is active in the world and wants us to participate with Him in the reordering of His creation back to how it was always intended to be.
This is a long process and takes time. It’s very romantic to start something new and exciting and think it’s going to always be that way, but this is a process, and it will take commitment, hard work, self-discipline and patience.
It will involve trusting God.
It will involve steps of faith.
I’m just at the beginning of this process, as part of my journey into discovering sabbath and the art of rest, and exploring the rhythms of our lives over the next year. I know it’s going to be a lot harder than it’s sounding right now. But I also know that it’s something I have to do. I know that I was designed for something better, that there is a better way to live, and I’m excited to discover more of what that is.
I want to encourage and challenge you all this year to go on that journey in your own lives, and journey with me as I explore and try to understand this more.
If we can really discover a new rhythm, a new order to our lives, the way we were originally designed to live, our lives as we know it will never be the same.