Matt 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Free and Light. I remember the first time I heard those words. I was at a spiritual retreat center trying to figure out my life. Juggling a fast moving career, relationships, my poor health and family felt like I was carrying a 50lb rock uphill. And it was working as well as you can imagine. I didn't even know what free and light meant.
The retreat director asked us to our rooms in silence for the evening to think, pray and reflect on Matthew 11:28-30. My room overlooked a garden. As the sun was setting I started to read the verses over and over.
“Am I tired?” Check.
“Am I worn out?” Check.
“Am I burned out on religion?” Double Check.
I read on...“Come to me, get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I lost it. These words hit me in a deep way. I can remember sitting and talking with Jesus about how I needed his “rhythm of grace” not my rhythm of busyness and anxiety and frustration. My way was literally killing me from the inside out.
Have you been there? At the end of your rope? Burnt out, wondering what needs to change to live a different and better way? Perhaps it takes a life in Rhythm. His rhythm, not our rhythm.
The rhythm we talk about at Seek Well is built around the ways of Jesus. Simply put, we want to do the same things Jesus did. If he thought it was important, then we believe it should be important to us. After all, we believe that he knows what's best for us and that only he can fulfill the deepest desires of our soul.
Some call this rhythm "spiritual disciplines" and, indeed, they are. But we believe it's so much more than that. It's a way of life and a way of being. Rhythm implies that we are moving in sync with Jesus, paying attention to what he is doing and what he is speaking. In order to be in sync with Jesus we have to slow down and learn to listen.
Let’s get practical. What does this rhythm look like?
Everyone is different. But here is a quick snapshot of me on my best days:
Morning before the world begins…for me it is 530 a.m. (I know, I know…but my kids wake up at 6 and 7 on school days). Some version of settling, scripture, listening and journaling can easily be done in 20 minutes. For me that is after coffee and before working out. By the way, listening and “quiet time” are very different…but that is another blog post.
Afternoon in the midst of the crazy day…a 5-10-minute pause in the middle of the day for quiet reflection and settling. When this happens it allows me to exhale the stress from the first part of the day and center on Jesus for the second part of the day.
Evening after the kids go to bed… My kids go to bed by 9 p.m. I try and take 10-15 minutes to read some scripture and just breathe. This down time of connection with God can settle me before bed and allow me to connect with my wife in a more grounded way.
So what happens when I am OUT of rhythm? Well I could ask my wife or kids to chime in here and they would be great witnesses to the less-than-best-version of myself. LOL. Let’s start with … tired, critical, angry, quick to respond, lack of perspective, controlling…should I go on? Basically, I end up living a day in the life of someone who is not grounded or centered in Jesus. I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about :)
The truth is that when we are out of rhythm with our creator, we are not living the life that God has designed for us. John 10:10 (MSG) says, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
So how do we jump into this rhythm of life that Jesus designed us for? How do we rearrange our lives to be connected with our loving Father through the day instead of sporadically throughout our lives?
At Seek Well, we think it becomes an issue of desperation. That’s where it started with me and so many others on the journey with us.
Ruth Haley Barton says it best. In her book “Sacred Rhythms”, she writes:
“How bad do I want it? Am I willing to rearrange my life for what my heart most wants?
That’s the question. How bad do you want Jesus and all that he has for you?
Let’s check in on that desperateness. Start a new rhythm right now. Take 5 minute to just settle and read Matthew 11:28-30. When you are ready, ask yourself a few questions.
- What would my life look like if I pursued Jesus like he pursued me?
- How bad do I want all that Jesus has for me?
- Where in my life and I experiencing the most amount of pain or frustration?
Then, out of those questions, create some practical next steps on how to pursue Jesus and live a life of Rhythm. This will always look different for different people. But if we want to live “free and light” we have to be intentional about our pursuit of God.
If you need a little help creating rhythm, consider joining us for our daily rhythm. As a community, each day we engage in 20 minutes of settling, scripture and listening to Jesus. You can find it on the front page of our website. It’s a great way to start your day and stay in rhythm with Jesus. As we move along, we’ll be sure to get some amazing resources in your hands that will help you seek well.