You ever feel like you ain’t got rhythm? Like you fell asleep in a metronome factory and since then you’ve been off beat? My wife secretly laughs at me at church because I have no rhythm. I can’t clap on beat at all. I know she turns her head and snickers (she’s a class A musician, degree in it an all that stuff so she knows what I’m doing wrong, apparently hysterically wrong). A lot of us don’t have rhythm, not musical rhythm that is (though many don’t have that either even if they think they do…have you seen So You Think You Can Dance?) but a different type of rhythm. It’s a spiritual rhythm.
The world is filled with rhythm. The waves crash on the beach in the rhythm of the tides. The sun, moon, and stars appear to rise and set in rhythm (yes, I know it’s how it appears because the earth spins and rotates around the sun). The seasons come and go in rhythm. Our hearts beat in a rhythm. Rhythm is part of us.
To quote Gloria Estefan
“No way, you can fight it every day But no matter what you say You know it The rhythm is gonna get’cha.”
Rhythm. It’s built into us. But it is more than just physical rhythm. It is the rhythm of life. The rhythm of being spiritually alive. A rhythm for the soul.
Reading through the Gospels, Jesus constantly lives a life of rhythm. He lives his ministry, doing the work he was sent to do. And then he goes off into a solitary place to pray. There he seeks the direction of the Father who sent him, and the movements of the Spirit who fills him. He lived rhythm of being around people and then resting. He even tried teaching this to his disciples, though they didn’t fully get it.
To tell the truth, spiritual rhythm didn’t just start there. It started in the very beginning. In Genesis God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days (take it how you want,6 literal or figurative, that part isn’t in question here) and on the 7th he rested. God didn’t need to rest. In fact, he is God, he could have kept on going and started the first Starbucks in Eden if he wanted to (no calories for a soy mocha and no high prices for it either). But he rested. He created rhythm in the world.
What’s interesting is the fact that the word for rest is connected to the word for seven. Sabbath is rest. And in the 10 commandments, the command to rest is the most lengthiest commandment of them all, leaving no loopholes. In the giving of the Law, God speaks a ton about how to keep the Sabbath so that the people may rest and focus and recharge and renew and trust in him.
By Jesus’ day, people started to abuse the Sabbath. They turned it into a hot mess with rules and regulations that did more harm than good. One day, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. He did something good and miraculous, yet the religious leaders were furious.
Jesus tells them this truth:
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
Jesus knew (of course he did) that the rhythm God wanted us to take wasn’t to be seen in such a way that it constricted us. It was given to free us.
We all need rhythm in our lives. We all need a way to fall back, refocus, recharge, renew ourselves. We need to replenish our soul. When we seek God in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, we find that rhythm of living, working, and also seeking and focusing on God.
If we push and push and push and push to do life, we get frazzled and huranged and hurt. We push ourselves to exhaustion and then feel awful that we’re too exhausted and then feel lazy when we finally collapse in exhaustion. We feel lazy when we do what we think is nothing.
When we pull back and focus. When we pull back and sit still before God, sit still with Jesus, sit still and allow the Holy Spirit to replenish us, we can face the day anew.
When we do this, we can move forward. And then we can do the work set out for us to do. But if we don’t take time to focus, to pray, to seek God, we loose the strength and power to do what is needed.
Where do you need to pull back? Where are you out of rhythm? Seek God in Jesus. Lean upon the Holy Spirit. Find a way to step back and recharge. Find a rhythm of doing life of rest and work.