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.
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
I don’t know about you all, but I can be pretty forceful when it comes to the rhythms that guide my days. My alarm clock blares so I can get started with my day or make it to work on time. I rush through breakfast so I can have time to exercise or move on to other tasks. I find myself soul-weary at the end of the day, longing for more.
I don’t think we are meant to feel like this. I love the way these verses from Matthew flow in the Message version, this invitation to live lightly and freely. This is also the invitation I find in the pages of Sacred Rhythms.
We are moving slowly through this book to dig deep into each chapter, each practice. This week we are looking at the introduction and Chapter 1, which provide an overview of the foundation that must be laid before we implement the spiritual disciplines.
It starts with an uncovering of the deepest desires that stir within us. We often want to hide these desires away, and yet when we hold them up with open hands before Jesus, He can help us sift away the ones that are not honoring to Him, that might come from a place of pride or selfish ambition. We don’t need another list of things to do but when we start out of this place of desire and connection, we open our hearts for all the Father wants to do in us.
I love the story that the author, Ruth Haley Barton, told about planning and putting on a party for her daughter’s 15th birthday. The family banded together to take charge of a different aspect of the party for all fifty guests. First of all, I can’t imagine having fifty friends when I was in high school. What? But, in the midst of serving the meal to all these teenagers, Barton found her heart responding deeply and asking the Lord for more of those moments where she felt at the core of her being that she was doing what she was made to do. Have you had moments like this? What was it like to feel like you were doing what you were made to do?
Barton said, “The disciplines themselves are basic components of the rhythm of intimacy with God that feed and nourish the soul, keeping us open and available for God’s surprising initiatives in our lives.”
I think I need a perspective shift when it comes to rhythms and disciplines. How can the Father nourish my soul when I put these things into practice regularly? Instead of just another thing to do, what would it look like to be with Him through these practices? I am excited to explore this with you all in the coming weeks!
What are you longing for the Lord to do in your heart right now? How do you think your perspective might need to shift about spiritual disciplines? What else resonated with you from this section? I would love to chat with you in the comments!
Here’s the reading plan for the rest of the book!
March 12: Chapter 2
March 19: Chapter 3
March 26: Chapter 4
April 2: Chapter 5
April 9: Chapter 6
April 16: Chapter 7
April 23: Chapter 8
April 30: Chapter 9 and Appendices