How To Create Rhythms of Work and Rest
You know you need soul rest, but what does that look like?
In previous posts, I explored the reasons for intentional rest and ways in which Jesus modeled intentional rest. There are many ways we can apply intentional rest.
Creating a rhythm of rest is essential to intentional rest. A rhythm is a strong, repeated pattern of movement. In music, the rhythm of a song guides the song. Without it, the song would be chaos. In the same way, God uses the rhythms of life to guide us. In music, there are specific symbols for different times of rest. The rests are an essential part of the rhythm. The rhythm of rest in our lives is also essential and if it is skipped, chaos ensues.
However, following a rhythm does not guarantee a neat and tidy life. Pastor and Soul-Care Leader Matt Alexander said, “A Rhythm of Life does not eliminate the mess or the pain of life, leadership, or relationships. But it keeps us anchored when things get chaotic, paying attention to what’s going on beneath the surface of our lives.”
God has already provided us with natural rhythms of life: the seasons, rotation and revolving of the earth, breathing, and heart beats are just a few examples. God created us to live in rhythm.
What Rhythm is Right for Me?
Spiritual leaders have created different frameworks for rhythms. Saint Benedict, an ancient monk, created a rhythm of Prayer, Work, Study, Hospitality, and Renewal. Another common framework is Relationships, Work, Prayer and Study, and Rest. Pastor Matt Alexander trains leaders in the rhythms of Upward, Inward, With, and Outward.
You have to choose or create a rhythm that works for you in your particular stage and situation, but notice the things all of these frameworks have in common-seeking God, rest, vocation, and relationships.
I am currently using Alexander’s framework because it covers all areas for me. I also find it helpful to split rhythms in to time frames such as daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and every so often.
In Alexander’s framework, the Upward rhythm is about loving God and growing spiritually. To determine helpful upward rhythms, you can ask, “Where or how does my soul find joy in knowing God?
The Inward rhythm is about loving self and growing emotionally and mentally. Inward practices would answer the question of, “What is going on beneath the surface?”
The With rhythm is about loving others and growing in relationships and community. To determine helpful with rhythms, you can ask, “Where am I/can I be vulnerable and available to others?
The Outward rhythm is about God’s call on your life. It includes your vocation and ministry (whether it is vocational or volunteer). It also includes the care of your physical body because your body helps you to live out your calling.
What Practices Should I Start?
I’ve created a list of ideas for practices of rhythms split into the time frames of daily, weekly, etc. In parentheses I included which category the practice would fall under in each of the three frameworks listed above. Alexander’s is in red, St, Benedict’s is in blue, and the other is in green.
This list is full of suggestions. It is not a check off list of all the things you “should” be doing. Doing them all in every season would be too much! Focus on 1 or 2 practices per category of whichever framework you are using.
To determine which practices are best for you in your season:
1. Notice what you’re already doing- You are probably naturally falling into some of these rhythms. Keep doing them!
2. Determine which practices speak to your soul or get you excited-those are a good place start. These practices will come easily and keep you enthused.
3. Ask yourself, “What does my soul really need in this season? This may include practices which do NOT come easily, but the Holy Spirit is strongly telling you that you need.
4. Make a plan to re-evaluate your rhythms every six months to a year and go over this process again.
Download the List Below
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