August is generally a month that is filled with busyness and craziness. This year, it may not be activities that is contributing to the craziness but the new methods being asked of us. Many parents are struggling with how to manage reengagement with school and work in a way that is so much more nuanced than a year ago. Even those that are home schooling, are trying to figure out what that would look like when many of our normal activities are unavailable. College students are choosing to skip a semester of online instruction in order to enter the work force. Employers are trying to keep their work force engaged while allowing them to have flexibility for this changing landscape.
This pandemic is affecting our lives and leaving many without peace – not because of fear, but because of a lack of a rhythm of rest. When we don’t build rest into our daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedule, we set ourselves up for frenzy, busyness, and a disturbed soul. I would suggest that if you are overwhelmed by busyness it is probably because you are out of rhythm.
Do you have a rhythm of rest, or do you think you are better than God? That may seem insulting, but if God rested on the seventh day, why would we not have a weekly rhythm of rest? I believe we should each carve out time from each day to sleep, time to do enjoyable things with our immediate family, and time to work. I also believe that each week should include a day for rest, reflection, and renewal. I also believe that this should always include others.
I am struck by the rhythms established by God for the Jewish people. This included, but was not limited to the three feasts. One of my mentors described it this way, “God loves a good party.” I am struck by how much I miss good parties in these days! How I long for the days when I would celebrate with the throngs – particularly in intentional worship. When will this be back in my rhythm? What defines a throng of people?
These days demand that we find time to rest, reflect, and embrace renewal. These days demand that we figure out ways to gather as the family of God. These days demand that we remain centered on Jesus and His revelation to mankind. How are you satisfying these demands upon your soul? Are you wondering why your soul is downcast within you?
I have found that nothing re-centers me on Jesus like the gathering of the family of God. You might think that this is because I am an extrovert, but left to ourselves, we all have the tendency to wallow in our own thoughts and devices. We are fed, edified, and built up in our faith; not by teaching, but by serving. Jesus was edified through service and ministry. We are not any different. When we are used by God to speak life into another person’s heart, our heart is edified and filled to overflowing. This is one of the mysteries of the gospel. To do ministry is that which ministers to me.
This is true with peace. To receive peace, you must offer it. It is also true with forgiveness. And with love. To know the abundance of Christ, you must practice generosity and gratitude. The point is this, are you struggling with hearing the voice of the Shepherd? Listen for someone else and note how you hear His voice for yourself in the process. Does your life need peace, rest, and rhythm? How are you bringing the ministry of these things to others?