December 16, 2014

Rhythm: Finding the Calm in the Chaos

Have you ever felt you have so much to do and you’re so overwhelmed that you end up just doing nothing? Or have you realized that sometimes you just go, go, go trying to accomplish all the things you “need” to do only to feel exhausted and unaccomplished? Maybe you’ve found yourself in both of these situations!

I'm wondering if this feeling is especially prevalent at this time of year. I know I have been wanting so badly to make time to write, but I have had other priorities that needed my attention. So, today I share something I wrote this Spring {April 2014} that I needed to read again to remind myself to slow the rhythm of my routine and find calm...

Last night the kids went to bed well and on time. So I was able to put up my feet and open up a book. {Yes, a real book! More on that later.} Then… I heard footsteps coming down the stairs! I watched as the door slowly opened… I saw our large Main Coon cat emerge from upstairs and walk directly to the basement. {Breathe.} Wow, it’s so nice when everyone in the house, even the cat, knows that it’s time to rest! I went back to relaxing. I was thankful, because I know some days it feels like I’m chasing       chasing the kids and cats and calm.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how chaos can overtake a day. Do you see that picture above? It may not look like much, but that mess in my front seat takes a lot of time to put together and even more time to put away. All that is necessary to make Mondays run smoothly! Too many days like this and life starts to feel a little out of balance. Are you making yourself  crazy with too many chaotic days?

When people mention balance, I take notice because that’s been my focus word and my goal for a few years now... or maybe more like the last decade. When I started reading “Unforced Rhythms of Grace,” I took notice right away because she started with this: “I have long loathed the word balance.” What?! But, as I read the rest of what Beth Guckenberger had to say, I entirely agreed with her perspective. She goes on to say: “A while ago, adapting a principle I read in Matthew, I exchanged ‘balance’ in my vocabulary with ‘rhythm.’ ”

“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 (from the Message translation) 

Beth continues: "God, in all his perspective, has written a daily rhythm we can listen for and sing along to. Some days, the rhythm picks up a bit and you move fast, other days, it’s slow and sweet and the only way you can fold into the day’s rhythm is by listening to the one who has ‘written every day before they came to be (Psalm 139).’"

She had written what I’d been trying to put into words! I’d been thinking that one fast paced day I can handle, but I need my week to have rests in it too. Rhythm! And so I have realized this about myself: Balance makes me think I am in control… which I am not. Rhythm though is more a posture of listening, discernment, and being Spirit-led.

How do I find calm in the chaos

Step 1: learning to keep company with God.   
Step 2: dancing to the rhythm of His song, not mine.

Remember that book I said I was reading? Well, last night I was reading about how you can’t do it all. Helpful, since this morning I woke up a little overwhelmed… with all that I want to do, with all that I feel obligated or think I “need” to do, and with the little energy I have to do it all (because of my head cold and because a little boy, scared of the rain last night, crawling into our bed).

Today I’ve decided to embrace that I can’t do it all. I’m going to enjoy writing to you all. I’m going to get the dishes done that are sitting in the sink. I’m going to get outside and walk. Yes today I’ll walk to get my boys from school and slow the pace. Today we will enjoy a leisurely chat on our walk home. It’s Friday, and it’s finally stopped raining, so we’re going to set the pace to positive and pleasant and just roll with the rhythm of this day. Today I’m going to do a little of everything and enjoy it all! I’ve decided to take it one step at a time so I can listen for the rhythm that is today

Update: Yesterday was Monday, and the front seat of my car looked much the same as {if not worse than} the picture above. And, while it is December, much of the last paragraph above still applies too. No head cold, but I've had too many headaches to count this last week. And {funny thing to say in December... but truth is} it finally stopped raining today. So, I'm going to walk to get the boys from school. After our typical Tuesday afternoon routine, daddy will come home and we'll bake Christmas cookies together. Until then, I'm going to read and rest and I'll wrap a few presents to put under our tree.  Today we slow the pace, and I will enjoy the simple pleasures of the season through the eyes of my children. 

  • How do you find calm in the chaos?  
  • How have you embraced not doing it all?  
  • How do you find your rhythm?

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