On the first Monday in January, sweating runners fill treadmills.
We join them and insist this year we will slim down. But a few weeks later, we skip the gym for the comfort of our cotton sheets, and our determination sleeps—until the next January.
New Year’s Resolutions have a lazy reputation for good reason.
Resolutions are energized goals, but unless met with livable rhythms, they curl up under the covers of good intentions.
So, this year with the flip of the calendar, let’s consider making New Year’s rhythms instead of lazy resolutions.
If you stand along the edge of the Grand Canyon, you see the power of sustained rhythm. Rush. Flow. Rush. Flow.
Thousands of years of the Colorado River rushing and flowing over rock formed a 6,000-foot-deep canyon. That canyon leaves even the cynical in awe. And like that river forming the land, our rhythms affect us.
Rhythms shape us.
Like the flow of a river shapes its direction, rhythms define our direction and inform our purpose—for the long-term.
Rhythms focus us.
The water splashing and flowing in sustained direction shapes the land. So too, sustained rhythms focus our energy with purpose.
God designed rhythms.
Place two fingers on the side of your neck and feel the pump, pump, pump of your heart. From how our blood pumps to how our schedules flow, creation pulses with rhythm.
Where I live, leaves crunch under our feet in September. Snow blankets our yard in January. Lavender fills the air in April.
In Genesis 1 we learn that the rhythms in nature were created by God. The sun rises and sets. Corn grows and withers.
Life in rhythm.
The scriptures reveal life in rhythm. In the Old Testament period, God’s people practiced the pattern of work and rest (sabbath), seasonal festivals, and sacrifices.
Daniel practiced praying to the one true God three times a day, even when it almost cost him his life.
In the New Testament, we also see God-directed rhythms.
Jesus and Peter practiced regular prayer, possibly the Jewish hours of prayer.
Jesus left the disciples with the rhythm of discipleship: to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Prepare for a Purposeful New Year
Resolutions produce joy like a surprise box of chocolates, but rhythms provide lasting nutrition.
Like the ancient fathers and mothers of our faith who practiced disciplined spiritual rhythms, we too can commit to practices that shape our direction and provide space for lasting change.
What healthy rhythm do you practice?
We would love to hear in the comments.