Recently I was asked what I do with my time. I was not sure if the person was getting at me because I had been talking about processing apples or if they really wanted to know. However it started me thinking – how do I prioritize my time and how do I find time for all the things that I really think matter?
It seemed an appropriate time to reflect on the ideas that are the foundations for my book Godspace and some of the ideas that lead to the setting up of this blog.
I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have done for 15 years. During the first year of my illness I spent much of my time in bed. I couldn’t work, drive the car or do anything that lifting or carrying. I had loads of time to think about what had gotten me to this stage & ask what could I have done to avoid it. During those months of incapacity I studied the life of Jesus looking specifically at how he prioritized his time and what kind of a rhythm his days had.
I came to the conclusion that there were three rhythms that he balanced in his life – the rhythm between the spiritual and the secular, between work and rest and between community and solitude. Not surprisingly when I started to study the monastic communities I realized that their lives flowed to the same rhythms and it seems to me that throughout the ages those that have been able to sustain and grow their faith maintain these same kind of disciplines. Of course what this looks like varies from time to time depending on whether we are single, married, with kids, working or retired but I do think that maintaining these rhythms is important.
This is not easy in our world today. There are so many “important” things that pull us away from God’s intended rhythms. What concerns me is how many followers of Jesus I meet who allow these to govern how their time and resources are used. Our time with God and our spiritual practices often give way to our jobs, our shopping sprees or our sports obsessions. – and we have all kinds of reasons for rationalizing this. Many of us don’t even think it is possible to live a life that is centred on God and that flows to God’s rhythms. Busyness really is the applauded addiction in our society & we think that this is God’s way.
I love the words from Matthew 11: 29, 30 as translated in The Message
Walk with me & 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 & you’ll learn to live freely and lightly
I think it would do all of us good to spend time meditating on these verses regularly. What are the unforced rhythms of grace that God wants us to embrace in our lives? What do you think?