Rhythm, Balance, Pace

There seems to be a consistent theme in leadership circles as of late about the importance of things like rhythm, balance and pace of life.  I think we’ve been wearing ourselves out for too long and we’re desperately seeking some sanity.

This morning I read this great excerpt from the devotional Dare To Journey with Henri Nouwen by Charles Ringma and it challenged me to consider my approach to seeking this rhythm, balance and pace that seems so illusive.

The recognition that we need a receptive place – a place of quietness, openness, expectancy, and hope – usually springs from failure, stress, or difficulty.  It occurs when our personal resources are depleted and we are not coping.  Thus the quest for the receptive place is often the result of crisis rather than the product of careful management.  It comes from difficulty rather than from a recognition of our own finiteness and our constant need for inner renewal.

If we create the receptive place only when we urgently need it, then we can only expect short-term solutions.  But if we make the receptive place a way of life, then we can expect renewal, discernment, direction, courage, and hope.

So many times it takes being utterly exhausted for me to realize how dry I am spiritually and how desperate I am for that quiet place.  Oftentimes the quiet place seems like a luxury to me so it gets squeezed out of my schedule because of the host of responsibilities that I need to tackle.  The greatest challenge for me in creating this quite place is in understanding that my time with God is not a luxury but a necessity from which the rest of my life flows out of.  (Seriously, why is that so hard?!)

What is the greatest challenge for you in creating the receptive/quiet place?

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  • Rindy Walton October 23, 2009  

    I had to get over the myth that a receptive/quiet place meant sitting, doing nothing & not thinking. That just makes it worse!! For me it’s doing things like kayaking, biking, gardening, painting/remodeling or even driving listening to Christian music (and often really rockin at that!).

  • @B_rewster October 23, 2009  

    I think Rhythm is so important. When we have the right rhythm things move accordingly. It provides balance and it provides boundaries. Pace, now that is another thing. I think not managing pace makes us fall out of rhythm.

  • jan owen October 23, 2009  

    I think my biggest challenge for me is the mental and emotional pull of all the other things in my life. It takes time for me to “turn a corner” and settle down with God. Other thoughts fly through my head all the time. I think I don’t carve out enough space in my life to do this as well as I’d like.

    And what the author said is true. I would say – from my own experience – that in the dark times we become desperate for God to do a work we would hardly allow when all is well. It’s sad but true.

  • Craig Cowie November 6, 2009  

    The Christian mystics of several centuries past like Madam Guyon and Brother Lawrence had a take on this that ‘releases’ us from the struggle for a ‘quiet time’to attend to God’s indwelling Spirit.
    Brother Lawrence wrote a small book about Practising the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence was a cook and he used the time he was performing manual tasks (as a part of his work) as opportunities to be inclose communion with God by ‘practicing His presence’. Maintaining a ‘Spiritual connectedness’ throughout the day assists me greatly.

  • Larry C November 25, 2009  

    One of the Spanish Mystics wrote we need to tune our hearts and minds in preparation for prayer just as a guitar is tuned prior to being played.