Wrestling with Rhythm

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Rhythm and routine: two concepts that I am largely unfamiliar with but desperately desire. Routine does not accurately reference what I am referring to exactly so let’s stick with the word rhythm. What constitutes a “rhythm of life” and how do we attain or latch ourselves on to such a rhythm? Also, how do we reject a idealistic rhythm that is next to impossible to maintain? These are some questions that I have been wrestling with and so I thought I would write here for us to discuss. First of all, what is rhythm and how does it tangibly works itself out in life?

To me, a rhythm can be similar to a routine insofar as there are certain things you do at certain times of day on particular days of the week, but there is also something that distinguishes it from a routine. Rhythm, like in a musical composition, refers to the pattern or movement of, in this case, sound. Rhythm can also refer to the pace at which that sound moves as well. So, let’s say that rhythm refers to a particular pattern, movement, and pace.

I read this article this morning and it presented the daily routines of some of the most creative and intelligent minds of our modern age. It was a really interesting read and I believe that it spoke to this idea of rhythm. If you take a look you’ll notice that the rhythm’s that these brilliant people maintained were rather quirky. I think that by observing the differences among people it is safe presume that routines and rhythms are rather relative to each individual person.  I think too that rhythms are, to a certain extent, based on the season that we are currently inhabiting. Thus, it would make sense that our rhythm of life might have to be adapted and re-formulated as we are forced to readjust and find a new pattern, movement, and pace.

I once had someone who had undergone many difficult transitions in life tell me that “a balanced life” seemed completely utopian to him. Instead, he realized that God often brings us into seasons of extremes in life where tension, compromise, and rhythm exists. It makes sense to me that rhythm is not a call to a balanced life (where we give equally to everything on our plate), but a life of health lived in the midst of these seasons of extremes.

What is necessary to establish a rhythm? First, discipline. From there, I am not entirely sure, but I think it begins with knowing our priorities. Perhaps there are things in our lives that must be cemented into every phase of life. These may be things like waking up every morning at 6 and praying, writing, or just sitting quiet. Maybe there are significant relationships that deserve time no matter the season. What about hobbies? Exercize? Whatever it is, if these people, disciplines, or hobbies are not identified then they will be more easily forgotten and left out of your schedule even though you desire for them to be included. At the most general level, priorities need identified.

Also, I think that article is right in noting that scheduling is extremely helpful in maintaining a rhythm. Writing your schedule down (the archaic route of course) or putting it in your google calendar can be a helpful means of maintaining pace and pattern. Either way, having your schedule written out can be a helpful hint and maybe even be helpful to those who are close to you.

I think that one of the most important things to remember is that your rhythm must be completely determined by the season that you find yourself in, but it also must include the “unmovable boulders” in your life. I hope that as I learn this it will help me to be more intentional with my time and less reactive to all that is happening around me. I hope the same for you.

With all that said, I am still in the learning process of what it might mean to maintain rhythm in the season I am in currently. Do any of you have anything to add or subtract? I appreciate any and all conversation!

2 comments

  1. I, too, am in search of a rhythm currently! I don’t know if I’ve ever had one since high school, and even then, it wasn’t necessarily intentional, but rather that my weeks were almost literally completely filled with activity. I appreciate the thoughtful questioning of what that means and what it should look like. We shall see how it plays out…

    1. Thanks for your candor, Lauren. I can relate with you sentiment indeed. I am glad you acknowledge the difference between mere business and intentional rhythm. I hope you find a helpful rhythm that includes rest! Thanks again!

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