Establishing a Healthy Rhythm in Life and Ministry
Have you ever watched a couple gliding across the dance floor with their steps perfectly in sync? The way they move to the rhythm of the music appears effortless. Years ago, my husband and I signed up for a beginning ballroom dance class. We quickly discovered the difficulty of dancing in step with one another and mirroring the tempo of the music. After many failed attempts to make it through one song, the instructor pointed out our mistake – I wasn’t following my husband’s lead. The lead dancer keeps time, selects steps, and guides their partner in those steps. When one person leads, and the other doesn’t follow, the discord between the rhythm of the music and the dancers’ moves becomes obvious, and both dancers feel it.
When allowing the Lord to lead, we feel the rhythm of the steps and enjoy the dance. We don’t guess the next move because he guides us. But when out of sync with Him, we stumble around through our days. We tend to speed up the tempo to match the busyness of the world around us. We try to keep up only to find our feet flailing and our minds and bodies exhausted. We need to find a healthy rhythm in life, allowing the Lord to lead us so that we can lead others well in our ministry.
First, let’s look at some indicators suggesting we’re out of sync in our personal lives and in ministry.
You know you’re out of sync in your personal life when…
● Your time spent with the Lord is sporadic at best
● Your relationships with family and friends get put on the back burner
● You are always tired no matter how much you sleep
● You continually feel like you just have to “push through”
● Your mental and/or physical health suffers
You know you’re out of sync in your ministry when…
● Your work calendar is overflowing with meetings and events
● You go through the motions with kids and parents
● You find yourself short-tempered with coworkers and volunteers
● You consistently stay at work past office hours
● You view ministry as something you have to do instead of something you get to do
These are not exhaustive lists, but they give you an idea of how an unhealthy rhythm looks. If you notice these characteristics in your daily life, it’s time to examine why.
Now that we have an idea of how an unhealthy rhythm looks, let’s talk about ways to find a godly rhythm for our personal lives and in ministry.
Let the Lord Lead
In order to allow Him to lead our steps, we have to know the leader and yield to His guidance. We know and teach about life-giving time spent with the Lord. But do we do it? It’s easy to mistake study or prayer time at work as personal time with God. What about time spent with Him simply to be with and worship Him? Instead of relegating your own time spent with God as something to do after you deal with everything else on your to-do list, move it back to the top of the list.
Revamp Your Schedule
It’s really easy to let vocational ministry overwhelm every aspect of your life and, therefore, your calendar. When space in your daily life for the Lord, for your family, or for rest doesn’t exist, it’s time to make a change. Block out time with the Lord, with family, and for down time. If it’s not routinely on your calendar, it’s easy to skip. Evaluate your day-to-day work responsibilities. Where can you find margin to dream or create? Maybe there’s a meeting or two that could easily be communicated with an email. Send the email. Perhaps some meetings tend to get off track because you set aside too much time for them. Shorten them. There may be tasks you do that could be easily done by a volunteer. Delegate those things to others. You should not have to rush or hurry to stay in step with the Lord.
Practice, Practice, Practice
When dancers learn a new pattern of steps, it takes time to master them. Missteps are bound to happen along the way. When you change your routine to establish a healthier rhythm of life, don’t give up if you find yourself slipping into old patterns. Get up, brush yourself off, and try again. Enjoy the days when you feel like you are completely in sync with the Lord. And be encouraged on the days when you don’t quite have it because the Lord is a patient partner.
When we follow a healthy rhythm in our personal lives and in ministry, we are better equipped to do the work the Father has called us to with our own families and friends as well as the kids and families we minister to at church. It may not be easy to master, but it will be worth it.