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Developing a Rhythm of Life

A Rhythm of Life is a set of commitments aimed at making space in our busy lives to connect with Jesus. Much like a trellis supports a vine to grow upwards, bearing more fruit, a Rhythm of Life supports our journey in “abiding in the vine” as Jesus taught in John 15:1-8.

Far from being a rigid checklist, designing a rhythm of life should be a liberating exercise designed for personal growth, joy, and freedom. Below, you’ll find a printable worksheet to help you develop a new rhythm of life, focused on your connecting with Jesus throughout your day.

Some Recommendations

(adapted from Practicing the Way)

Start Modestly:

  • Begin with realistic and enjoyable goals tailored to your current lifestyle. Over-ambition, like trying to adopt a monastic lifestyle instantly, could lead to frustration.

Be Specific:

  • Opt for clear, actionable practices rather than abstract ideals. For instance, designate “Sabbath on Sundays by turning off my phone” instead of vaguely deciding to “be more relaxed.”

Adapt for your personality:

  • Introverts may need more quiet alone time, while extroverts might thrive on social interactions. Strive for a balance that suits your personality.

Life Stage & Discipleship Level:

  • Your life circumstances and spiritual maturity matter. Parents with young children or newcomers to spiritual practices should set gentler, achievable goals.

Balance Challenging and Enjoyable Practices:

  • Mix practices that challenge you with those you find enjoyable and easy to maintain a healthy equilibrium.

Structure and Flexibility:

  • Don’t let your rhythm become a rigid routine. Accommodate spontaneous divine interruptions and ensure your rhythm retains a sense of freedom and joy.

Dynamic Adjustment:

  • Your Rhythm of Life isn’t set in stone. Regularly review and adjust it to ensure it’s still helping you foster a meaningful connection with God and others. If adhering to your rhythm compromises healthy relationships, it’s time for a revision.

A Rhythm for Every Stage

A Rhythm of Life is needed in every stage of spiritual development. In The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith, Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich developed a helpful model to understand these stages (we’ve adapted the names of these stages to reflect our context):

Often, church programs do a good job leading people through stages 1 through 3, but have little help for those experiencing stages 4 through 6. Many times, people hit “the wall” and become discouraged or disillusioned to the point of leaving their faith. What most don’t understand is that growth into maturity in Christ requires us to go through the wall into the rich, later stages of spiritual life.

**Stage One: Awakening** (“I’m AMAZED!)

  • This is the initial awe-inspiring realization of God’s existence. It’s a humbling experience, marked by excitement and the feeling of having stumbled upon something incredible. 
  • Believers at this stage often feel that their lives are perfectly orchestrated by God, promising harmony and peace for those who follow His path.
  • Trust is extended readily, especially towards fellow believers. An example from the Bible is King David, who questions why no one is challenging Goliath, expressing shock at the Philistine’s defiance against the armies of the living God.
  • A possible downside of this stage includes the risk of developing superstitions, like believing in guaranteed success for playing by God’s rules without fully understanding them.

**Stage Two: Learning** (“I’m CONNECTED!)

  • In this stage, believers often find a strong connection with a leader or a belief system. There’s a sense of belonging and identity with a particular group or cause.
  • Examples might include various causes like hunger relief, evangelism, or social justice issues. The cause or leader becomes a beacon, guiding beliefs and actions.
  • Tools like spiritual gifts inventories or personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram, might be used to find one’s place in God’s plan.
  • However, this stage can lead to legalism and moralism. Adherence to the group’s teachings becomes mandatory, and any deviation might lead to exclusion. There’s also a risk of becoming disillusioned with the group – “I’m not happy here anymore”, or “this place has changed”.

**Stage Three: Serving** (“I’m PRODUCTIVE!)

  • Here, believers find their identity and role within their faith, often helping others in their spiritual journeys. This stage is characterized by a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
  • We feel spiritually invincible and try to help everyone around us to experience the same kind of faith.
  • The downside of this stage includes a tendency to be overly evangelical, trying to convert others to one’s own beliefs. This can lead to burnout and feelings of being unappreciated or disillusioned when others don’t respond as expected.

**Stage Four: The Journey Inward** (“I’m SHAKEN)

  • Triggered by a crisis that cannot be averted or avoided (THE WALL), this stage involves deep personal questioning and the reevaluation of one’s beliefs and truths. It’s a more solitary journey.
  • The guidance of spiritual leaders might be less effective here, as they may not have navigated this stage themselves.
  • Scriptural examples include Peter’s transformation after the Resurrection and Elijah’s period of doubt and fear.
  • The journey here is less about finding answers and more about personal transformation.

**Stage Five: The Journey Outward** (I’m SETTLED)

  • Emerging from the introspection of Stage Four, believers in this stage find a new understanding of God’s love and their place in the world.
  • This stage is marked by a sense of humor and an alignment of personal desires with God’s purposes.
  • The focus shifts from striving for personal success to a more relaxed, God-centered existence.

**Stage Six: The Life of Love** (I’m MATURE)

  • This is the stage of complete spiritual maturity, often described as union with God. 
  • It’s characterized by a deep trust in God and a detachment from material possessions, much like Jesus’s itinerant lifestyle.
  • Believers in this stage are less concerned with defining themselves and more with living a life deeply rooted in God.

Recommended Scriptures & Prayers

Our pastors pray the following scriptures and prayers each day. We welcome you to integrate these prayers into your daily rhythm.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Psalm 23

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Psalm 91

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Psalm 103

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from the evil one.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Matthew 6

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the [a]earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven,
for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day:
Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving kindness
to us and all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honour and glory throughout all ages.

Morning Prayer from the Common Book of Prayer