In the last few weeks I have had a number of conversations on the topic of spiritual rhythms.
Some of my Mill City Church community members were sharing that they were feeling out of step with what God was doing and saying in their lives.
I have also been teaching a class on Spiritual Formation at Bethel University.
New Year, New Spiritual Rhythms
I have noticed five things about spiritual rhythms in these recent experiences:
1. Spiritual rhythms, disciplines or practices are often given a bad wrap.
Like they are just “going through the motions.” It’s a sort of left-over legalism from the “devo” and “quiet time” days when people saw these rhythms as a way to achieve spiritual points or something. Rather than a way to connect with a God who loves us, wants to lead us, refresh us and guide us toward greater well-being in our lives.
2. Those who try to practice spiritual rhythms are often surprised by the challenge to actually do the rhythms in our hectic lives.
It feels like everything is against you: the noise, the Internet, the crowds, the to dos, the list goes on…
3. When people do make an effort to give it a try, they are surprised by how refreshing it is when they get into the habit.
They describe feeling a deeper sense of connection to their own soul and to God. They describe peace (or I would use the deep Hebrew word shalom).
4. Find Stillness
Many have reflected, myself included, that life is so unpredictable, full of chaos and transition. When they have spiritual rhythms in place, those practices may be the only constant in their lives for a whole season! It reminds them that while everything around us is in constant flux and change, God is unchanging.
5. Finally, those who are questioning God in some way, or even the very existence of God, can find it very difficult to continue spiritual practices.
However, the right practices help provide a space to be active in the questions, rather than passive. Space can be created in our day and week to let our questions, curiosity and even doubts expand our minds and hearts.