The possibility of joy in rhythm

Recently I have found myself again reading, thinking and talking about adolescent development – partly with youth pastors and leaders as they seek to understand and engage the young people in their midst, and partly in connection to my role with Morling College as the Coordinator of Youth Ministry Studies.
It has caused me to reflect on some of my own approaches to life. I love being spontaneous!!! There’s just something about making quick decisions, taking a risk, giving something a go that entices me. Curiosity about the unknown and the possibility of new places are certainly my defaults. You could say it’s the adolescent in me. But what about the alternative? What about stability? What about regular commitment? What about disciplines? Is it possible to find joy in these places too?
There is a certain irony about me writing on such a topic as my musical abilities are well and truly sub-par. I’m the guy who has to stop clapping in church because my timing is well you know. That aside, what I know is that in life, rhythm matters.
As much as personality plays its part, there certainly seems to be a direct correlation between life-stage and rhythm. Those who have a significant number of responsibilities are forced into rhythm, even if it is not their preference, simply to ensure that everything gets done. This is usually associated with study, work and family. There can, therefore, be significant points of frustration with those entering the workforce, academic environments and becoming parents.
Part of the solution is simply getting a handle on what’s required and when it’s required by. Part of the solution is about allocating the necessary time to tasks. Part of the solution is being aware of your abilities and your limitations. Part of the solution is about breaking down the big things into lots of smaller things. But part of the solution is about finding the joy in the rhythm.
This is very true when it comes to the practice of spiritual disciples – an area of life that often stinks of spontaneity.
Right now I am personally in the grips of needing to be a person of rhythm.
Some questions for reflection:

  1. Where do you see rhythm in the Bible?
  2. What is the rhythm of your week?
  3. What is the rhythm of your ministry or church calendar?

I wonder if you wound say that your rhythm lines up with your understanding of God’s desired rhythm?
When it comes to teaching others about the importance and benefit of rhythm, whether they be your own children, those in your youth ministry or even newer/younger staff, I have found the following 5 things to be extremely helpful

  1. Notice the rhythm of Creation – days, seasons, plants, animals
  2. Give language to your actions – what you do naturally might be natural for others
  3. Get a diary and use it – not simply for work but for life
  4. Look out for time-saving tips from others – 10 minutes here and there certainly adds up
  5. Break the rules and be spontaneous some of the time

Whatever season of life you find yourself in, may you find joy in rhythm – as clunky and as that might be.


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