Finding your War Time Rhythms

A quick observation from what I'm seeing in some of the people I'm coaching right now and experiencing in my own life.

For many Christian leaders, a sad reality is that there aren't the scriptural patterns of abiding with Jesus in a rhythmic way that define their reality. Rather than working from a place of rest, they push and push on work until they are forced (or crash!) into rest (though it's more like recuperation).

What I notice is that as people begin to develop daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms, often time for the first time in a way that is sustainable, they do it during what I call "peace time." In other words, things in their life are often quite stable, repetitive and "normal." They are able to wake up at the same time, have the same travel rhythms, put aside the same sabbath day; basically, able to manage their energy and schedule in a sustainable, peaceable way. Another way of looking at it is they are developing them when they have emotional and spiritual margin for that kind of activity.

Which is fantastic.

However, I'm noticing that this is really stage one.

Because things don't stay "peace time" all the time.

Babies happen. Work can pick up. Travel can increase. Parents move in with you. People pass away. We experience sickness. Spiritual warfare. Sleepless nights. Things happen out of the blue that are completely unexpected and these unavoidable realities keep us from living out the rhythms we have painstakingly set up.

Perhaps a practical example: In "peace time," I like to get up quite early in the morning, do something physical, then spend about 90 minutes by myself reading scripture, praying, journaling, listening to music, etc. That's the best case scenario for me. And there was a time where this was possible.

And then Jude, my second kid, was born. And then my daughter Avery started to get up much earlier as she got older. And then our third child, Sam, was born and the cycle started all over again. And then Sam turned 18 months old and this crazy side of him came alive. And now he's almost 4 years old and it seems to be getting worse!

Big cannonball explosion into my rhythm.

Suddenly, really through no fault of my own, my rhythm became unsustainable. I've also seen the same thing happen in heavy travel seasons. I've seen it happen with time changes (my body does some weird things for daylight savings time!).

What I noticed was that I almost needed a second set of rhythms that proved to be the drumbeat of my life during these times. What were things that I could do that kept me connected to the Father, continued to nourish me while I was in a more trying season without as much time and energy? This time isn't negotiable, but the way in which I take these times can be. I don't have as much time which means the time I do have needs to count just as much if not more.

It won't be like this forever, but it's reality right now.

I've seen in myself and the people I'm investing in that this war time rhythm is something that probably needs to be attended to, particularly in the day to day. My observation is that when this happens, we will actually need to double-down on our efforts for our weekly sabbath, but really give ourselves to seasonal times of retreat and nourishment with the people (spouse?) who we do life with and draw life from.

Am I alone on this? Has anyone seen this in their life?