Different: A Rhythm of Life

An invitation to rearrange your life

Several years ago, God began rearranging my life. I vividly remember the day it escalated. I was sitting in my car after an important meeting, my mind reeling. I turned on a Christian playlist, and this song (unfamiliar to me at the time) proceeded to play: Different by Micah Tyler.

Here’s the chorus: I want to be different. I want to be changed. Till all of me is gone, and all that remains, is a fire so bright, the whole world can see, that there’s something different, so come and be different in me.

I was undone. Unable to function, I took two days off work so I could process what the Lord was doing inside. I knew he was inviting me out of my comfort zone into the unknown. It was exciting and at the same time, terrifying.

That day marked a turning point in my life. And it all started with a song — a song so personal it seemed as though it was written just for me.

I’m wired rhythmically, moved by beats and beautiful words. So it makes sense that the Lord would get my attention through a song with such a meaningful message. 

I’m not the only one. We’re all designed to respond to rhythm, whether music or otherwise. God has woven rhythms into our lives. Sunrise and sunset. Seasons. Sabbath. Feasts and festivals.

The question is, are we paying attention? Are we ordering our days, and our lives, intentionally … or haphazardly?

One solution is to craft a rule of life, or as I prefer to call it, a rhythm of life. Here’s how Adele Ahlberg Calhoun defines it:

“A rule for life offers unique and regular rhythms that free and open each person to the will and presence of Christ. The spiritual practices of a rule provide a way to partner with the Holy Spirit for personal transformation.”

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

I recently spent a week at the beach. It’s one place where I feel especially close to God. I love listening to the rhythm of the waves, tuning me to the sound of my Savior’s voice.

Alas, I live in Nebraska, so beach walks aren’t a reasonable rhythm for my regular life — though it’s an activity I try to experience annually.

Vacations are a blessing. I love breaking away from my usual surroundings. In fact, retreats are a valuable spiritual practice. Yet when I return home, I’m happy to get back into a routine.

The shape of our days determines the direction of our lives. Spiritual disciplines help us wrap our lives around God, partnering with him and relying on his power to transform. 

Think of a rhythm of life as a compilation of certain spiritual practices best suited to your unique personality and season of life. Here’s a quick list of options to consider: 

  • Silence
  • Solitude
  • Simplicity
  • Fasting
  • Prayer
  • Journaling
  • Bible Study
  • Spiritual direction
  • Lectio Divina
  • Sabbath
  • Giving
  • Retreats
  • Confession
  • Worship
  • Celebration

See Calhoun’s “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook” for more options and information.

It’s been five years since I first heard that Micah Tyler song. Back then, I had zero clue about spiritual disciplines (other than prayer and Bible study). 

Today, my life looks nothing like it did then. In my own process, here are a few practices that have marked me: worship, journaling, lamenting, and waiting.

I’m different. (and also still a work in progress)

If “different” is also your heart cry, here’s your invitation to partner with Jesus and craft a new rhythm of life. 

Let the adventure begin!

Here are some questions from Calhoun’s handbook to help with next steps:

  1. Who do you want to become?
  2. If you had six months to live, how would you spend your time?
  3. Where do you want to change? Where do you feel powerless to change? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do, through grace, what you cannot do through effort alone.

(I wrote this blog for Selah, a prayer group I’m part of in my city. Learn more at SelahOmaha.com.)

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