Rhythm | Spiritually Fit
As the water flows out of the kitchen faucet, my eyes begin to clear. I often have to think extra hard about what I am doing so I don’t overfill the kettle, but then muscle memory takes over. 96 degrees C, 47 grams, 25 grind, 30-second bloom, and 3.5 minutes later my day begins.
Every day starts the same way with my pour-over coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other.
Now, you are probably thinking that I am one of those pretentious coffee people who easily finds time every morning to hear from God. I’ll admit, I am one of those pretentious coffee people. However, carving out time every morning to pursue my relationship with God isn’t easy. It’s just my rhythm.
Today, as we jump into our journey of becoming spiritually fit people, we are going to talk about rhythm and creating a plan that will set us up for success.
Engaging in spiritual disciplines is like learning a new skill or preparing yourself to run a marathon. In the beginning, your stamina for the activity at hand is really low, you may feel clumsy and unsure, and there is a fairly high chance that you will want to give up on your pursuit. The important part is that we keep showing up even when we don’t feel like it.
Often when it comes to matters of faith or relationship with God, we feel like we have to be in the right place to enter in. As if there is some sort of prerequisite that prepares us to hear from God. The base obligation being that we feel like it. However, if we wait to engage until we feel like it, we very well may never begin. In his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson discusses the importance of perseverance in Christian worship and spiritual discipline. He writes, “If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship...Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship” (pg. 53-54). In other words, Peterson is suggesting that sometimes it’s not the desire for something that motivates our participation, but rather it is the participation in the practice that fosters a desire within us. When it comes to fitness, there are many days when one just doesn’t feel like it and that’s why we need a rhythm.
A rhythm is established through consistent practice wherein a priority becomes a habit. Because we’ve already decided that we want to make spiritual fitness a priority this year, let’s conclude by talking about how to implement consistent practice.
Building a Rhythm
As part of striving to be a holistically healthy person in 2019, I resolved to also focus in on physical fitness. However, this isn’t the first time that I have started off a new year with a physical fitness goal in mind. My track record hasn’t been great when it comes to exercise because I simply don’t enjoy it and often don’t feel like it. So, I knew that if there was going to be any chance for success, I would have to build a rhythm around exercise.
Building a rhythm includes three key parts: a number, a time, and an advocate.
So for my fitness goal, I came up with three numbers. I decided I wanted to run 2 miles 3 times a week and do 25 crunches and 10 push-ups a day. These numbers may seem small at first, because they are. But remember, the goal is that our priority becomes a habit. So, once a rhythm is established, more can be added as our stamina grows.
As for a time, I decided that I would do these exercises at the beginning of my lunch break. When it comes to timing, the important thing is finding a time that will work consistently. Early afternoon tends to be a good time of day for me personally, so this is where I decided to slot in exercise. Plus having it right before lunch provided a nice little reward when I was done.
Finally, an advocate is someone who will encourage and support you while you work towards your goal. An advocate is important to rhythm building because, once you share your plan with them, you have officially committed to the task at hand and you have someone to hold you accountable. I shared my physical fitness goals with my wife so that she could help me stay accountable and encourage me on my journey.
Spiritual Fitness Challenge
We will be talking about different spiritual disciplines in a future post, but in the meantime focus on creating a rhythm and implementing it. Follow the questions below to build a rhythm. Once you have named a number, a time, and have selected an advocate, use the time you have set aside to read a Psalm, ask yourself what that Psalm tells you about who God is, and then close your time in prayer.
Here are some questions to help you build a rhythm for spiritual fitness:
How many times a week will you set aside intentional time to pursue spiritual fitness? (If you are new to this, start with 2-4 times a week)
How long will each of your spiritual fitness sessions be? (10-15 minutes tends to be a sweet spot at the beginning)
Take a moment to think about your week. When can you consistently set aside time? (Before the kids wake up, at the beginning of your work day, at lunch, or right after the kids go to bed at night may be options to consider)
Who are you going to tell? (A friend, a co-worker, or a spouse are all great options)
Finally, when are you going to start?
Next week, we will start exploring spiritual disciplines by discussing Bible reading and meditating on Scripture. If you are excited about spiritual fitness, help us get the word out by sharing this post to your favorite social media channel. It’s as simple as selecting an icon at the bottom of the page.