As I’ve stepped into this year, I am emerging slowly from six months of living at a slower pace than normal. A season of stripping life and ministry back to the bare minimum.
In that place I have allowed God to renew and restore my weary soul.
I had been running hard for a few years, and though I had carefully put retreats and holidays into the diary and dedicated weekly time to quiet prayer and reflection, it wasn’t quiet enough to ward off the weariness that caught me by surprise.
I had been running at the wrong pace.
For a number of years now, Father God, in His mercy, kindness and loving care, has been teaching me how to apply Jesus’ words in Matthew:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
In any work – even in ministry – it is easy to look at everyone around you and compare yourself; feeling that you need to live and work at the same pace in which they do.
But Jesus invites us to come alongside Him; to look at Him; to live and work in rhythm with Him. And when we do that, we find rest for our souls, even when we’re running.
His rhythm will always be a rhythm of grace for us, because it is unique to who we are. Because he knows and understands us. When we step out of rhythm with Him and try to match someone else’s, we end up burned out and frustrated.
We have a rhythm with Jesus that’s unique to who we are.
My pace has often been uneven and sporadic – at times in rhythm with Jesus – other times falteringly in rhythm with others around me. I listen to other voices – my own, well-meaning others, and the faceless voices of imagined expectations of others.
This year, I want ears for the voice of the Father only.
There is a beautiful method of training horses created by the original “horse whisperer” Monty Roberts. When I watch Monty work with a horse, I see myself, frazzled, confused, uncertain. Then because the master standing there in the centre understands me and speaks my language, I calm. I turn my ears towards him; I slow down; I acknowledge my need for him to be the one to lead me and set my pace.
And then, just like that, we are in rhythm together and I am at rest as I place my trust in his ability to lead me, like I need to be led.
Help me this year to hear your voice above all the other voices, to keep my ears and my focus turned on you, that I may live and work in rhythm with you, experiencing and sharing with others more of your grace and freedom.
This blog is part of our 2019 Focus on Jesus series.