Finding my rhythm

We were chatting about morning routines, and the things that are essential at the start of the day. One friend’s family members have learned not to ask any questions or expect any help from her before she’s had her first coffee. They know she’s not really conscious until she’s had coffee.

I don’t really have much in the way of consistent daily or weekly routines. You may have noticed that since I’m so sporadic with my writing and posts on Flourish! Having a routine seems somehow kind of boring, static and inflexible, as if that would characterise me if I kept to a routine. Computer programs have routines. (My apologies to those of you who function well precisely because you do have a routine.)

So, because words affect how I think and feel about something, and therefore how I act, I’ve been thinking that perhaps I need a different word.

Rhythm

Not so much a routine, as a rhythm, like a piece of music, a dance or a poem.

In her book, A million little ways⁠1, Emily P. Freeman explains how the words workmanship or masterpiece are often used to translate the Greek word poiema in Ephesians 2:10, and that our English word poem has its origins in this word poiema. 

If I am a living poem, what might the rhythm of my life look like?

I like the idea of rhythm; pattern, flow, tempo. It feels more life-giving than routine.

There’s a lot to think about there, but I want to start here with you, with this blog. I want to experiment with establishing a rhythm to my offerings at Flourish!

Here are a few ideas I’m tossing about at present. I’d like to know if they resonate with you, or just make you feel like you’re travelling on a corrugated dirt road in a car with a dodgy suspension.

  • Monthly Musings – thoughts on what I’ve discovered, experienced, learned in the last month
  • OneWord365 – regular posts on my one word for this year (which is “trust” in case you were wondering)
  • The Book Tour – thoughts / notes from the books I’m reading (monthly?)
  • Themed series – and yes, I will get back to the series on Waiting.

If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see on Flourish! in 2015, I’m all ears. Join the conversation in the Comments section.


Emily P. Freeman, A million little ways: uncover the art you were made to live (Grand Rapids: Revell, 2013), 25.

Image source: morguefile.com

31 Days: What if you listened?

Worship

What if everything you did in life was for the express purpose of showing your love to God?

What if it was all an expression of adoration and worship?

What would life look like?

What would it feel like?

What if you stopped thinking you already know what God wants and what he’s doing, and started asking, started listening?

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

Image sourced here.

31 Days to Listen

This is Day 27 of the series 31 Days to Listen.

31 Days: Listen in Solitude

Eucalyptus Arms

In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the result of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared.

Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude: three meditations on the Christian life

 

31 Days to Listen

This is Day 21 of the series 31 Days to Listen. Visit Write 31 Days to see what other writers are doing for this challenge.

The Jigsaw Puzzle of Life

My brother Craig and I went through a period when we bought each other jigsaw puzzles for Christmas and birthdays. The best part of the game (for him at least) was to find the most difficult puzzles. One year he gave me a puzzle comprising dozens of goldfish on a blue background. A little challenging? Try it with no straight edges and five extra pieces that look like they belong but don’t actually fit in the puzzle. I was making as much progress as a mouse pushing an elephant uphill until my friend Megan helped me out.

Another puzzle my brother gave me consisted of dozens of emperor penguins, so it’s largely black and white. This one at least had edges. The kicker was that it’s square, double-sided, with the same image printed on the reverse side – and rotated 90 degrees!

Megan and I have also enjoyed putting numerous jigsaw puzzles together, including a puzzle with no picture on the box lid, one almost entirely composed of black animals, and a photo-mosaic map of the world. The map was actually the hardest. It was definitely a two-person puzzle, needing each of us to encourage the other as enthusiasm and energy ebbed and flowed. If I’d just been on my own, I might never have finished it.

Jigsaws have the ability to drive you crazy with frustration and lack of progress, and yet every time you set a piece in the correct location, fitting snug with its neighbours, there’s a sense of satisfaction.

Have you ever noticed how life can seem like a jigsaw puzzle? So many things happen in our lives that we can’t seem to make sense of, that don’t seem to have a place or purpose. We can’t see how they fit together, and there’s no picture on the box showing us exactly what the whole puzzle is supposed to look like.

Sometimes we manage to fit a few pieces together, and we get excited because we think we know what we’re doing now. We think we know what to expect. Until we try to fit the next piece somewhere and discover that we have no clue.

When I started writing this post, I wanted to focus on God as the Master puzzle maker. The one who knows every piece of the puzzle and how it fits together. He knows how beautiful they all are because he designed them with care and love. I wanted to talk about how we can trust him with the pieces of our life even when we don’t understand how they fit together. And I still think that’s true, but something else emerged while I was writing, something else I needed to see. Perhaps you’ve already noticed it?

Puzzles are easier and generally more fun when I tackle them with someone else and not just on my own. When it’s getting tough we help each other out, lift one another up when we’re getting discouraged. That photo mosaic map of the world? At times that got so tough that we’d need to take a break from it. One of us kept going while other had a rest, and soon energy and enthusiasm would return and we’d make some more progress.

And that’s how we’ve been designed to do life – with each other. Each of us helping each other and spurring one another on. We need each other, especially when life hands us the pieces that don’t seem to fit.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

(And Megan, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for the many hours we’ve enjoyed together on those puzzles, and thank you for showing me this truth about life.)

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When having all the answers isn’t the answer

It was the end of a long work day and I was talking with a colleague. She was frustrated, stressed, and looking to me for a solution to her situation.

“I wish I had all the answers for you, but I don’t.”

I wished there was something else I could say, something else I could do for her.  I didn’t have any ‘fix-it’ words of wisdom.

I can’t change her situation. All I can do is walk alongside her on the journey.

Season change

I haven’t written much this year, and I apologise for my absence from the blogosphere. But I’ve come to realise that one of the things holding me back is wishing I had all the answers for you. I want to give you answers, I want to give you wisdom, to bless you. When you do me the honour of reading my words I want them to be worthy of your time and attention. I wish that I had the perfect advice on how to flourish. I don’t. The truth is that I’m a mess myself. I’m still on a long slow road to recovery from burn-out.

But I want to flourish. I desire that for myself, and for you. I’m guessing you want that too. Why else are you here?

I may not have all the answers, but I can be a fellow-traveller on the journey. Will you walk with me?

Maybe we’ll discover a few answers together along the way.