How to Get Your Life in Rhythm
- Monday, May 18, 2009
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Bruce Miller's new book, Your Life in Rhythm, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009).
The pressure of trying to keep every part of your life – work, relationships, church, recreation, and more – in balance each day only leads to frustration and burnout, no matter how hard you try. Meanwhile, all around you, the natural world moves in rhythms – from the seasons changing and the sun rising and setting to your heart beating and your lungs breathing.
If you stop the futile effort of trying to live in balance and instead live in harmony with life’s natural rhythms, you’ll accomplish what matters most with less stress and guilt.
Here's how you can get your life in rhythm:
Get off the balance beam. It’s unrealistic to give proportionate effort to every dimension of your life every day, because life doesn’t stay the same every day. Life is dynamic – constantly changing – and to live well, you need to adapt to those changes. Trying to live a balanced life puts an impossible burden on you, and you’ll struggle to keep up with all the daily demands. No matter how hard you try, you’ll end up feeling frustrated that you’re not spending as much time with your spouse and kids as you should, not keeping up with your friendships enough, not meeting all your work deadlines, not serving enough in church, not maintaining your house and yard well, etc. So free yourself from our culture’s pressure to live a balanced life.
Appreciate life’s natural rhythms. God has planned the right times for everything. Sometimes it’s time to work hard; sometimes it’s time to rest and recover. Sometimes it’s time to grieve; sometimes it’s time to celebrate. Certain days, weeks, and months are different from others, just as you go through different stages of life, from infancy to old age. Rather than trying to achieve the same balance regardless of what time it is for you, focus on one season at time.
Create a life mission statement. Think and pray about why you’re alive and what you should do with your life. Then write down a mission statement that will guide you to live intentionally. It will help you make the most of your time by giving you boundaries within which your life’s rhythms can flow.
Become a wise steward. Take stock of who and what God has made you responsible for – from being a good parent to your kids, to being a good employee on the job. Keep your stewardship responsibilities in mind when making decisions about how to use your time well during every season of your life.
Pay attention to both cycles and seasons. The world is structured into five ongoing cycles (year, quarter, month, week, and day). In addition, you go through a variety of different seasons in your life that make it either the right or wrong time for certain activities – from the birth of a child and the death of a parent, to starting a new job and getting laid off. Rather than exhausting yourself trying to do everything in balance at the same time, aim to do various activities in rhythm at different times.
Live in sync with your current life stage. All of your time is ultimately in God’s hands, so ask Him for the wisdom you need to understand what’s appropriate and what’s not for the life stage you’re in now. How old are you? What’s your marital status? Do you have kids, and if so, what stage of life are they in? Have recent changes just affected your life in profound ways – from the diagnosis of a serious illness, to a move or the start of a new job? Once you understand what distinct time of life you’re in right now, you can figure out how to live well within that stage.
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