By Jamie Harms
Oregon is an amazing place to live. The more I travel, the more I realize how spoiled we are to have the mountains, coast, green valley, and high desert within a short drive of us. We truly live in a beautiful place that displays God’s creation. Last weekend, my family and I went camping and enjoyed the beauty around us with friends. We hiked, saw waterfalls, looked at stars, and waded in the creek, soaking in time outside. One thing I had never seen before while wading in this creek was the color differentiation of the rocks. We could literally make a rainbow from the various shades, and we spent a long time just looking at rocks in the creek, stacking them, and making mosaics with them. We had seen before how others had stacked rocks in perfect balance, and it was fun this time to try this elusive task ourselves. When balanced, the rocks sat perfectly still, unmoving in all directions.
The balance, like that seen in the rocks piled in the creek, is something we crave in our own lives. In Spiritual Rhythms, which we’re reading for our next backyard book club, Mark Buchanan describes this balance as the perfect mix of work, play, and rest to bring simplicity and ease to life. We think that if we could only get eight hours of sleep, work 40 hours a week, play all day Saturday, and rest Sunday we would be set, satisfied, and fulfilled. But that is not how life works. We continually strive and never really achieve balance in our daily routines, or do so only momentarily. Instead of balance, Buchanan talks about how we should pursue rhythms in the various seasons of our lives.
This idea of rhythms really caught my attention. Buchanan describes them as a glorious lopsidedness that comes when we are pursuing something that matters. When I reflect back on my life, I remember the season of dating my husband. I wanted to spend every minute with him and certainly did not want him to be balanced in his affection for me. I wanted him to lavish his kindness, thoughtfulness, and attention on me, and I wanted to do the same for him. When I was preparing for a senior piano recital, I spent a year and half in practice rooms every day, drilling through sections and running through passages. Instead of balancing my time with other things, I wanted to learn the music and make it performance worthy, so my pursuit of playing well at the recital could be a reality. When I was pregnant with my first and then second babies, I became magnificently obsessed, as Buchanan calls it, as I read books, was careful of what I ate, daydreamed of what my baby might be like and who he would become, and prepared for his arrival. All three of these scenarios were times when being balanced would actually have diminished or hurt the pursuit of the season.
As we read in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything under the sun — to be born and die, to plant and harvest, to rejoice and weep, to tear down and build up, to work and rest — to name a few. God has designed seasons and rhythms to be a part of our life to give us life more abundantly, not necessarily balanced. We can spend time and energy striving to be balanced like those rocks in the river, at rest and unmoving, but then we miss out on the great adventure that we receive living in the rhythms of life’s season. Instead, we can embrace the glorious lopsidedness as we pursue our Savior in the season we find ourselves in.
You still have time to grab a copy of Spiritual Rhythms: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul by Mark Buchanan and join us on August 13 at 7:30 p.m. as we discuss the book and encourage one another in the idea of living with Jesus and pursuing Him in the different seasons in which God brings us in this marvelous gift of life. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you plan to attend, and we’ll send you the location. We hope to see you there!