Yesterday’s post introduced the subject of “Rhythms.” I have found it helpful to think about rhythms as a flexible but legitimate budget for your time and energy. The next few posts will focus on establishing healthy rhythms in your life.
Healthy Rhythms (a budget for your life)
We all have weekly, monthly, and annual rhythms. Our rhythms are a combination of our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical disciplines, and they serve as patterns in our lives that either produce or inhibit growth, health, and productivity.
Unless you are Superman (and you’re not), you must budget for the following things every week:
1) Recovery (rejuvenation, physical exercise)
2) Rest (intentional downtime)
3) Relationships (family, friends; “debit and deposit”)
4) Preparation (for whatever it is you need to be leading in)
5) Outpouring (nature of this depends on your calling/role)
Recovery: Weekly recovery is a time when you get rejuvenated, usually following the day(s) of your most extensive outpourings. Recovery time is emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Physical exercise is a great activity for recovery days/times. Engaging in a hobby (productive or just fun) is also great for recovery time.
Rest: This is intentional downtime. Depending on how significantly you pour out, you may need recovery time before you can engage in fruitful rest time. Rest is code for “not producing anything and loving it.” You should be happily and intentionally unproductive in times of rest. I don’t hesitate on this point. Your times of preparation and outpouring will be much more productive and intentional when you operate out of the surplus that unproductive rest affords. The thought of being “unproductive” grates against almost every fiber in my being, but productive rest means a break from the necessity of producing.
Relationship: Engaging in relationships is a part of being human.
“It is not good for man to be alone” –God
If you are married, you should engage in quality time weekly and face time daily. If you have kids, the same applies to each of them. If your schedule is such that your family does not receive daily face time with you and regular solid quality time, there is a problem with your schedule. Relationships also include friendships with other Christians and non-Christians.
You must operate in wisdom with your relationships, realizing that most non-family relationships generally fall into one of two categories (I don’t think it is helpful or biblical to apply these two categories to your family relationships. These are meant to help you assess the non-immediate family relationships in your life):
Debiting relationships: This is a relationship that requires you to “pour out” time, energy, focus, counsel, etc. on a regular basis. This is a relationship that tends to be more of a “one way street.” As you meet with someone who is a debiting relationship, you often leave feeling spent, worn out, and weary.
Depositing relationships: These are relationships that fill you up. Depositing people are the type of people that you look forward to being around, and that you leave the company of feeling better than when you arrived. Often times these are people that you find it easy to laugh with, share your life with, and trust.
Relationship rules (when it comes to your rhythms, these are things to keep in mind):
- Stay away from debiting relationships on days (or at times) that you have reserved for recovery, rest, or preparation.
- When you are going to engage with a debiting relationship, be intentional, set a time limit and (in your mind or on paper) an agenda, and work to accomplish something specific.
- Work hard and seek out those who are, or could potentially be, depositing relationships. Lean into these relationships like your life depends on it.
- Engage debiting relationships during your times of outpouring. You cannot (and should not) avoid debiting relationship, pouring into and serving others is an essential part of being a Christian and explicitly commanded in the Bible.
Preparation: Depending on the dynamics of your ministry (or job), prep time may vary week to week. Regardless, you must take time to prepare, not only for the immediate, but also for advanced planning, vision-development, dreaming, etc. Work to plan ahead as much as possible, this will help your creativity and allow you to stay out of “reactive mode.”
Outpouring: Pouring out may mean preaching, leading, teaching, shepherding, counseling, running a ministry event or program, budgeting, accounting, administrating, scheduling, creating, or all of the above. Depending on “outpouring dynamics” of your ministry role (or job), preparation and recovery time may vary. You may pour out every day in smaller doses, or you may pour out extensively at certain times, which will require greater preparation and recovery time.
While we often give most of our attention to our times of outpouring, as if those times are most important, that is a myth. Each of these weekly rhythms holds equal weight, they are dependent on each other, and if one suffers, they will all suffer. If you can’t recover and rest well, you will not prepare well and your outpouring will suffer. If you don’t pour out and produce well, you won’t rest well either.
This post has addressed the subject of healthy weekly rhythms.
Tomorrow’s post: Healthy Daily Rhythms