Greetings, David here.
Have you ever noticed the wind blowing through the trees or the waves lapping up on a sandy shoreline? There is a rhythm about them that is natural and calming to the soul. The rhythm is something organic, not man made. It is unforced. The natural, calming, unforced rhythm of blowing wind and crashing waves reminds me of the perfect unforced rhythm of God that resonates within me, even though some times I am unaware of it.
Creation displays this rhythm after which I believe God desires us to pattern our lives.
In life, being in the groove is feeling “the unforced rhythms of grace.” Or to give a fuller context from Jesus’ offer in Matthew 11:28-30
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.
This unforced rhythm of grace – the groove – happens when we find the right rhythm of notes and rests within our own life.
Psychologist and researcher Mihaly Csikzentmihaly outlined it best in his book, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”: “When consciousness is harmoniously ordered,” a flow experience is “so gratifying that people are willing to do it for its own sake, with little concern for what they will get out of it, even when it is difficult, or dangerous.” Finding flow, Csikzentmihaly discovered, arises when we live in that sweet spot, the “Goldilocks” point, between too much stress and too little stress or boredom. Simply put, the right rhythm is when we’re in the groove.
We start to get into this groove by stopping and listening to the ultimate space of silence.
What is also important is to find and look for opportunity to rest and experience these rhythms. I hike regularly in the hills high above Wellington. There is an old wooden seat at the top of a steep track high on a hill. I always take time to sit, rest and drink in the amazing view. It’s a special place for me and a place where I feel close to. God. A place the Celtics would describe as a thin place – where heaven seems just a bit closer to earth, and where I talk with God.
Some questions for you to consider:
- What does rest mean to you?
- What do you do when you rest?
- What would it take for you to experience the rhythm of grace?
- Where can you find this ‘thin’ place and how can you go there?
- How would this change your perception of life?
- What do you need to do next?
May you, my brothers and sisters, this week find a place, even if only for a moment to rest and experience the unforced rhythms of grace. It’s easy not to, but it’s important to make it a priority. It may just be a place and time, a thin place, where for a moment you could lay down your burdens and troubles, and then look at them and decide whether they were really yours to carry at all. Grace and peace be yours.