It’s when I am filling up the sink with hot water for another pile of pots and dishes that it hits me again:
All the drowning people keep to-do lists. But the way through the waves is to simply keep rhythms.
Because this is what keeps happening: The waves of the day keep coming with their own relentless rhythm, wave after pounding wave.
And the way through the waves is to keep a steady rhythm of our own.
Because random to-do lists don’t have a consistent rhythm, they don’t have the same kind of momentum, which means they don’t help you really rise above the waves. You rise to the level of the rhythms of your way of life.
Consistently be consistent.
“Moments make a life. Every moment is another turn of the steering wheel of your life.”
This habit followed by this habit, the choice in this moment, followed by the choice in this moment, this daily way of life, followed by this daily way of life, every day, day after day.
Moments make a life. Every moment is another turn of the steering wheel of your life.
Every dawn is Day One.
Today is made of fresh hope.
When I’d once read to the kids when they were little, one boy sprawled across the back of the couch, another dangling upside down off the armrest, I’d read aloud about a young woman who “put on her habit,” and our little girl, she’d reached up and patted my shoulder.
“If you consistently keep the same rhythms every day you keep your soul from growing threadbare.“
“Wait – What’s a habit?” she asked.
I’d stopped for a moment, and then spoke slowly, carefully choosing my words. It was a “new dawn” moment for me, a fresh recognition of a familiar idea.
A habit is something that is worn.
A habit is what we wear. And a habit is the way we wear our days.
If you consistently keep the same rhythms every day you keep your soul from growing threadbare.
It’s the rhythm of your own good habits that can make a way through the rhythm of the rising waves.
It’s having a sacred way of life that can fight through the waves of life.
“It’s having a sacred way of life that can fight through the waves of life.”
How many times have I watched our oldest daughter sit before the white keys, her wrists arched, her fingers stretching into song?
She plays one right note after the next right note after the next right note.
It’s not an erratic splattering of sound or a fickle, helter-skelter banging of random notes.
Music has order. It is composed. The notes played are intentional, considered, and deliberate.
Each finger knows where to hit the next note. She hardly thinks about it. It’s nearly automatic, an unconscious action.
So go our daily songs and rhythms of the soul, the essence of our habits.
“Forty-five percent of what we do every day is habitual,” say the researchers, “performed almost without thinking in the same location or at the same time each day, usually because of subtle cues.”
We play a note that becomes a subtle cue for another note to follow.
We rise and pray. Or we check the internet. Or we go for a run.
Or we get up and go open the Word – and write down His Word, meet the Word with our words.
Day after day we practice and play our chosen series of notes, performing actions cued by other actions.
As Aristotle wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do.”
What we do repeatedly, is our actual identity.
Lives that have a consistent rhythm consistently orchestrate standing ovations.
How do you form spiritual habits that pull you close to Christ, to wear Christ, savour Christ, commune with Christ, and survive, thrive and rise in Christ?
Before the waves of the day begin to hit:
- Light a candle every day early
- Then open up the Word and write down a few words in a journal, especially Words of His copied out down on the page. It’s as if writing God’s Word with our own hand, shaping them with our own hand, can bring shape to our one life.
- Write your own words back in response to His Words, vulnerable, honest, transparent, confessional, hopeful, like an intimate conversation with the Lover of your soul. The safest place for all our hopes and wounds is with the Wounded Healer Himself.
- Then write down 3, 5, 10 moments you can give Him thanks for. We are wired to give thanks and life goes haywire when we don’t.
“Only loving other things more can keep us from His love letter more consistently.“
Only loving other things more can keep us from His love letter more consistently.
Only being captivated by other words, other stories, can keep us from His Word.
And these patterns of our lives reveal the form of our souls:
Do we intentionally practice journaling habitual, unwavering gratitude — or do the circumstances of our days control and form the tone of our souls?
Do we read more of His sacred words than those on streams and screens?
Do the rhythms of our moments consistently and congruently look cruciform?
“Our rhythms become our everyday liturgy, the sacred everyday cadence of the hours that reorient our tired souls.”
Because it’s true: While our habits clothe us— they also unclothe us.
Our habits expose our idols, our insecurities, our addictions, our chaos.
But they also can reveal our hopes, our dreams, our prayers, our steady souls.
Our habits are us.
Habits matter because habits are the spine of our self-control.
Habits are the small gears that leverage your life — and if you truly change your rhythms, you can change anything into a true possibility.
You change your life when you change how you meet Christ every day.
Our rhythms become our everyday liturgy, the sacred everyday cadence of the hours that reorient our tired souls.
Far too many of my days have felt a bit like — drowning. A flailing cacophony.
It can be hard to hold on to the rhythm when life keeps crashing in on every side.
When the dishes for the day are done, when I have opened the Word and journaled words, to let the Word author my life into a far better story, I wander down to the water’s edge.
And the water runs with the rhythm of really carving a way through, like a stream of ink across a journaled page:
The way to survive waves is
to keep the beat of your heart
in rhythm with the One
who walks on water.
Can I invite you to come Join our Community on the Way
as we begin a 6-Week WayMaker Free Online Bible Study
A decade ago, I began counting gifts as a daily habit to open my eyes to the real and active presence of God.
Now, I also journal every morning from the acronym S.A.C.R.E.D. as a daily habit, a compass that reorients me in relation to God.
This habit comes from Exodus 14—where God parts the waves before Moses and the people of Israel, shaping their identity as God’s people and foreshadowing our own deliverance. This way of life, this compass, offers a daily habit spelled out in just six letters.
Can I invite you to join me for the WayMaker online Bible study with the community at FaithGateway as we dive into each letter of SACRED and see how the WayMaker is not far off. He is here, right here. It’s when you give your whole self to the Way Himself that you know there’s going to be a way through.