I’ll be honest; at first glance it looks like there is a lot to this thing. There is, at least at first. Remember that we are trying to adopt a new mindset and develop new habits. We want to grow in our ability to walk with God at His pace. Anything new seems overwhelming at first. This is the very reason that understanding the “why” behind all the bits and pieces of The Rhythm Journal is so important.
You won’t use everything everyday, especially if you are just getting started. Don’t even try. There are core pieces you will use weekly and daily, and the rest will be put to use at the right time. The more you use it and try different things with it, the more growth you will see from it.
Rhythms in Life
Our lives have rhythms. We have big “coming of age” types of rhythms like getting your drivers license, getting married, having kids, sending those kids to college, becoming a grandparent, etc.
We have more predictable rhythms that make up our weeks and our days. We tend to miss these even as we go through them because they are so predictable.
- We pick up the kids from school at the same time every day.
- We eat lunch in the same seat in the work commissary every day.
- Every Sunday we go to the same service at church and sit with the same people.
Since these rhythms of life can become so automatic, so routine, it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that these are the very times and places where God wants to build us up so that we can be building God’s Kingdom.
- God might be setting up divine appointments for you to share a verse or a word of encouragement with someone who needs it right then.
- God might be setting you up for something you may or may not want to go through, but He has setup so as to shape you more into His image.
Instead seeing it this way, we congratulate ourselves on our success or gripe at God for our situation. One of our goals is to have a “be ready to be a part of what God might do” approach. A proactive approach.
The Rhythm Journal is an attempt to help followers of Jesus to reorient our lives around some specific rhythms, patterns, and instructions from The Bible.
It is intended to be used as a tool that can help us to grow and shape our lives in relationship with God.
In other words, The Rhythm Journal was created to help you and I to walk with God at His PACE (Purpose, Action, Choice, Evolve).
Rhythms of Character
I’m going to use the word “rhythm” to refer to a couple different things in this resource. One of them is a Daily Rhythm and it is referring to rhythms of character.
A Daily Rhythm is a Godly characteristic that you can partner with the Holy Spirit to cultivate in your life.
This is our working definition of a Daily Rhythm within the RENEW, Review, Preview, RISE and REST parts of The Rhythm Journal.
This is the concept that is at the heart of The Rhythm Journal. We can find these kinds of Rhythms throughout the Bible.
- The “fruits of the Spirit” as found in Galatians 5:22-23 are Rhythms.
- Elements of the “whole armor of God” in Ephesians 6.
- Characteristics from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.
- Brotherly Love
- Teaching or being teachable
- Many, many more
Any trait, characteristic, quality, or attribute you find lived out or commended in scripture can be a Rhythm. It is a specific pattern that we want to develop in ourselves and demonstrate for others.
Apart from Daily Rhythm, we are using “rhythm” to describe the other parts of the journal; the weekly and daily rhythms of RENEW, Review, Preview, RISE and REST.
Getting the most out of your journal
As we get going, I want to be sensitive to three groups of users:
- First time users – those who are using The Rhythm Journal for the very first time.
- Returning users – those who have been through at least one journal.
- All users – first time, returning, everyone.
I will try to highlight things relevant to the different groups as we go.
Tips for first time users
- Do not try to do everything on every page everyday from the start. You could easily become overwhelmed and quit. The journal should serve you; you don’t serve the journal.
- Make your goal to be consistent with the Sunday rhythms of Renew, Review, and Preview. These rhythms are the foundation for the rest of the week. Make Sunday’s a priority.
- Give yourself some grace to develop the habit of the daily Rise and Rest rhythms.Building new habits takes time. If you miss a day or three, or a Rise or a Rest, it’s fine. Aim for three days a week for the first few weeks.
- Be aware that the rhythm of Rest might be challenging to add to daily life. Most people don’t have a night time habit of devotions. In testing the journal, Rest was very rewarding when done, but also required more discipline to do consistently.
Tips for all users
- Set Calendar alarms. Since these might be new habits, or modifications to existing habits, I strongly suggest setting reminders for yourself Monday through Saturday for both morning (Rise) and evening (Rest) times. For Sunday pick a time and set an alarm for that as well. There is nothing unspiritual about an alarm!
- Journal in a distraction-free environment. Ideally you should do this without any technology present. You want your mind as undistracted as possible. If you have to use your smart phone or tablet for your Bible then put it in airplane mode while you are in your journal.
- Rise before checking social media, email, etc. Granted, in the Supplication part of Rise you are asked to look at your schedule. If that’s online then that’s what you gotta do, but then turn that noise off.
- Share. If you learn any tips as you go I’d love to hear them.
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