The Rhythm of 2018: My New Year’s Resolution

I’m typically not one for making New Year’s Resolutions. Anytime that I have dared to commit to something at the beginning of the year I end up bailing on it within a couple months (*weeks*).

But this year I want to give it another go and make a resolution that I hope might actually do something within me.

I want to live with more rhythm.

There is a sacred rhythm to all of life. We see it all the time, but too often take zero notice.

Summer leads into winter which leads back into summer.
We wake up in the morning when the sun comes up and go to sleep in the evening when the sun goes down.
Meryl Streep stars in a movie and then is subsequently nominated for an Oscar for said movie.

There is a predictable rhythm to the cosmos.

When I am at my best I am living into this rhythm; though, to be honest, this is a rare occurrence.

Much of the time I am erratic with my pattern of sleeping and waking. I am working (or avoiding work) at a constant pace and without ever taking a break. A typical day in the winter will look just like a typical day in the summer.

Most of the time I am not living rhythmically. It’s no wonder that a lot of the time I feel like I’m pushing a rock up the side of a mountain; my very pattern of living is contrary to the way of creation.

So this year I want to order my life so that it follows a natural rhythm. I want to live more liturgically. I want to be intentional about time and my relation to it.

For me, this starts with being attentive to the seasons.

I’m not talking about the four seasons of Winter, Fall, Summer, and Spring; the seasons I’m making a resolution to live in accordance with are the seasons of the Christian calendar.

Technically, the Christian year began a little more than a month ago.

Advent is the first season of the year. We are currently in the season of Christmas—which is not a single day celebration, but 12 days (hence the song).

Christmas culminates on January 6th on the day of Epiphany, which is followed by a season lasting a number of weeks known as Ordinary Time.

In early Spring the seasons change beginning on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent, which is a 40 day period culminating with the Three Great Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

In the heart of Springtime, we celebrate Easter Sunday, though the full season of Easter lasts 50 days, coming to a close on the day of Pentecost.

The weeks following Pentecost are often also referred to as Ordinary Time, though I prefer the more classic term, Kingdomtide.

Kingdomtide ends in late autumn with Christ the King Sunday, the final weekend before the season of Advent starts it all over again.

This is the calendar that I want to follow in 2018. Each season has its own specific meaning and focus. A typical Tuesday in Advent will bring with it a different focus than a  Tuesday during Lent. The seasons break the year up into distinct periods of time. There is a rhythm to it that appeals to me.

But within these seasons, there is another rhythm that I want to embody. This is the ebb and flow of the Sabbath.

The week consists of 7 days—6 days for work, and 1 day for rest. I am not very practiced at this weekly rhythm.

I think a big part of it is cultural. Our culture today wouldn’t know a healthy Sabbath rhythm if it slapped us in the face. Personally, I find it so difficult to rest well one day per week because I find it so difficult to work well six days per week.

A lot of the time I struggle through my work, not enjoying it, not finding any fulfillment or meaning. I’m simply working so that I can earn my rest time. And I rest (kinda) so that I have enough energy to go back and do some more work. It all feels very…out of sync. And not at all sustainable.

But Sabbath is different. The rest that I receive from Sabbath—deep, soul-nourishing rest—is not simply a recharge so that I can go do more work, but is quite simply a gift to remind me of God’s goodness and love, and my goodness and value.

Sabbath grounds me in peace. It centers me in the moment. Sabbath is not about helping me work better, but instead allows me to work differently.

I need more of that.

So for my 2018 resolution, I want to order my life by the seasons of the Christian year and the weekly ritual of Sabbath. But there is one more level to this rhythm that I want to commit to.

The daily practice of remaining present through prayer.

My months are governed by the seasons, my week by the day of rest, and my day by the practice of prayer.

Each morning and every evening I want to deepen my connection with my loving Creator through prayer and meditation; allowing myself the space to sit in silence, speaking with and listening to God and reading the Scriptures.

This is a daily discipline that I have been practicing more diligently the past few months, and it has truly been transformational for me.

Spending time discerning God’s will for me every morning and examining the events of the day each evening is the day-to-day rhythm that really makes possible (and meaningful) the weekly Sabbath and the liturgical seasons.

So this is my New Year’s Resolution. More rhythm.