Rhythms of Rest

“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play, in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol”
– Brené Brown.

‘Hustle’ culture is one that many of us are all too familiar with, this trend of relentlessly doing more to pursue professional goals by working harder and longer, and making personal sacrifices along the way. Exhaustion is common here, as is stress, both of which are side effects of this hustle culture, and both of which seem to have become an uncomfortable norm.

While it may be common among many people, stress is a sign that this hustle culture just isn’t working for us. This lifestyle of constant striving + productivity + achieving, with the goal of success + wealth + status + respect, is not giving the long-term satisfaction and joy we desperately hope it will.

today we’re going to talk
about wrestling this hustle culture
and embracing rhythms of rest

i say “we” because the above bold excerpt
is from a counsellor-writer-sister
and we have collaborated !!!
to bring you two different takes on this topic

you can check out her full post
over on tahlia norrey counselling

The waters start to rush, uncontrollably. There is an overflow, an outpouring… of something. What is it? Is it life-giving? Is it living water? No. It is a consuming, overwhelming flood. 

Life is a flood. Of events. Of people. Of tasks. Of expectations. Of hopes. Of dreams. Of disappointments. Of heart aches and murmurs. Of learning. Of loss. A flood of many things. 

Yet, there is something in us. A deep-seated soul yearning. For rest. It is as though our hearts ache for more, more than this murmur and excitement, but for a pause, a stillness. A rhythm of rest. We long for this flood to stop … Just for a moment. So we can catch our breath. So we can be in the moment. So we can charge forward with newfound courage into these rapid waters we call life. Are they really rapid? Are we vulnerable to motion? Are we children of chaos? Or. Are we invited into stillness? Are we called to be children of light, that visible yet invisible bending of reality. Are we drawn into a beauty and glory and wisdom and knowledge and power and revelation that exists outside of motion, outside of time, outside of us and our reality?!

for me there seems
to be this
w r e s t l e
in self and
for stillness:

how often
can i say
s i l e n c e
how often
do i enter
the slow flow
over the
there is always
a sense of urgency
chaotic energy
endless rushing

places to be
people to see
goals to achieve

b u t

is this
how life
is meant
to be

there is this pulse
to every living thing

it is almost as though
s o m e o n e
is knocking on our hearts

is anyone home?
are you alive in there?

*knock knock*

wake up

if we don’t:
slow down to listen
stop to feel our pulse
quiet our lives to rest

we start to lose:
our sense of time
our love of life
our daily rhythms

we hustle, we hurry
we spiral, we worry
we consume, we create
we eat, sleep, work, repeat

but these
aren’t really
r h y t h m s

this is more of a
survival structure

we create this structure
to our days, weeks, months, years
that enables us to remain in control
we categorise our lives into cycles

b u t

how do we breathe in the busy?

how do we seek sacred silence for our souls,
amongst our structured, screaming schedules?

how do we spend our souls, our lives?
is it a measure of our time, our output, our input?

for me breathing in the busy
can mean a number of things:

people rhythms

it can be finding souls who slow down time with you, who help
you wade through life depths and extend an invitation to rest

but it can also be finding space from other souls, and spending
time with my own soul, and the Maker and Saviour of our souls

notice how people may influence your rhythms of rest:

be aware of how you feel around people
some will fill you with life and light, build you up, motivate and encourage you
others will make you feel weary, burdened, depleted and exhausted
resting-well means choosing-well who we spend our time with
this is not to say we say “no” to everyone every time, but rather
that we weigh our “yeses” and “nos” with wisdom

purpose rhythms

purposelessness can lead us
to live from a survival structure

purposelessness can lead to restlessness
a pursuit for something that will stimulate our souls

b u t

perhaps our souls
are striving for purpose
as though it is lost

when maybe our purpose in life
has more to do with being found:

resting in the knowledge of our Maker
being still and knowing that he is God

{ psalm 46:11 }

so how do we live with purpose?

“more time is not the answer; slowing down is.”

“our hearts are restless, infinite in desire.
there is never a point we reach where we feel
we have reached the end point of desire.
but. everything other than Jesus is finite.
so when infinite desire comes up against a finite life
you have a chronic state of restlessness.”

(fight hustle end hurry podcast episode on “saying no”)

are we a generation experiencing this chronic state of restlessness?
not just in our hearts, our souls, our desires – but our lives, schedules?

are we comfortable with quietness, or do we allow distraction
to creep into sacred spaces of stillness and silence in our days?

how often to we allow technology to be a thief of rest?

we cannot speak of purpose rhythms
without speaking of work and sabbath

if you work with your hands, sabbath with your mind.
if you work with your mind, sabbath with your hands.”

(Annie. F Downs on Sadie Rob Huff Podcast WHOA That’s Good

when we approach our rhythms of rest
we need to identify what our “work” comprises:

is it mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually strenuous?

do we have spaces in our schedule
to rest those realms which are “worked” harder?

for me, my work is mentally and emotionally taxing,
so for my rhythms of rest won’t stimulate my mind

i sabbath my mind by pursuing physical activities, activating my body.
alternatively, i wind down through creative outlets that direct my mind to less-technical content.

however, for a labourer, their work would be the reverse;
it wouldn’t be easy to follow up a physically taxing day with a gym class.

another helpful way to approach our rhythms of rest
is to consider input and outputs in our rhythms:

“four rhythms; rest, restore, connect, create”

“rest & restore are input rhythms, connect & create output rhythms”

“you can’t give something (output) if you’ve run out of something (input).”

(quotes from rebekah lyons, see resources at the end of this piece)

pace rhythms

“finding micro moments of solitude and silence are
so important for finding and sitting with our soul”

(fight hustle, end hurry episode on “silence”)

“simplicity is an inward reality that can be seen in an outward lifestyle”
(fight hustle, end hurry episode on “simplicity”)

what expectations do you put on timelines and schedules?
how much breathing space do you give yourself in your week?

i know i am prone to fill my calender on a weekend
and am often left jumping from thing to thing
which means i don’t get a chance to
b r e a t h e

take a breath

at dusk, the rhythms of the world
take a breath. after a deep sunset
sigh, the silence of the galaxies is
heard. the stars sing to the stirred
heart; the wandering mind is found
in a black hole. the sky invites us
into a love affair; as day and night
combine, dark and light collide. the
rings of Saturn start to circle the
empty places, those cold limbs
exposed to the wind, that beating
heart imprisoned in the body. the
rhythms of the world slowly start
to speak to the beat, quieting the
heart, revealing there to be a sacred
pace for which
our hearts
are made.

{ sabbath moments }

do we so fear the idol of idleness
that we will worship a baal of Busy
this god of our own making
striving to earn our own way
in a toil that offers no gain
where we find ourselves slaves
to success and progress
with no enjoyment in our labour
or peace in the process

do we so fear Grace
an unearned, underserved gift
that we won’t rest to receive
choosing captivity over serenity
instead of slowing to see
the glory of the sabbath moments
or the beauty of Creation’s melody

imagine if we stopped and swapped
our striving for singing
might we hear the hymn
of a greater Heartbeat
s t i l l n e s s
when one learns to be still
she will slowly start to see
how to dwell deep
and how to listen at length
to the silences
to the wind
and to the souls around her

place rhythms

some places are just more conducive to rest
notice how a change of scenery helps you find perspective?

our environments can play a huge part in our mindset
this includes our access to and interaction with nature

a place can also feel different and new and explorative
depending on the time of day and the people we are with
as well as our intention for being there, or our past experiences there

e.g. a park where we may have done all of the following things:
run a marathon, had our heart broken, crammed for an exam, had a picnic date

one of my favourite words is

s e l a h

this word is found
74 times in the bible

the meaning of the word is not known
but it is proposed to mean
a liturgical-musical mark that says:

“stop and listen”

we see this word
71 times in the psalms

and to me it is a

p a u s e

a reminder to ponder, to dwell, to rest

s e l a h

is to create space

no matter the:
people, purpose, pace, place

create space
invite stillness
embrace silence

cultivate rhythms of rest
instead survival structures

there is a reason we are human beings, not human doings.

for further reflection:

Respond from the Heart