The Value of Creating Flexible Rhythms

If last fall was filled with new challenges, this fall was filled with recreating those challenges. We did the Whole30 again; I wrote for 31 days again; we’ve reestablished bedtime and wake-up routines, though slightly different since our schedule is slightly different.

BackyardThe biggest difference between forming a habit the first time and re-forming a habit the second time is that it seems easier to cheat this second time around. On our second Whole30, it ended up being the Whole22 because we had visitors and commitments. We felt cleansed and reset and that last week just didn’t seem as important as the first time around.

I skipped a day of writing, due to a migraine this time. I debated going back to make it up but decided that Write 30 Days is good enough. I still achieved my purpose of telling a story and re-disciplining myself to write intentionally. In some ways, since the day I skipped was during my walk humbly week, it seemed fitting to just let it go.

My One Word for 2016 was enough; this year it’s capacity. Those two have built on each other beautifully and I’m learning that creating habits is important and life-giving. But it’s just as important to remember that when I slip on those commitments, it’s ok. That recognizing my capacity for each day may be different. I’m learning the value of creating flexible rhythms to my days.

Ultimately, I’m reminded of my need for structure. I enjoy formal challenges and goals because it is so easy to slip and let life meander. I think there’s something beautiful about the journey, not the destination but it’s a fine line between wandering and being lost. I’m learning to set goals with real life in mind; to not let my perfectionism become the end result; to remember that this is for my own practices.

Last year, I was inspired to do more 30-day challenges and changes. This year, I’m looking at some longer-term ideas, with a bigger overarching goal. These small practices are what build up strength for those bigger goals, but I want to remember that getting stronger means the ability to do something longer as well.

As I pursue justice, I’m learning this same thing holds true. Some days, I have the capacity to make calls, to show up, to post articles and be vocal. Some days, I need to be quiet and listen before any action is taken. Other days, I practice my privilege of turning off the news and focusing on my little family.

I’m learning to trust these flexible rhythms – that when I’m in-tune with where God has placed me, I am much more effective at playing a role in the restoration of this earth. Some opportunities are arising in 2018 for me to put these thoughts to practice and, while I’m still in the very early stages of these plans and hopes, I’m thankful for these past 30 days to reflect and form habits that will shape the way our family does peacemaking.

What do your rhythms look like? Is your life suited for shorter term goals and challenges or are you striving for a larger goal?

Thank you for joining me on this month of digging and questioning! I’ve so appreciated your comments,  engagement, and encouragement!

BackyardThis post is Day 31 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.


The Requirement of Justice

BackyardAll day long, I’m asking the girls to do things – to get dressed, to sit at the table, to help clean the playroom. I ask them to help each other and to help me. But we don’t really have any chore requirements. We haven’t done any charts or allowances; when we ask for help, we do it because we work together as a family. Maybe that will change as they grow older, but for now, the currency that is most valued is time together.

A requirement we do have is respect and compassion. We require the girls to show respect for each other and for us. We require that they respect our home and our belongings. I know that it could sound like a semantical difference, between asking and requiring and I suppose, ultimately it is.

But for our family’s culture, they do mean different things. When I ask for something, I want the response to be from a place of internal reward and expectation. I want the girls to respond to my request because they want to, not because they have to.

What I find so interesting in Micah 6:8 is that the word requires is used. I looked at a few different translations from the King James to the New Revised Standard to the Amplified version and nearly all used the word require.

In this context, Micah is reminding the people what God has done for them. God has brought them from Egypt and redeemed them from slavery. And what is the repayment? Should the Israelites burn offerings or give their firstborns? No. All God requires is for the people to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

I find it so fascinating that God doesn’t suggest that social justice be a cool thing to get into because it’s trendy. Or that being kind to others isn’t something to do because we should just give peace a chance. No, these are requirements instead of sacrifice. This is how we are able to walk humbly alongside our God, recognizing the path of redemption in this world.

I’m learning that to be involved in pursing peace and justice isn’t just something I should do because I find it interesting. I do it because I believe God requires this. It is how I better understand God and creation and restoration.

It reminds me that when Jesus talked about the most important commandments, he said to love God and to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40), which is what God has required of us all along.

What passage in the Bible most calls you to do justice? How do you interpret the words of Micah?

BackyardThis post is Day 2 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.