Think for a minute about what gives you life. What re-charges you at the deepest level? Who is the person that you walk away from after coffee and feel more like you just from being with her? What is the thing that you feel absolutely electric doing?
The chances are VERY high that your answers won’t be the same as mine. You probably love running (why are you so crazy?) while I like out-lifting the guys at the gym. You get energized from analyzing spreadsheets and finding trends and patterns. I would rather be analyzing a person, finding out what makes him tick. I hope you have a person who makes you feel like you; maybe it’s me! Then my only question is, why aren’t we having coffee together right now???
Life-giving rhythms are personal. They’re not personal in the sense that you have to keep yours to yourself – shhh, don’t tell anyone what makes you come alive! What I mean by personal is that your life-giving rhythms may be similar to someone you know, but the way that they combine and express themselves in your life is going to be wholly unique because you are unique.
Ruth Hayley Barton says it well:
“An effective rhythm…will be very personal. No two individuals will have exactly the same rhythm, because no two people are alike.”
- Sacred Rhythms
My life-giving rhythms come from a deeply personal place, where God met me at the end of a traumatic six months of brokenness and burnout. I came across a passage in the Bible that expressed who I wanted to be. Isaiah 58:11 reads:
“The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a well-watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
I wanted desperately to be that garden, but what did that look like for me? Through some life-coaching sessions, I discovered that to be a well-watered garden, I needed to regularly seek out opportunities for Creativity, Kindness, Wisdom and Joy. I’ll share more on my Giving Rhythms later.
Keep a journal (a list, a sketchbook, a voice memo) this week. Note when you’re doing something in particular that gets you fired up – whether it’s reading, laying in the grass, or leading a meeting with your team. Notice how you feel after certain activities – are you drained, energized, neutral? Highlight the things that make you feel more alive and more like your true self. Take these things and hold them close to you; don’t compare with others or wonder if you’re right or wrong. You should only celebrate, because here you’ve found the start of a map to your own personal, unique Giving Rhythms.