A Surprising Rhythm for Spiritual Formation

When I think about spiritual formation my thoughts quickly drift to the 'spiritual' habits that play such a vital role in my growth as a follower of Jesus. My spiritual development stalls when I fail to sustain space in my life for time in God's Word, solitude, prayer, journaling and serving. Yet at times these habits begin to feel forced and stale. They breathe best when couched in a more natural rhythm.

I took a few days off last week. I didn't head out of town for 'vacation' just took a break from the normal routine of my day-to-day life...including the normal rhythm of my spiritual habits and my responsibilities as a pastor. I used the week to relax, catch up on a few small projects around the house and spend time with good friends.

What surpised me was how spiritually life-giving the week was for my soul.  Rest frees me to unplug and simply 'be' for a season. The rest I'm describing isn't filling a week so full of activity I need a weekend to recover. The rest I'm thinking of is more simple. It's giving myself the permission to step away from the pace and pressures of my life to rest. I sleep a later. I don't read emails. I play at projects that give me pleasure. I exercise or not. I nap. I read. I rest.  During these times of rest I experience Father's love for me quite apart from any pressure to be responsible or live up to anyone's expectations - whether mine or others. I simply enjoy Him and the life He's given me.  We did sneak away for one day with good friends. The time away was slow and restful. No agenda or activity. We ate, enjoyed conversation and laughed. It was one of those times when friends felt like family. I felt safe to relax and be myself. Accepted. Valued. Loved.  

I've grown to recognize I need rest and relationship as much as I need my other spiritual habits. Without them my spiritual journey grows stale. They breathe life into my soul and bring richness to my spiritual journey.

Fighting for your heart,

Gary Franklin

Reflections for your spiritual journey:

Think about the rhythm of your spiritual life...

  1. What place do rest and relationship have in your rhythm?
  2. Do you schedule space for times of unstructured rest?
  3. Do you enjoy friendships where you feel known, accepted and loved?