Does life feel like it runs in a loop? The same things repeating themselves over and over?
In some ways our lives are built on the rhythms set by nature. The earth revolves around the sun giving us years and seasons. The moon revolves around the earth marking out months. The rotation of the earth gives us days and nights. There are tides and migrations and growth and harvest. There are natural rhythms to life on this planet.
There are other rhythms that shape how we live too. The rhythms of school and work shape our days. The rhythms of bills and paydays often are an undercurrent that effects the rhythms of celebration and somberness. These things repeat over and over…
I think we as human beings gravitate to rhythms. We like the consistency even as we search for spontaneity. I find myself disoriented and out of sorts when my rhythms are interrupted too much and yet I long for something different to break up the monotony!
Sometimes we experience a rhythm we’d like to break free of! The relationship that always cycles back to the same conflict, the financial stress we anticipate every year after Christmas, the physical crash after the busy season or the self condemnation that rises after each missed goal or opportunity. The Covid 19 pandemic and it’s rhythms of restrictions. These are the unhealthy rhythms we can be trapped in. Believing that those rhythms are ongoing and unstoppable can be why they continue.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Bad things happen in threes!”. It’s uncanny how often people seem to prove that true. But I don’t think it’s because there is a trifecta of disaster waiting to be set loose… I think it’s because we count to three through the challenges and then sigh in relief that we survived the three! We like rhythm, the predictable comforts us!
Breaking free of unhealthy rhythms involves building healthy ones into our daily lives. Do we dare to believe that next year this time could be different? The next relational confrontation could be different? These things only change if we put healthy rhythms into our lives that slowly change our outlook!
In the world of foster care kids have another set of rhythms they follow. There are the rhythms of service team meetings, caseworker changes, bio family visits, therapists and assessments that march through their lives. It would be easy to accept the label of foster child and stay in the loop without daring to reach for health. Many children in the system just survive assuming that the rhythm is non negotiable and they just need to ride it out. We hope for more when we intervene as foster parents!
Building rhythms of health takes time, and disrupting unhealthy rhythms is messy!
If you’ve ever tried to learn a new rhythm on an instrument… whether that’s a drum beat, a guitar strumming pattern or maybe just adding syncopation to a music line… you know how much we naturally resist a new rhythm! But perseverance and repetition eventually win out! Practice long enough and you’ll get it.
We are in the process of establishing new rhythms of health in our home with our foster children. We have been caught up in a rhythm that circles us back to the same conflicts over and over. It’s time for a change. We don’t have to live by the rhythms the other mother established in their lives, and our rhythms don’t have to be shaped by the legacy she left. We can do something new!
What rhythms have been shaping your life that you need to change?
In the midst of the mess