This week, we begin a new series, RHYTHM, in which we’re discussing developing healthy habits that foster a healthy relationship with God, and with others.
All of us live our lives with some sort of rhythm. We engage in routines or patterns of living, and in reality, these patterns actually tend to run or ruin our lives.
Our routines are like a trellis. A trellis is a tool or framework that helps plants and trees grow. In order for some trees and plants to grow, they need a structure to build on. And that’s why we have a trellis. If fruit trees don’t have this, they can’t grow healthy and strong and can’t produce good fruit. If plants don’t have this, they lay flat on the ground and can’t get the nutrients they need and end up being sick, and maybe die. So this tool, this trellis is super important.
Our routines are like a trellis. They are structures we build our lives on. They give guidance, direction, and momentum to our lives. They impact who we are, and what we do.
However, Most of our routines we don’t even pay attention to.
What about social media? Is it part of your daily rhythm? In what ways does social media shape your life? Do you have any routines around social media?
The average American spends 4 hours a day on social media, 3 hours a day watching television (or Netflix or Hulu). If you were to add up all the hours over the course of a lifespan that are spent on Instagram or Hulu, you could use that same amount of time to fly to the moon and back 32 times, run 10,000 marathons, or climb Mount Everest 30 times.
Now, I’m not here to tell you to get off social media, your phones, the internet and so on. What I’m going to ask you is, is it being used in a healthy way? And in what ways is it crowding out your relationship with God? Is there any room in our days for a little bit more of God, and a little less of technology? Is it that we don’t have time, or maybe we just have rhythms that aren’t helping us make the best use of our time?
At the end of your life, you probably won’t be laying on your deathbed, saying, “I wish I was on Instagram more. I wish I earned more Candy Crush points. I wish I saw more tweets. If only I had more time for Reddit threads!”
Jesus reminds us of the best use of our time: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your body, with all your thoughts, and with all your attention.
We aren’t going to spend a ton of time trying to describe love in this post. But, I want to leave you with two thoughts on love:
Love is an action, and furthermore, love is an action that does good for another. It requires effort, action, something tangible. If we say we love our dog, but we don’t ever feed our dog, walk our dog, take our dog to the vet, give our dog chew toys, play fetch with our dog, give our dog flee medicine-would you say we love our dog very well? All of those things, are acts of love. And that word, “act” is important. Love is an action.
Secondly, We can tell what we love based on what we pay attention to. What we give our attention to, our time to, our focus to, our energy to, we love. And what we give our attention, energy and time to, we will end up loving.
So the more time I spend on social media, the more I’ll love it. The more attention I give to my phone, games, taking selfies, the more I’ll love it. Conversely, the more time I give to God, the more I’ll know His love for me, the more I”ll become like Jesus, the more we’ll change the world for the better.
So, what is one way we can grow our love for God/feel God’s love for us, live like Jesus, and go change the world?
One simple way to love, is through prayer.
Prayer is simply talking with God about what we are doing together, talking about the various hopes, and fears and projects and assignments and events going on. Prayer can be one of the posts in our trellis. It can help us grow strong, live healthily, make good choice, recognize God’s love for us, and change the world for the better.
So, in your discussion, breakout groups, we’re going to do an exercise to help us include prayer in our day-to-day for the next week. Prayer. It is pretty simple, it’s the hand prayer.
We assign a prayer prompt to each one of our fingers.
Since our thumb is closest to us, we pray
for those closest to us: our family, friends, pets. Our pointer finger reminds us to pray for people who point us in the right direction: teachers, coaches, pastors, band instructors, mentors. Our middle finger is our tallest finger so we pray for people in in positions of power, like politicians, principles, and business leaders. Our middle finger also is a symbol of dislike
towards someone, so we can pray for people we dislike. Our ring finger tends to be pretty weak, so we pray for people in need, or folks who are lonely, hurting and suffering. And our pinky finger, we pray for ourselves!
Give it a try this week, and let us know how it goes!