On Easter 2015, reFresh ended their year long Sabbatical rhythms they corporately practiced during their 7th year of ministry.
We have loved the 111 rhythm (see below) so much that we are continuing to do this in a modified version as we press forward into practicing and inviting others toward an unhurried, unforced and sustainable rhythm on their journeys of faith, love and life.
A sustainable rhythm
Honoring the Sabbath [rhythms] is not only an act of faith these days; it is an act of courage."
Dr. Matthew Sleeth in 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier life
I cannot remember now where I read it, but I remember being struck that Mother Teresa and her Sisters Of Charity take 1 day a week, 1 week a month and 1 month a year in renewing and restorative rest. I know when I first added this up I was astonished! They spent 4 1/3 months out of the year focused on loving God and on good self care in order to spend the remaining 7 2/3 months caring for the poor. They developed a sustainable rhythm which also gave them the ability to have an unswerving energy and focus of priority. Even in a “typical” day – only 7 ½ of their waking hours were devoted to caring for the poor while the remaining 16 ½ hours of the day were devoted to mealtimes, rest/sleep, play and prayer.
We at reFresh are not ministering to the dying on the streets of India. We do not delve into meeting the needs of the physically and socially impoverished people like so many good ministries do. And yet, dying, impoverished souls are not unfamiliar to us. Far too often the dying, impoverished souls we encounter are the ones of those who ARE in ministry - who are ministering justice, love and care to people without hope. We feel confident of our role in the body of Christ: we are a bit like mechanics to missionaries and pastors and the good folk who seek to love and honor God in their lives.
As reFresh journeyed through it's 7th year we let the ground of most of our ministry opportunities lie fallow, and we sought to incorporate a sustainable rhythm of 111 into our lives. Our desire, always, is to practice what we preach. As we thinned out our schedules, we found room in our souls for God, for deeper relationships, for personal growth.
It was totally audacious, felt a little selfish and often times ridiculous...I like what my friend Alicia Chole says about rest: “It is far less a reward for faithfulness and far more a prerequisite for fruitfulness.” And we continue to pray for the fruitfulness that has come from our intention to rest and live in sustainable rhythms of faith.
The reordering of our days was sloppy and very imperfect. There was much trepidation in facing "expansive" margin. We took a lot of stumbly steps forward, only to fall on our bums and to get up and lean more deeply into the unknown spacious places in our lives.
During our time, some of us literally took 1 day a week in Sabbath reFreshment...and 1 week a month in Sabbath reFreshment and 1 month out of the year. For others, we are asking, “Lord, what is one way each week, each month and this year that I can intentionally seek reFreshment in your Presence?” Regardless of our individual 111 rhythm, these moments and days were not, primarily, devoted to work, but rather devoted to our families, community and enjoying God and His creation. And....Paula started fell in love, got engaged and married during this time. How wonderful to have the extra space for all the newness to her own life!
Are you mindlessly stumbling through your days and weeks ?
Do you find yourself rushing from place to place?
Please join us in 111... we are continuing to live this!
As you are aware of your own schedule and demands, would you consider asking the Lord,
- What is 1 way per week that I can intentionally rest/seek your face/be restored in body/soul?
What is 1 way per month that I might stop the normal rush to linger, saunter and frolic with my family, friends or self?
What might be 1 extended way I can set aside time with you during this year? (a silent retreat for 4 days? A conference focused on developing some aspect of your spiritual formation? A pilgrimage to Assisi or Iona or Israel or Calcutta?)
Join us at our facebook page to share in our community of 111 - www.facebook.com/mysoulrefresh
And if you want to pick up some good reads on unhurrying and finding a sustainable rhythm in life and/or incorporating Sabbath with your friends and family - please check out the 7TH YEAR READS page.