Encouragement · Faith · wisdom

Find a Reasonable Rhythm

Whales intrigue me. Their behaviors and instincts fascinate me because they create amazing backdrops for life lessons. Whales follow a specific pattern [a rhythm, if you will] that I would like to emulate.

Whales feed in the cold waters of Alaska before making a six-week journey to Hawaii to mate, rest, and give birth. It captivates me that they know when to move from one region to the next. Talk about being in tune with the rhythm of your physical needs and being cooperative with necessary environmental changes.

Did you know that whale-watching in Alaska is not ideal in summer? Because that’s when I was there, no one was going to convince me a whale-watching excursion wasn’t a worthy investment. I love whales. So against the logical advice of others, we bought tickets, boarded the boat, and set off on a whale-watching excursion. I was eager for a dramatic breach moment, and I {definitely} came off much too enthusiastic for other participants who were obviously less enamored by the mammals.

Not long after taking off in the open waters, the guide put his pin in my balloon by saying the whales were busy feeding to prepare for the long swim, and we would not likely experience a strong showing beyond a tail or two. While imagining dollar signs and dreams swirling down the drain, I developed a new resolve to spot a whale and defy the said norm, and I started praying-which should be understood as incessant childlike begging. I know, but I told you I was overly enthusiastic about whales.

Much to my surprise and delight I saw a whale breach on our excursion. Two times. Both times-I screamed in excitement startling the less enthusiastic passengers on board. Though they were in the cold waters feeding, and would soon begin their swim to Hawaii, I saw a whale emerge from the water! It was everything I’d hoped for and imagined.

Whales follow a rhythm. Feeding in one area, and then off to another for mating, birthing, and resting. They instinctively know when to begin the six-week swim from one region to the other. They adhere to this rhythm without resistance. It’s a picture of balance–rhythm without resistance.

Rhythm without resistance is a concept I would like to better understand. No, that’s not accurate. It is a concept I would like to internalize and live out. Resistance is my innate rebellion to try and do things my own way. Surrender is not weakness; it is an expression of humility and wisdom.

Whales feed and work. I see a glimpse of this rhythm in my own life. With writing and speaking, I pour out for a spell and then retreat to a feeding place. In the feeding season, I consume non-fiction books at top speed, listen to more podcasts than I can recommend, watch sermons on repeat, and write when I can’t shake a word picture. In the pouring out season, I speak at events, write, and record podcasts. I can only pour out for so long before it’s time to return to the feeding waters.

One season cannot exist apart from the other. Rhythm without resistance.

Nourishment is required to sustain life. You must be fed to feed. Of course, there are innumerable times I stayed too long in the waters of pouring out. They are the months characterized by soul weariness, relationship strain, and martyr language. Times when I failed to be kind to myself because I was too consumed with earning approval and validating my own worth through works. I was consumed with putting the oxygen mask on others without evaluating my own need for air.

Can you relate to staying in a season for too long? Are you floating in dangerous waters now? Don’t forget to feed and be fed. Maybe you are serving others to the point of personal malnutrition, but feel guilty about tending to your own feeding needs. We need both.

Feeding our souls and feeding and serving others matter and both are necessary. Together a rhythm of balance can be achieved, but it is up to us to pay attention to timing.

Rhythm without resistance is reasonable and helps us avoid burnout. If you have ever believed things are resting on your shoulders, consider this. Jesus often went away alone to pray. He is our prime example of what it looks like to step out of one rhythm and into another. If the Savior of the world took the time to refresh, it would be wise for us to do the same.

I’ve heard it said that you cannot give what you have not received. Ruminate on that for a minute. It underscores the value of striking a balance between giving and receiving. Today is a good day to find a reasonable rhythm to rest and receive. Share your need with someone you trust. Get away alone to pray. Take the nap.

Whales are not resistant to the rhythm of working AND feeding. We can learn a lot if we will slow down and pay attention. Have you been feeding others through ongoing service and sacrifice? Are you longing to rest? You have permission to do both.

Here’s to finding reasonable rhythms that encourage work AND restoration.

#MomentofTruthMonday #GiversandReceivers #Balance #FeedtoFeed #RhythmWithoutResistance #SoulNourishment #WhaleThereYouGo

PS-In case you missed it on social media, the Broken Vessels eBook is now available on Amazon. Check it out here.

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