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Build In The Good Times

A few weeks ago, I injured my ankle pretty badly and it rocked me. The timing was particularly terrible, not that injuries ever come at a good time. We had work in the new building, the Easter Egg Hunt and Easter all coming up.  

 

I found myself filled with guilt for several reasons. First, it made life significantly harder on my wife. We have three young, energetic children and using crutches is not conducive to multiple morning drop-offs. Second, I added more work on my fellow staff members and the teams I serve on. Lastly, I was guilty because I didn’t want to talk to God about it. I was mad at Him. 

 

I still can’t put weight on my ankle, but my life is considerably better. My spiritual rhythms pointed me back to God’s truth in my life. Circumstances no longer define how I am responding. Instead, the rhythms I built when times were good have carried me through and helped shift my perspective. 

 

You may be wondering, what do I mean by Rhythms? Rhythms are spiritual habits that are built into our daily, weekly and monthly routines. They are designed to help us put on the full armor of God, which Pastor Anthony spoke about a few weeks ago. (If you missed it, it is worth a listen.) 

 

The great thing is that I didn’t have to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I didn’t have to toughen up. I wasn’t left trying to do better. Instead, the  habits that I had built reminded me of God’s love and His faithfulness in my life. The same is true for your life too!

 

First, I continued my daily Bible reading each morning. It’s really hard to read God’s word consistently and not see His faithfulness and love shine through. The Bible is filled with accounts of individuals who went through extremely challenging times such as Abraham and Paul. They weren’t perfect, but they continued to trust God, which allowed God to work in their lives. 

 

Second, I actually missed going to church. Yes, I admit that I chose not to attend and justified it by saying I needed to ice and rest my leg. Even with an extremely good livestream (thank you service programming), it was not the same as being in the room. I have been back the last two weeks and this rhythm of attending in person on Sunday has refreshed my heart. There is something really special about being in the room and hearing people worship. Even just saying hello to the person next to me is an opportunity to see God’s family. 

 

Third, I had to let my community in. Over the years, I built community through serving on teams and attending dinner group. I pushed back against it at first, letting my fears control me. It took a phone call from my buddy Mike, calling to check in after he heard about my ankle, to shock my system. He brought over food and just hung out for a little. The next day, his wife Sarah picked up our kids and brought them home after school. These two acts of kindness and conversation reminded me how important it is to be in community. The seemingly simple act pointed me back to connection with others and away from my fears. It’s been amazing to see God’s love through them and others when I was willing to let them in. 

 

See, I had let the enemy gain a small foothold in my life. He latched onto the guilt I was feeling and was actively working towards my destruction. He tried to bring up all desires of my flesh and feasted on my isolation. Thankfully, the community I had formed by participating in the body came through at a critical moment. 

 

I think the song we sang on Easter, summed up my experience. 

 

And I’m fighting a battle

You’ve already won

No matter what comes my way

I will overcome

Don’t know what you’re doing

But I know what you’ve done

And I’m fighting a battle

You’ve already won

(You’ve Already Won – Shane & Shane)

 

I was so focused on the “I will overcome” that I didn’t include God. I was trying to keep God at arm’s length instead of letting His faithfulness and strength fight for me, on my behalf.

 

I encourage you to develop rhythms in your life. The habits you build will carry you through good times and trials in your life. We are promised trials will come in our life and so it is important to build habits in good seasons. 

 

Here are a few quick tips to help you develop Rhythms and experience God’s resurrecting love. 

 

  1. Commit to attending consistently in person on Sunday. 
  2. Join a group or a team. Having a community is so important when life comes at you.
  3. Start a Bible reading plan with a friend. You can hold each other accountable. 
  4. Find time to pray. It doesn’t have to be long and you don’t need any special words. Just start. God wants to hear from you. 

 

See you on Sunday!

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