Intentional Rhythms: Allowing Grace to be Part of Your Routine

Have you experienced the emotional meltdown that occurs when the rhythm that was working, no longer is? You are an intentional person who has created schedules and concocted plans; you are meticulous and methodical, and yet— you feel like you’ve crested a plateau, or hit a wall.
You adopted the diet plan or exercise regimen with passion and intensity; you followed it with precision, becoming a spokesperson for the brand you associated your new body with, yet it is no longer showing you the results you want. It’s frustrating to put in the effort, sacrifice the delicious calories, only to realize that your hormones have shifted, or the emotional stress you’ve been living in is taking a toll— or some other small piece of information is keeping you from your goal.
Maybe others of you have experienced similar frustration when your once perfectly-sleep-trained-child is no longer the cheery, textbook, or even understandable baby you thought you knew. It’s as if a fairy came to your house in the night and switched your sweet angel with someone else’s child. They look the same, but all of us a sudden you find yourself in a place where what has been working, what was causing you success, no longer is.
Welcome to the plateau. Or the seat of frustration. Or the growing pains. Or (sigh) the agony and flexing of patience muscles. It’s painful in these moments, feeling the productivity, or self-satisfaction of having accomplished something, slowly slipping from your grasp. Try as you may to hold tightly to the old pattern, but it is gone. Those moments are forever a part of what was. And you are now marching toward an unknown.
Here we are in the third week of June, talking about intentional living, and specifically, rhythms. What do we do when what was once working, no longer is? When what was causing you to thrive no longer allows you to be productive or happy.
Here you stand, with few options. The first is the most comfortable— you can stick your head into the sand and hope that your situation will change if you ignore it. If that doesn’t make you feel better, you could try to force different results from the same formula— but that is the definition of insanity. Or, third, you can recognize that something has changed, and so what you were doing must also shift.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” is an ancient saying from Solomon, a Jewish king who lived in 9th century BC. His words in Ecclesiastes 3 are both sweet and sour to us. He embraces the time to build up and a time to tear down, a time for mourning and celebration, a time to be born and a time to die, and so on— leaving us frantically anxious, and breathlessly hopeful at the same time. When I read his words, I can almost picture him, slumped over a desk splattered with ink, and dark circles under his eyes— but with a smile that breaks his philosophical ranting into contagious laughter. I can hear him whisper, “it’s going to be okay.”
Friend, you can let go.

You can relinquish control. You can breathe easy and relax. Let your shoulders droop and your hair down, and embrace this season that may be new and surprising, but also intoxicatingly refreshing. It will not last forever, and before you know it, you’ll have moved so far forward, that you’ll again be searching for something to grasp hold of, and plans that will propel into the next leg of your journey.

The work out routine, the weekly calendar, the nap schedule, the menu planning, the methods that once keep everything humming happily, can change. Let your foot slam on the break and make the U-turn; it will be okay. And, the best news— doing so causes you to take a detour into the land called “grace.”
Grace is a deep plunge into a pool that is refreshingly crisp and overwhelmingly pure. It is not a splash, but an ocean wave— both powerful and peaceful. Grace extends a smile and comes with no-strings-attached and a no-return policy. We don’t ask for it; it’s extended to us in abundance. It’s what covers us in the moments when we are unsure of what’s next, but confident that what has been working needs to change. If you’re anything like me, you need a gentle reminder that grace is a rhythm worth exploring, embracing and being engulfed by.