On Living Gloriously Lopsided

So…

There’s this book I’ve been slowly reading for months now. Months.

Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.

Why it is taking me so long to read through it, I couldn’t exactly say.  Maybe it’s because I have about 3 other books I’m reading at the same time…that could have something to do with it 😉  But perhaps it’s more because each time I read a chapter, a page, a paragraph…I am underlining, pausing, thinking, mulling over it.  Seriously, I’m not sure of another book that has caused me so much pause as this one (other than maybe one of my all-time favorites ever, One Thousand Gifts…that’s one I have read and re-read countless times and still come away with a stirred soul).

But this book.  I’m not sure what it is.  It is just speaking to me at a soul level, shifting my perspectives and challenging my heart. I can only read a little chunk at a time, it takes me a while to digest it. It’s not that it’s a complicated subject…this whole idea of seasons of the heart, seasons of life, seasons of soul…it’s simple really, it makes so much sense, it seems so obvious. I’ve had so many “duh!” moments as I’ve read through it.  And yesterday was probably the biggest “duh” moment of them all.

Chapter 10.  Titled: “Balancing (or not)”

Just the title of this chapter alone sent quivers of anticipation through my bones.  Balance.  That ever-elusive goal of my life.  I just want to find balance.  I’ve forever felt like I’m swinging on this pendulum between extremes…my days are unbalanced, my life is unbalanced, my to-do list is unbalanced.  I’ve driven myself half-crazy trying to find some sort of balance amidst the crazy unpredictableness of the everyday.  Even when my calendar seems manageable and there’s margin and white space in my days, even when there is no drama and no sickness and no crisis happening, even when the skies are clear and everything is calm (which is rare, but still)…even when it seems that everything is in just the right place for balance to happen, even if I have a moment of balance when all things seem just right…the moment is so fleeting, like a vapor that disappears just as quickly as it came.  There is always something that is undone, something that is being neglected, something that is pulling me to one extreme or the other. And so the pendulum keeps swinging.

So when I saw the title of this chapter, part of me wondered if it would contain the “answer” to balance.  Because man did I need that answer! 😉

But what this chapter says is a game changer for me.  Game. Changer. It shifted my perspective in a way that will forever change how I approach my days, how I feel about my unbalanced life.  Because what Mark Buchanan so simply says in this chapter…it seems so obvious, so, just, duh! :

Everyone seeks balance

"We crave balance but need rhythm" Mark Buchanan

There is really no such thing as perfect balance.  It simply is not the nature of life, it’s not the nature of seasons.  So in all my pursuits and attempts to produce balance in my life, to find some kind of happy perfect medium, I’ve just been chasing unicorns.

It’s rhythm that I need.  Balance will flow out of rhythm…but it won’t look so much like balance sometimes, because sometimes I will need to swing to extremes to stay in the boat….I need to lean in, bend over, match thrust with counterthrust. It’s all about the pace and the rhythm that will keep me moving…not the balance.

And it’s going to be tiring.  It’s going to be wearying.  This idea that life should always be calm and peaceful and never utterly exhausting is just a myth.

I love what Mark Buchanan says later in the chapter:

Part of good rhythm

I love that.

“If our lives are always skewed toward something, out of kilter in some way, then let’s make the most of it and skew them toward light.”

 “You’re going to be tired one way or another. May as well be good and tired.”

Now, that’s not saying that I’m for being busy for the sake of being busy.  I’m all about letting go of the glorification of busy.  I’m very anti-busyness.  As a recovering perfectionist who has struggled with finding my worth in what I do and not in who God says I am, I try to be very careful not to fall into the cycle of glorifying “doing” more than “being.” But…I do think there is a difference between being busy and wearying yourself for Jesus. In Isaiah 43:22 (NIV), God accuses Israel: “You have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.” So maybe being wearied is not all bad…it just depends what wearies you.  Being wearied by the things of this world and the pursuits of this world simply wears you out…but being wearied for Jesus, being wearied by pursuing Him and His kingdom, I think maybe that’s the kind of weariness that brings the best kind of deep exhale at the end of the day.  And I do think that the pace and the pursuits of my life will look different in different seasons…and I think that is what is the key.  Because trying to do everything all the time in every season is what leads to a soul that is parched and unhealthy…I know this all too well from personal experience.

It’s not about finding some perfect balance…it’s about living in the rhythm of the season of my life and the season of my heart.  It’s about being aware of what season I’m in and leaning into that. It’s about living, as Buchanan says, “gloriously lopsided. Magnificently obsessed.”

So today, I’m going to lean into the rhythm of the season that I am in…I’m going to lean toward the light, pursue Jesus with all my heart right where I am…I’m going to stop chasing the unicorn of balance and instead just let my life flow in rhythm with the season of my soul.

Right now I think I’m in the middle of spring.  The long winter has past (though there is the occasional cold snap every now and then 😉 ).  But in this springtime of my soul, I am intentionally plowing and planting and cleaning.  I am preparing the soil of my heart, intentionally investing in holy habits, taking time to examine my heart and study my spiritual and emotional rhythms…I’m planting seeds and removing clutter and weeds and cleaning out the junk…I’m living in the rhythm of my soul’s spring.  At the same time, I’m adjusting to and embracing the rhythm of life with two pre-teens.  That’s a whole crazy season of its own, let me tell you!  And I need to move at their pace, be here in these moments with them (even if the moments are full of drama and emotions and lots of homework and projects and activities).  Because there will come a season when they grow up and mature and don’t need me the way they need me now.  But for today, in this season now, I will lean into the rhythm of our family.  And always, always, always, no matter what season….I will live gloriously lopsided, tilted toward the light of Jesus, I will lean toward the place where His kingdom swings closest.  Today, kingdom work looks a lot like cleaning the house and folding laundry and helping Emma with her big science project and building a Barbie hammock out of tinker toys with Lilly…it looks like taking a little extra time after the girls leave for school to read my Bible and journal and pray…it’s planting and plowing my heart, it’s nurturing and intentionally investing in my family, it’s doing what God gives me to do for today and just taking it one day at a time.

It’s not about balance.  It’s about living in the rhythm of this season. Living gloriously lopsided, magnificently obsessed.

"Live gloriously lopsided. Magnificently obessed."

{you can click on the images if you’d like to save and print the graphics in this post – as always, I’m happy to share the graphics I make here for your own personal use, just please don’t take and sell them or any of that craziness 😉 …thanks!}

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5 thoughts on “On Living Gloriously Lopsided

  1. […] Ik kwam eerder toevallig deze blog tegen, met daarin deze quote uit een boek van Mark Buchanan. De blog is absoluut de moeite waard om te lezen en het boek van Mark staat inmiddels op mijn […]

  2. lindsay February 18, 2015 at 10:34 pm Reply

    i always try to teach my kids balance in all things as well…but rhythm…wow…such food for thought

  3. Tarissa January 22, 2015 at 1:45 am Reply

    Jenn, I’ve always felt so guilty about the way my life tends to swing from one extreme to the next. What an amazing perspective! Added “Spiritual Rhythm” to my 2015 reading list. Thank you so much for sharing the book and your beautiful reflection.

    • Jennifer Tucker January 27, 2015 at 7:31 am

      Thank you, Tarisa! I know that guilt all too well…I can never stop the swinging, or find that perfect balance. But the whole idea of rhythm versus balance was huge for me…I’m still processing it and I certainly don’t have it all figured out (and I’m still slowly working my way through the rest of that book…but it is sooo good and I definitely recommend it!!)
      Thank you for your kind words!! I’ve enjoyed following you as well!! 🙂 Have a beautiful day!!

  4. Jayne Lima January 17, 2015 at 5:37 pm Reply

    I absolutely love this post 💙 It just might be one of the most beautifully written ones I’ve read 😊

    Sent from my iPad mini

    >

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