Living a Rhythmed Life: The Challenges I Face

Cruciform tree.

Hi, friends. 

So, we’re on the back end of the rhythmed life series. We spent a full three weeks looking at the concept of a rhythmed life from various angles, with last week allowing us to flesh out what this could mean for us individually. (To see a comprehensive list of the posts in this series, click here.) 

This week, I’d like to sew up the series by sharing some final thoughts and perspectives. I’ll share some stories from my own life about living this way, and we’ll look later this week at how the rhythmed life affects our online lives. 

If you have any remaining questions about this subject, feel free to chime in and ask in the comments. I’d love to make sure your questions get answered before the series ends. 

Today, though, I’d like to talk about challenges. 

What hurdles crop up when living this way? 

The one I face most has to do with my availability to other people.

Even though, as I shared earlier in the series, being with people in this approach to life means being more fully present when I’m with them, the rhythmed life — at least in the rhythm I’m meant to sustain — means being present to less people, and often being present in different ways than I would have been before I began living this way.

It means saying no to coffee dates and dinner invites and social parties sometimes. It means only being available in certain timeframes, which may not end up working for other people’s schedules. It means, for me, having to schedule phone dates with people I love rather than leaving things open-ended and spontaneous.

It means missing out on connection sometimes. It means other people might not understand why I said no. Living a rhythmed life means accepting these realities and limitations, and this can be hard. 

There’s also the challenge of how life just happens sometimes.

People get sick. We can’t get to sleep. Plans fall through. Our work goes through a busy season. The car breaks down.

As I shared earlier in the series, this isn’t about rigidity. There’s always room for grace and the unexpected here. This is about rhythm and intention, not schedules and rules. 

About once a month, for example, I have a work commitment that keeps me in the office all day for three days straight — sometimes into the late hours for each of those days. On those days, my morning routine and my evening routine must flex to accommodate. 

And that is totally okay. We let life be what it needs to be, and then we shift back to usual rhythm when we can.

Lastly, I face the challenge of comparison.

I just can’t do as much as other people can. I have a very low tolerance for stimulation and noise. I lose energy quickly in large groups. I need to take things slow. I need a lot of silence. 

It can be easy to judge myself for these limits. It can be tempting to goad myself to do more. 

But the reality is, I’m made the way I am in order to do the things I’m meant to do. The life I’m called to lead and the work I’m invited to offer needs slowness and great cadences of silence. I can’t do what I do without those things, and so my personal make-up become a proper fit for my life. 

Rather than compare, I have to remember who I am and the life that’s mine to live.

What challenges do you face — or anticipate facing — in living a rhythmed life?