Rhythms of Grace
Your value is not found in your performance as a leader.
Early on in my leadership career, I learned a valuable lesson about capacity. I discovered that in the truest sense, capacity has more to do with our ability to contain or receive than our ability to produce. What enables us to produce much is determined by our ability to receive much, particularly when it comes to direction. This is why developing an interdependent relationship with the Spirit of God is key to flowing in rhythm with Him.
My driven tendencies afforded me much achievement but little satisfaction. I had little appreciation for the idea of “having grace for myself” because it seemed too soft. I was wrong. Grace has a power all its own, and just as there is a rhythm to our daily life, there is a rhythm to God’s grace reflected in our leadership. Rhythm is a cadence or a measured flow or movement. It is what sets the pace for music and largely determines the finished product of any song. The rhythm of our leadership plays an equally vital role in the outcome of our lives.
At the age of 42 I noticed a decline in my energy levels. In addition, my optimism was fading and depression crept into my life. After visiting the doctor, reports came back indicating adrenal fatigue. The remedy for this was not a quick-fix pill, but a much-needed shift of perspective. While my body was sending signals of burn out, it was evident this was more than a physical battle. I needed to learn, as Scripture says, the unforced rhythms of grace.
Matthew 11:28–30 in The Message Bible says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
I soon realized my driven behavior was a byproduct of my religion, causing me to lose sight of the most important thing: my relationship with God. John 15:15 connected the dots for me when Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
It’s one thing to have a servant’s heart; it’s another thing to have a servant’s mentality. The servant mentality focuses on accomplishing the task, gaining value from accomplishments. In my life, it created confusion over what was God’s responsibility and what was mine. God does not reward our activity; He rewards our faithfulness. When we focus our attention on fostering our relationship with Him, we come to know the friendship of God.
Friends do not place unrealistic demands on your life, nor do they promote a sense of performance-based value. The more we pursue letting God do a work in us, the greater work He can do through us. Following Christ’s unforced rhythms of grace propels us forward with His leading. When it comes to rhythm of movement, we all know some people have it, while others do not. The rhythm of His grace, however, is not something you have, as much as it is something you receive. This means, there is hope for all of us to get out of the rat race and find His rhythms of grace.