The following text is an excerpt from the introduction of “Thriving by Following.”
“While people usually believe that a natural rhythm or order will one day pass them up in life, or magically appear by absolving the practices and beliefs of those around us, the reality is that we have to actively create rhythm and order in our lives. It takes work and effort to create systems of practices, habits, and schedules that work well for us and help us thrive.
In Christian tradition, it’s called a rule of life (which I will call a “rhythm of life” from here on-out). In our day and age, we don’t generally like the word “rule” very much, but before we all get our knickers in a knot, it simply means the flexible (emphasis on flexible) rhythms in our life, empowered by the Spirit of God, that help us thrive and live an on-purpose and fulfilled life that follows the will and plans of God for our life, just as we were created to do.”
As a high school teacher, the topic of rhythm couldn’t be closer to my heart. Only about five years removed from high school myself, it breaks my heart to see how heavy, anxious, and overwhelmed my students are sometimes. Of course, it’s not the same with everyone, and I don’t want to make too rash an overgeneralization. But even though I went through my own bouts of depression and anxiety during high school and college, it never seemed as prevalent as what I see today. Over time, those feelings and emotions compound, and they usually develop into negative cycles and habits that rob us of the life we were created for. At some point, those negative feelings and emotions might become the only reality we know. I want my students and others though to live with a deep joy and peace, and I truly believe that cultivating healthy rhythms is an important step in that direction.
We live in a time where endless information is available at the click of a button. We can order food and have it delivered to our front door, communicate with family members halfway across the world, and watch our friend’s live streams on social media. While this access is a great resource, it can also leave us confused and disoriented. Hundreds upon hundreds of voices exist, constantly vying for our attention each day, whether it be news media, social media, politicians, religion, or even our family and friends. And each one of these voices wants us to focus on them first and foremost. In other words, they want us to followthem. Sometimes though, throughout all this, we stop following the voice that matters the most: God’s. This book isn’t just about following some new “fad” rhythm of life. This is about following the voice of the God that created us and wants to lead us into a brighter and more purposeful and fulfilled life.
I wrote this book to do just that: to be a tool for others to tear down what stands in their way, create a life of rhythms that helps them truly live and thrive as they were created, and deepens their faith walk in the process. It’s about not letting a day pass by that isn’t intentional but thinking deeply about the rhythms we either consciously or unconsciously follow and deepening our surrender and submission to the Lord and His plans for our life. We all have a rhythm of life. The question is: Have we thought intentionally about those rhythms? And are they giving us life and in alignment with the Lord? That’s what this book is about, and that’s why I wrote it. I hope you enjoy it, and I pray that it blesses and encourages you deeply.
Over the following weeks, I’m going to be sharing excerpts and stories from my book, Thriving by Following,in this article series. Thriving by Following published on December 7, 2020 on Amazon and Kobo and is available to purchase as an e-book or paperback at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1636765807. If you want to connect and stay up to date, you can reach me here via email (email@example.com), or, connect with me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/josephtolonen_writer/.