Focus on Faith

Phil Collins' "Focus on Faith" column appears Saturdays in The Penticton Herald and Kelowna Daily Courier

2022 has arrived, so let me first wish you a Happy New Year.

Many of you have probably considered setting new goals for 2022, my wife and I love to talk about our dreams.

For two decades, we have spent time, usually over our annual roast duck on New Year’s Eve and will write them down. It is surprising how many have been achieved, running marathons, walking the West Coast trail and completing a degree.

But these days, maybe because of my age, I prefer the word rhythms. Building new rhythms into our lives can and should make all the difference.

For those with faith, the goal must be to grow in our connection with God, building new and deeper rhythms that help us connect with the divine so that our faith may flourish. The definition of the word rhythm is a pattern of regular pulses caused in music or the movement with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat. Our aim must be to create those traditional spiritual rhythms.

Indeed, for me, that means silent meditation most mornings, as Isaiah says, “But those who wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint” (Isa 40:31).

We are rapidly losing the ability to wait, rest or meditate on spiritual truths. We reach for our smartphones, and instantly our minds start to race.

Perhaps a new rhythm is to have a Sabbath, learning to take one day a week, reminding ourselves that our value is not in what we produce but in who we are — loved by God.

Or servanthood, building acts of service into your life, cooking meals for others and visiting those in need.

Gratitude, taking time to be grateful for each evening. The truth is we are all different, we all have unique personalities; therefore, we all need to find the right rhythms, and this takes time.

I read a piece of research about people’s spiritual rhythms. 40% of us find a deep connection with God through practically helping others, making meals, picking up a hammer and the nail, serving in a charity or thrift store.

38% find connection with God while walking in nature, listening to music, and doing creative artistic activities. 12% are those who are deep thinkers. They like to go on retreats, think philosophically, and explore the meaning of life. 10% like structure, to read theological books about God. I imagine that most pastors fall into that 10%.

We are all different, but I challenge you to seek the right rhythm for your life, as Jesus said, “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.’ Matthew 11:28-30 The Message.

Phil Collins is lead pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.