The steering wheel was dancing around in hands like it seemed it had a mind of its own.
Vibrating in little jolts, this way then that, I knew exactly what the problem was. My steering wheels were out of alignment. It was like one wheel wanted to go one way whilst the other wheel wanted the car to go in another direction.
Back and forth the battle continued until I limped into the tyre shop for a wheel alignment.
I had hit the curb with one of my wheels and it had physically shunted the tyre out of alignment with the car. Now I had to stop and get someone to get all my wheels perfectly in alignment with each other.
Bumps in life can get us out of alignment. In fact just general life can bump our course off purpose just ever so slightly that one day we wake up and wonder ‘How did we get here?’
Do you feel aligned to your purpose? Are you in sync with the rhythm of alignment.
At the moment in the garden I am pruning roses.
It’s winter and the leaves are off and growth is slow. In this season, in this place of rhythm, I can get that rose realigned for the next summers beautiful show.
One of the gardens that I tend has a lot of roses that haven’t been pruned for alignment for many years. There are branches going this way and that, dead wood that needs removal. At times it can feel like just a mess, yet within that rose bush contains the promise of glorious beauty.
What it needs is alignment, training, pruning and love.
I look at the life Jesus Christ. His deepest centre was about having a unity with what God was doing.
He spent so much time focusing in on the presence of God in everything. The focal point to his life was a joy ahead of him (Hebrews 12:2) and he knew that to see this consummation of joy there would be suffering.
In his centre, at his deepest core level he was centred and steady. Aligned to his why and his purpose. If Jesus had a mission statement if would possibly be this
God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” Luke 4: 18, 19
How do we become aligned?
I believe that everyone needs to take time to just stop. Stop doing, doing, doing, and hit that pause button. Every day, week and month have a time set aside, planned for when you simply stop.
This is one of God desires for you.
He called the people of Israel to have a complete day where they were to cease work, have a sabbath. In this time it was for rest and family celebration, worship and rest. Imagine having a whole day where you cease from your normal crazy lifestyle and just rest. Where you gave yourself space to sit, reflect and give thanks. This respite gives us a space to reassess our alignment to what is good and true. To what is our truest calling.
It gives us the time to check to see if our ladder is leaning against the right wall.
If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster. Stephen R. Covey
If you are not aligned then the further up the ladder you climb, the further away you go from your aligned call.
Stopping requires a disciplined belief that you can stop, that the world won’t come to an end if you just stop for a moment. Seriously it won’t!
Perhaps others would like you to stop too.
Do you have a rhythm of stopping, being still and quiet? When do you push ‘pause’ and spend time in reflection mode.
2. Be still.
Find a place and time where you can just come to a place of stillness in your life. Where you can lay down the business of busyness and just breath.
We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence
that is the presence of God himself. Ruth Haley Barton
I had a little thought a few years ago about stillness and the thought is this.
Still candles burn brighter.
We sometimes have power cuts, and in the dark we stumble around looking for the candles and some matches. With the candle lit its true brilliance shines out when it is still. If we move it from room to room in hurry and bustle then that flame gets smaller and smaller and may even go out.
I need times and places set into the rhythm of my life where I can be still, unhurried, and quiet.
3. Listen with paper and pen.
Its time to listen to your life. All of those things which have given you a sense of being aligned or not aligned.
I listen to my thoughts, feelings, and activities of the day or week. I listen to everything and everyone.
I listen for the whispers of God.
In my listening I like to journal and write down what is going on inside of me. I find that writing seems to unlock parts of my brain. It clarifies the cluttered conversation. I have all these thoughts going around and around in the thought blender.
Stopping, being still and listening invites me to journal. The page of the journal calls me to pull together what I am listening to.
Its my journal and so I will write what I like. It doesn’t have to make sense and have perfect grammar. It’s my place and I will write what I want to write.
A useful journaling exercise to do is to imagine your life as a cup. In your journal write down those things which have filled your cup and those things that have drained your cup. Those things that have given a sense of life and energy those that have drained it. This little exercise could be done at the end of the day or a week. Then after a period of time notice any trends you see. Perhaps there is a calling to address some of those things that draining your cup too much.
4. Plan with prayerful purpose and focus.
Being aligned invites you to make plans. To set yourself some goals around the areas that you are drawn to. I like to set 90 day goals. This short length of time helps me to keep a focus on achieving something quite close at hand, within reach. Then I break these goals down into weekly and daily activities.
I remember to do only what I can do.
I use an app called Wunderlist which sits on my phone and laptop where I can add in tasks and notes.
The rhythm of alignment, the setting aside of time to readjust your focus is crucial if you are going to stay on the course God desires to be with you on.
Do you have a rhythm of alignment?
Question: Out of all the steps listed above, which do you find the most difficult?
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