A brand new year unfolds before us. How many of us find ourselves restless, longing for more? The holidays are behind us now, and we are tired of all the activity, the rushing, the memory-making + merry-making, the feasting and the getting.
Now we start again, we re-set, we look into what is both ordinary and fresh at the same time. We’re back to our usual work. Laundry piles, dishes stack, children squabble, bills accrue again. How can we enter into the sameness and the ordinary and yet become different?
What are we so restless for?
Timothy Willard offers us companionship in our restlessness and offers a soul-remedy: God.
The month of January is a clean start, a time when many of us are thinking about change, the changes we want to make to become more of who we desire to be. We go into a new year and bring our old selves into it; but how can we be changed? How can we be transformed?
Scripture tells us we can be transformed by “renewing our minds” (Rom. 12:2). We renew our minds by immersing them in the Truth and abandoning the lies that have taken root there. Willard’s book is just one more weapon in our arsenal to immerse our minds in truth and meditate on it.
In his book, Willard offers us companionship throughout the year with daily readings organized into 52 weeks, each week offering 5 meditations on scripture and short prayers. The readings are fairly concise, leaving you often hungry for further exploration on your own into the scriptures. The weeks are arranged topically, giving you the option of either following allow chronologically or using the book topically as it suits you. The topics are things such as love, joy, confession, family, worship, beauty, forgiveness, faithfulness, etc. Willard arranged the book around the natural rhythms of life, understanding that we experience and relate to God in the ordinary and often mundane activities of our days.
Originally, the readings began as a series of emails written over the course of two years to fellows in an entrepreneurial incubator program for founders of social justice organizations called Praxis. Willard says, “I wrote weekly devotional emails crafted to inspire, challenge, and engender transparency among those in the program. I wanted the writing to reflect the rhythms of daily life but also point to the heavens, to God…Why God rhythms? Because life is anything but formulaic. Though I try to implement systems to help organize my time and relationships, these life buckets tend to mix and gel, clash and explode. I experience life like you do, in the whirlwind of reality’s rhythms. But I do not despise the whirlwind. Instead, I look to its creator, the author of life, the poet of the universe who holds the ebbing and flowing of life like a valley holds its rivers and streams and trees: in the beautiful cadence of balance. The storms interrupt, the rains nourish, the sunlight quickens, the fires purge, and the seasons create of cycle of anticipation. We are always looking to the daffodils, to the picnics, to the harvest parties, to the Christmas trees.”
Willard’s writes as a fellow-sojourner and the readings carry the sense of the dailyness of life, symbiotic with my own feeble heart each day. His writings stir up my affections for Jesus and always leave me longing to dig deeper into God’s Word and to linger in His presence.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. As always, the opinions expressed are my own.