In this episode:
Have you ever felt as if you weren't following the "rules" when it came to how you practiced spiritual growth? If you thought that you were somehow broken because you weren't doing it the way everybody said you should, then you'll enjoy this interview with Gwen Jackson, who explains how we have different habits: daily rhythms, weekly-monthly, and seasonal.
About Gwen Jackson:
For 30+ years Gwen Jackson served in numerous ministry roles alongside her husband, Dennis, in pastoral ministry, including becoming an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church in 2014. Her greatest joy is to process life and faith with others. Her first book, Unforced Rhythms, was released in the fall of 2017. She enjoys hiking, running, summer, but more than that, she loves sharing life with her husband of 43 years and spending time with her family of four grown children and eight grandchildren.
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Quotes to Remember from Gwen Jackson
I always felt defeated, and pretty much discouraged in my Christian walk, because I felt like I wasn't measuring up what was expected of me.
This whole daily devotion thing for me was just such a burden. I couldn't reconcile the two and I didn't know how to, and so God gave me some help along the way that finally brought freedom to my life.
There are daily people who love to know what their what their day is going to be like, they often make a to-do list, they can get a lot done…And so, in the spiritual life, they love having either morning or evening devotions, or sometimes both. And they can keep that practice up for years upon years. They often like the familiarity of life.
The weekly-monthly rhythm loves to set goals. They get kind of anchored in projects and goals, they set priorities. So rather than a to-do list, they prioritize what they need to have done…The weekly-monthly person loves their Sundays, you know, if they can get that Sunday, Sabbath, and it sort of it sort of centers them for the week ahead and all the things got going.
The seasonal person likes variety…So we need to change things up…Some people might think we're lazy or not disciplined, and that's fine. I probably don't even like that word.
We all do it to a different rhythm that's maybe different than others.
I think a good question to ask is: "Is this changing my life? Is this transforming me? Because the whole goal of growing in our relationship with Christ is to become more like Him, and I love the thought that it's not only for us, but for the sake of others.
Is it helping you to become more like Jesus, and you find it flowing out of your life and into others in your world, in your daily life? And if it's not, then stop doing it and find what does work in your life to get to that place of transformation and growth.
Consider rhythms rather than resolutions. And when you consider your rhythm, I think that will help you to understand more of what you want your day, week, month, and year to look like in that natural rhythm that you live by.
Michelle Rayburn 00:00
Have you ever felt as if you weren't following the "rules" when it came to how you practiced spiritual growth? For example, reading your Bible, doing some daily devotions, prayer, all of those kinds of practices? Well, if you thought that you were somehow broken because you weren't doing it the way everybody said you should be doing it, then you're going to enjoy this interview with Gwen Jackson, who has classified people into three different categories. While some are daily people who really thrive on that routine of doing the same thing day in and day out, there are also people who have more weekly habits or seasonal habits. And so the way they work their spiritual growth into their everyday life is different. More than anything else, it's about repurposing what you do with your time to be doing what helps you to grow, to be set free from the things that aren't working for you and the things that somebody told you you should be doing.
Michelle Rayburn 01:07
You're listening to Life Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration, and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host Michelle Rayburn. Hey there, I want to introduce you to Gwen Jackson. Gwen is a writer and a speaker and she served in many ministry roles alongside of her husband who's in pastoral ministry. Gwen is also an ordained minister herself. Her greatest joy is to process life and faith with others. Her first book, "Unforced Rhythms," was released a few years ago, but I caught up with her today to talk to her about that book, because I discovered it when she spoke at my church. Gwen enjoys hiking, running, summer, and more than that she loves sharing life with her husband of 43 years and spending time with her family of grown children and grandchildren. Here is my chat with Gwen Jackson. Gwen, thank you so much for joining me today to talk with my audience.
Gwen Jackson 02:23
Thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to sharing with your audience.
Michelle Rayburn 02:28
I first met you, well, I didn't meet you in person actually, I first heard you when you came to speak at my church. I think I missed that weekend, so I listened to it later. And I was hosting online during one of the services as well. So I never met you in person, but this is our first time face to face.
Gwen Jackson 02:45
It is. Yes, I do remember preaching at your church that morning. I think we were still in the midst of COVID. Yes, but really enjoyed connecting with the people there.
Michelle Rayburn 02:59
I reached out to your publisher after that, because I wanted your contact information. And they sent me an e-book copy of your book because I said this was a really different way of thinking about things from the way I was raised. So today we're going to be talking about spiritual practices and habits. And I would love to hear your favorite way to refresh.
Gwen Jackson 03:22
Ah, my favorite way to refresh. I have a few different things in the summer. I love gardening but not vegetable gardening. Gardening. So um, I love working with flowers and puttering around in some of my flower beds. I love to read. I got a Kindle three years ago. And ever since then, I've been reading well over 60 books a year. I love the nature outside too. So one of our favorite places my husband and I love to go is Yosemite National Park and just an amazing place to rest and relax and replenish and take in all that nature. We've made a decision at this point in our lives that we're going to go to Yosemite every year. So it's my— I think we went last May and that was my seventh or eighth time and my husband's been there over 10 I think.
Michelle Rayburn 04:32
As we think about refreshing and renewing, you talk often about habits and rhythms and renewal and those kinds of things. One of the things that really stood out for me in your book was the idea of measuring up and words such as ought and should. So I'd like it if you could tell me a little bit about where you were at one point in your life with that concept of measuring up.
Gwen Jackson 04:58
yes Well, I would say it all started in my elementary years, I had some teachers in third, fourth, and fifth grade who seemed to pick on me. And my mom started me in kindergarten at age four. And I turned give that December, so I should have had probably another year under my belt before I started school. So school was always a bit of a challenge for me. So having some teachers who were back in the 60s, a little more rigid and structured, having having lots of expectations for me, and my times tables and math, it was difficult for me. I think I always then felt the need that I needed to measure up and that included even in my spiritual life, you know, making sure I checked off all the dots and was doing everything as I should be doing. And so there was this sense of I ought to do this, I should do this. I was a pretty compliant child. And so I wanted to follow the rules. And so when I became a Christian, I chose to follow Jesus when I was 10 years old, a very moving and real experience for me as a 10 year old. Of course, I wanted to do what was right. And it was a an experience where I truly felt clean inside I just remembered as a child, just knowing something had happened within me. So you know, we're taught to read the Bible and pray. And in my book, I talk about an element in a Sunday school, we would sing this little song, "Read your Bible, pray every day,"
Michelle Rayburn 06:52
I knew that song too.
Gwen Jackson 06:54
"...and you'll grow, grow, grow." And then there was this other stanza they added, "Neglect your Bible, forget to pray, and you'll shrink, shrink shrink." So that every day be can't began to be burdensome to me. As I grew into my teenage and adult life, trying to spend that time with God every morning was a real challenge for me. I always felt defeated, and pretty much discouraged in my Christian walk, because I felt like I wasn't measuring up what was expected of me.
Michelle Rayburn 07:38
Over the years, I feel as if I've heard so many different versions of ought and should when it comes to that. For example, you must do this first thing in the morning, you must read your Bible, you must sit in silence. Listen to the Lord. Because if you don't, your day is going to go terrible. Or if you don't do this every day, then you're never going to grow spiritually. And you're not filling up enough. So you're not gonna I mean, some of there's some truth to that. But also, I felt that heaviness as well. And there's this word that we use with it, which is appropriate: "discipline." We call it spiritual discipline. But until a few years ago, when I was speaking at an event, and somebody said, discipline sounds awful. And I thought, there's some truth to that, too. So what do you think of that? What do you think about the word discipline?
Gwen Jackson 08:31
I do not like the word.
Michelle Rayburn 08:34
It sounds like punishment to me.
Gwen Jackson 08:36
It does, it does, and, um, so that word, I pretty much completely took it out of my vocabulary, because it created this, what I call this spiritual angst, sort of this panic, because I was like, I can't live up to the spiritual disciplines, these expectations that, you know, your Sunday school teachers or your parents, or fellow Christians didn't intentionally place on you. But there was just this sort of expectation. I think that just kind of rose within all of us according to what we've been hearing and messages and Sunday school lessons and so forth. So I battled with that everydayness for several decades, and I was trying to ask God to help me figure it out because, "I love you, God. I love Jesus. I want to live for you." But this whole daily devotion thing for me was just such a burden. I couldn't reconcile the two and I didn't know how to, and so God gave me some help along the way that finally brought freedom to my life.
Michelle Rayburn 10:06
I'm imagining somebody listening right now who might be gasping because you just said, you don't have to read your Bible every day. We get really tied to the legalistic side of what we should be doing and how it compares to somebody else's spiritual practices. So there's this idea that if we don't do that, that God's going to be far away from us, instead of the idea that God is always with us. And we, we need to figure out what works for how we communicate with him.
Gwen Jackson 10:42
Definitely, everything you just said, I totally agree with. Yeah, I think the number one word when people have responded to reading my book, or having me teach or preach on this subject, is freeing freedom liberating. It's something that I think a lot of believers deal with. And yet we keep on telling ourselves, this is the right way to do it. But now, there are other ways to connect with God, if we want to put it into some sort of a measurable thing, which I don't even like to use that but it's really hard for people to who don't see themselves as a daily person, to allow themselves to get out of that rhythm and lean into the rhythm that more who they are. And so even then, I think just that ingrained a message we've had is one that's hard to pull ourselves out of, because we'll feel guilty. But we don't need to feel guilty because Jesus says, "My burden (yoke) is easy." From Matthew 11:20–30. That's my main Scripture I kind of sandwich the whole book in.
Michelle Rayburn 12:15
Really soon, I want to come to the life rhythm theory, because you mentioned a daily, and then we're going to talk about those rhythms. But before we do that, I just want to call out the idea that a lot of what we do is performance based. So I was taught growing up that were saved, not by works, but by faith. And that faith is in Jesus. But then in practicality, we almost lived as if our faith was performance based, because almost as if God would have more favor on me if I followed the rules and spent this amount of time with him every day, read the Bible through in a year, or all of those things. So in your book, you talk about living in chronic defeat because of this. And as we think about repurposing our rhythms, how do we get out of that chronic defeat that's caused by the legalistic pressures?
Gwen Jackson 13:09
Yes. Well, I believe that reading my book, and finding about the three different life rhythms is a place to detach from that daily mindset. And certainly there are daily people who lean into that dailyness, and I keep, I always say, I tried to be you for so many years, and it didn't work for me. But yes, I agree with you, we can easily go back into performance-based faith. And I love the book of Galatians. Because Paul wrote that book, and it's so much about grace. And he even says in one part in there, basically, you were set free, why are you going back to your old ways? You know, so I kind of use that to say, "if you're not daily, you can be set free from that and lean into the rhythm that's right for you." But so don't go back to that, because in some ways, we're in slavery to it. That legalism pulls us into, we're a slave to this. So I was feeling like a slave in some ways to those daily devotions, kind of making myself do them because I thought that was the right thing to do. But um, so I think that's the yoke that Jesus talks about that yoke of oppression. And Paul says, you know, don't, now that you're free, don't go back to that yoke of slavery. So I love that book of Galatians. It's a good book to read if you're needing a lot of grace in your life and understand more.
Michelle Rayburn 15:01
Yeah, I love all of Paul's writings. But because it's so practical in applying to everyday life. Now that we've piqued the curiosity of the listener, we do need to talk about those three different. . . . What is a daily? So the life rhythm theory is really what ties in here. And this is what you lay out in your book. So let's talk about the three types of people.
Gwen Jackson 15:24
There are the daily people, like I said. There are daily people who love to know what their what their day is going to be like, they often make a to-do list, they can get a lot done. They're really efficient if they have a good, understandable goal for their day, and they're responsible for it. They do love that structure. And so, in the spiritual life, they love having either morning or evening devotions, or sometimes both. And they can keep that practice up for years upon years. They often like the familiarity of life. And so on Monday, I do this on Tuesday, I do that. I grew up with a very daily mom, and she had those morning and evening devotions, she used that little booklet, My Daily Bread. And it was always by her breakfast table setting. She journaled every single day ever since 1968. She passed away this last March, and I have her journals. And it's very, there's not a lot of feeling. It's mostly this is what I didn't know daily. And she would just write a kind of a paragraph and later on, she would write a one page. And that's all she did. But she did that for decades. So that daily person loves that routine, they are definitely anchored in a routine. They love that familiarity. I've talked to daily people who say that when they're on vacation, they're so ready after a week to get back to their routine. Just boggles my mind. Give me a whole three-month sabbatical. So that kind of in a nutshell describes the daily person. Yeah, they can make a living doing the same job for a long time, you know, and not get burdened by, by it. For for me that daily grind, I can't, I can't do that. So um, yeah, that's the daily person. That's the daily. So then what's the next one, the second rhythm is called weekly-monthly, and the weekly-monthly rhythm loves to set goals. They get kind of anchored in projects and goals, they set priorities. So rather than a to-do list, they prioritize what they need to have done. And as long as they're working towards that goal, or in finishing a project. As long as they're moving forward, they're happy. No one day needs to look like another day, or this Monday that maybe doesn't look like last Monday. But as long as they're completing a goal or moving making progress. They are very happy with that. Weekly-monthly person is my husband. He has been for ever since his 20s he's been having a day alone with God once a month. And not that that's his only time to spend with God. But that one day a month where he sets aside a whole day to spend time with God and prayer. Sometimes he goes hiking on that day if the weather's nice, he's sat in central libraries or seminary libraries in the winter and spends that day in the word and prayer journaling thing, whatever God leads him to do on that day, and that really carries his soul for a while on his commute to work. He may listen to Scripture. He loves— the weekly-monthly person loves their Sundays, you know, if they can get that Sunday, Sabbath, and it sort of it sort of centers them for the week ahead and all the things got going. They can spin a lot of plates. They love working with a team because the team helps them get their projects done and the goals that they have set forth for them. So I'm trying to think if there's any other questions or thoughts on that weekly-monthly person, but that, in a way describes who they are. Okay. And then there's the third one. Yes, the third rhythm is called seasonal-yearly; that would be me. That's why I go, "No wonder I struggled with that daily for so long." The seasonal-yearly person, let me describe what I mean by the yearly. So we often like tend to kind of look at the bigger picture, we may not be strategic or like in our planning, like in the bigger picture, but we sort of can label the year ahead, which I haven't done yet for this year, some people do the word for the year, which could be for the seasonal yearly person. I tend to go, for instance, now I'm going to show my age, but when I turned 60, we I call it the year of Jubilee, because I had been a Christian for 50 years at that point. And what my husband and I plan to do that year, which we did was go back to some of the pivotal moments in my life, and my spiritual walk. And so we went back to Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised, and went to the church that's still functioning where I found my salvation. We went to Brazil, where I went on a mission trip when I was 19 years old, and helped to build a floating airplane hangar on the river down there for the missionaries. And so we went and visited places of pivotal moments in my life. When I was writing the book, it was the year of the book, this is the year I'm gonna finish the book. So that's kind of where the yearly part comes in the seasonal part is we like a lot of variety, just doing routine, and which is the daily and that's okay, they like routine. But on the other hand, the seasonal person likes variety. So if we commit ourselves to something with an indefinite ending, we become very bogged down by that. So the tedious, the routine really bogs us down, and it gets heavy for us. So we need to change things up. And you can do that with the seasons of the year, spring, summer, fall, you know, winter, or you can do it however way you want. Maybe you have a two, two month kind of season that you're gonna go. This is what's gonna happen this this next couple months. So right now I'm kind of trying to eat more healthy and make sure I'm getting my exercise in. And so I'm kind of calling it the next three months, sort of, that's my focus. And so in the midst of that, What is God doing in my life as well? I think the seasonal people say, is there some theme in my life right now what is God wanting to do in my life, and not that the others aren't asking that. But I think as a seasonal person, we sort of go there, we tend to be processors, we process life, and we kind of live in our moments. Some people might think we're lazy or not disciplined, and that's fine. I probably don't even like that word.
Gwen Jackson 23:45
But we can have these high productive times for two or three months. And then we can kind of say, I need a little bit of break from that hybrid productivity. And we go into a season where we're not as productive. And it's good to be aware of that because we need to we still need to somehow keep being somewhat productive in life. But what does that new season look like and a lower productivity? Um, so I think, spiritually, I don't do daily devotions. I find myself in the Word. Almost sporadically. And I will take say, a chapter in the Bible, maybe like an a song, and I'll stick with that song for three months. And we tend to be artistic. More on the creative side. So music, art, writing is helpful to me, I journal but not every day. I'm very transparent in my journaling. It's not my mom who just did what she did for the day. I'm very like, this is what's going on. My life, you know, this is how God speaking to me. So what I was gonna say with that was, you know, I've taken chapters in the Bible, and I draw them out and kind of sketch them. And I'm not an artist by any sense, or, you know that great, but I'm in simplicity, Psalm 91, I can sketch out a verse or two and sort of help me memorize it. So that's kind of how I do. There are times when I get down on my knees and pray, but most of the time is just kind of having this communion with God throughout my day.
Michelle Rayburn 25:45
So that sounds like a key because that's something that somebody might push back and say that, like, if you're too black and white, it might look as if you're saying, daily people talk to God every day, and seasonal people talk to him once a year. That's not true.
Gwen Jackson 26:01
It isn't true.
Michelle Rayburn 26:03
It sounds to me as more as is how it works into your day. I don't even know which I am. I thought I was more of the weekly, weekly-monthly. But there's a lot of seasonal in me as well, because I'm a creative person. The coloring Bible appealed to me because I could slow down and just color a page. While I'm thinking more. My habits are— I'm so organized, but I also change up constantly. So I fall somewhere, I think in between there. I really love my Sundays. That's a protected thing now where I don't read my business emails on Sunday anymore, and it's definitely a very low-key day compared to the rest of the week. Because I did find when I did nothing, I was going insane. It's that rat race of No, yeah, no time. But in in communicating with God, it sounds as if the daily person might be intentionally sitting in a particular chair, and they're reading the Bible, then they're talking with God, maybe journaling every day. I tend to be a person who's talking out loud to God throughout the day all the time. So how, what other ways does it like play out in I know, we're not trying to make rules? Because that's not productive?
Gwen Jackson 27:24
Yes. And it's really hard sometimes to explain the seasonal-yearly person and explain what that looks like. But sometimes when I teach this, and I teach about the life rhythms, and then I divvy them up into whichever rhythm they think there and all the seasonals we get each other, we're like, totally, we get you the dailies, like I understand you guys, but it's been a really good thing for couples as well. So it's been interesting, as I've taught this in the mission organization that my husband and I are part of watching a wife go into the daily in the husband into the seasonal and she's like, "I didn't think he was very spiritual. I didn't think he was strong in his walk because then he's like, 'Yeah, well, you go into your morning closet, and I, you know, feel guilty.'" And so helping each other understand that, yes, we're on a spiritual walk. But we all do it to a different rhythm that's maybe different than others. I'm trying to remember your question now about
Michelle Rayburn 28:35
It's okay. I don't remember it anymore, either.
Gwen Jackson 28:38
So I think just tell um, yeah, like the daily person talks to God every day, they might even have a prayer list that they have. We have a friend that he will tell people regularly, I pray for you every day. And I'm just like, Oh, my goodness, how does he do that? But he has a list. And he just goes through that. And I think he just sort of mentions our names. But
Michelle Rayburn 29:06
My grandma did that she had every person in the family assigned to a day of the week. And she would call me and say, "Thursday was your day. I prayed for you on Thursday."
Gwen Jackson 29:15
Yeah, it's amazing. So I often pray for people. God brings people to my mind at certain times. We may sound a little seasonal, we may sound a little bit flying by the seat of our pants and kind of happy go lucky, but I love being led by the Spirit, which we all are led by the Spirit. But I have this sense that God's spirits just leading me throughout the day. And sometimes it's just if you want to pray a morning prayer, saying God filled me with your Spirit for this day, you know, helped me to follow your leads. And we can start our day with that if we want.
Michelle Rayburn 29:57
Yeah, so when I'm thinking about it in practicum, there is this idea that if you do this daily, that it will keep you from drifting away from God in your relationship with him, which is true to a point. But also, I've heard people say if you don't experience joy coming to your Bible in the morning, then you must not have a true relationship with God. But I experienced joy in my relationship in different ways. So, to me, it seems as if you have the potential to drift away from God, no matter what your habits are, as far as the routine, Yeah, cuz it's more of a mindset thing than it is the actual, like, rigid way that you practice it? Am I understanding that correctly?
Gwen Jackson 30:46
Yes. So, and we might think daily is rigid, but to them, it's not, but I hear a different rhythm, you're gonna say, "Oh, that feels so rigid." But for them, they love that structure. Um, I think that, you know, we can do things in community as well. And so approaching our Bible and opening it up, yeah, we may feel joy, or we might not feel joy. But we have that faith that and assurance that we're still God's child. And whether we have that or not, we don't need to doubt that. I was saying about community. I meet with two other ladies. And we've been doing it partially on Zoom and over COVID, but we try to meet every Friday morning, but two of us are seasonal. And what the other ones certainly not daily, she might be seasonal, too. So sometimes it doesn't work with life schedule, but we'll pray together. And and I like that praying and community also being a part of a Bible study or something where you're studying in Bible chapter, a book with other people. And for the seasonal person, that might be a six to eight week study. And then you're done. And we like that variety. But you still are in the Word and think and pondering it. Yeah, I tend to ponder the Word from for quite some time, rather than reading something new every day. And so that community piece is important for all of us to no matter what rhythm you are.
Michelle Rayburn 32:33
That speaks to me, because when you talk about a seasonal person wanting the constrained time, knowing the beginning and end, that is definitely me, I am more likely to join an eight-week or a 10-week Bible study than I am to commit to okay, we're going to meet every week for indefinitely. It's hard for me to figure out then, if something changes in my life, how do I walk away from this? Yeah, because other people in the group are dailies. And so it is hard, like it almost is offensive if I step away, so I get that that makes sense.
Gwen Jackson 33:10
Michelle Rayburn 33:12
And then to be the pondering thing, too— I'm more likely to have a scripture that I put up somewhere, put a card up somewhere, and really think about it as I go about my day. So again, it's a daily thing. But I might be looking at that same card for weeks before I pack a new one.
Gwen Jackson 33:32
That's exactly how it can work for the weekly-monthly, or the seasonal. And of course, the daily can do that, too. But yeah, I remember meeting a couple they were both daily. And I asked in the workshop, how many of you have read through the Bible in a year and not everybody, of course, raised their hand and this couple did and I realized they were both daily. And they had read through the Bible for two decades. Every single year for 20 years. And I was just like, that is admirable. And I have never read through the Bible in a year. I just can't do it. I just can't.
Michelle Rayburn 34:19
I think it's taken me two years. I don't maybe done it once, but usually, it's more like two or three.
Gwen Jackson 34:25
Yeah, for me, it's just not as meaningful to just try to get so much run in one day, right?
Michelle Rayburn 34:33
Yeah. I can't I say I got anything out... I got as much out of it. Okay. It's something of course, but yeah, it's more like I did it, close the Bible, off with my day.
Gwen Jackson 34:46
I think a good question to ask is: "Is this changing my life? Is this transforming me? Because the whole goal of growing in our relationship with Christ is to to become more like Him, and I love the thought that it's not only for us, but for the sake of others. And so I think sometimes in our individualistic world, we only think about my growth, I'm growing, growing closer to Christ. But really, it's for the sake of others. If we don't I call that lopsided Christianity if we were missing, you know, the second part of that, and so is what you're doing. The question for the audience is, you know, is what you're doing and spending time with God? Is it being transformational in your life? Is it helping you to become more like Jesus, and you find it flowing out of your life and into others in your world, in your daily life? And if it's not, then stop doing it and find what does work in your life to to get to that place of transformation and growth. And yeah, there being others, so.
Michelle Rayburn 36:13
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Michelle Rayburn 37:22
I had pu lled a quote out that I was just scrolling through my screen with quotes I'd pulled up right, as you said, that I got, you know, as you quote, Robert Mulholland in that, just talking about how it's for the sake of others in the body of Christ and outside. And you talked about how his words were a liberating shift from the mindset of the spiritual practices that exists solely for our own personal growth in holiness. And that really resonated with me, because it is really, that's what makes people see us as judgmental and self-righteous and all the things that people criticize Christians for.
Gwen Jackson 37:58
Michelle Rayburn 38:01
So just this not for being Pharisees but for really living in loving like Jesus. And and that was the main takeaway, even from your whole book, I saw that as the the idea of the why behind what we're doing is, is for a different purpose than what we may have been taught in Sunday school.
Gwen Jackson 38:19
Yes. Yeah. And when Jesus in Matthew 11, that chapter at the end is, is speaking about all you who are weary and heavy ladened, he was really speaking to the Jewish people and the Pharisees were listening in to that, to hear him say, "My yoke is easy," because they were under such oppressive laws and rules and regulations that, you know, they had to kind of watch through every step. And what was Jesus accused of, almost more than anything else was healing on the Sabbath, you know, and eating grains as he and the disciples were walking through on the Sabbath. He's like, No, take my yoke upon you. And learn from me, for my yoke is gentle and humble in heart. And that's where you find rest for your souls. And so I love that verse. And, you know, I mentioned in my book that I always thought of the ox yoke when I read that verse, And oftentimes, it's taught that way, but it really is. The yoke is an impressiveness. And I quote quite a few Old and New Testament scriptures in that section of the book. And it's really hard for probably daily people mostly to hear this because it feels like such a polarization maybe but daily devotions was oppressive for me Hmm, it was heavy. It just created this spiritual angst that I didn't like. And being free from that yoke for me personally, as a seasonal person, it was just...
Gwen Jackson 40:20
Gwen Jackson 40:23
...and just had wings to fly rather than a weight that pulled me down. In my spiritual walk.
Michelle Rayburn 40:32
I want to speak directly to our listeners here, because this is the point where if you're listening, and you're hearing Gwen talk, if you have struggled all of your life, with this idea of what you should, or you ought to do, and daily devotions aren't for you, or it's not working for you. I encourage you to get Unforced Rhythms, the subtitle of the book is Why Daily Devotions Aren't for All of Us. And you know, if you're a daily person, maybe you're going to push back against a little bit what we've talking about here, but I have a feeling that listener, if you're somebody who's more of a weekly-monthly or a seasonal person, annual, you're going to resonate with the idea that you can interact with God in a different way than what you've told you have to do. The book contains a lot of, like Gwen said, a lot of Scripture that really backs up this. So if you've only gone to the ones that talked about Jesus went away to the wilderness, and he, you know, those are there. And he went and talked and prayed. But there are other things in the Bible that explain how we can also connect with God. So Gwen, where can people get your book?
Gwen Jackson 41:35
Well, it comes through Wesleyan Publishing House. So if you go on their website, whp.org is...that's what I think it is.
Michelle Rayburn 41:45
I'll link to it in the show notes, too.
Gwen Jackson 41:47
Yeah, you can get it there. Also, on their site, I created a life rhythm assessment that will help you too, you can download it for free. And it may help you to figure out a little more, you know, what you might actually be, and you can be sort of one or the one after the other, you know that they might overlap. So give yourself grace in that.
Michelle Rayburn 42:15
They can also go to UnforcedRhythmsbook.com and connect there.
Gwen Jackson 42:20
That's my website, they can contact me if they'd like they can order a book, or they can find the pre downloadable assessment as well. Yeah, and
Michelle Rayburn 42:31
I'm sure that you'd like to connect with people who say, "Yes, this is me. Thank you so much for finally explaining what I didn't understand." Reach out to Gwen and tell her that if that's you, and this really resonates with you. Gwen, as we wrap up, what would you like to say directly to the person who's listening today?
Gwen Jackson 42:49
Consider rhythms rather than resolutions. And when you consider your rhythm, I think that will help you to understand more of what you want your day, week, month and year to look like in that natural rhythm that you live by. And that can be in our professional life, in our home life as a... in our family, and in our walk with God, and so consider rhythms rather than resolutions. I think I'll end with that today.
Michelle Rayburn 43:25
Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us today.
Gwen Jackson 43:29
It's been a joy. I love to talk about this message.
Michelle Rayburn 43:41
I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Gwen Jackson's book, Unforced Rhythms: Why Daily Devotions Aren't for All of Us. Well-intended points of discipleship have created a spiritual angst in many believers lives. The tone of this spiritual upbringing has created an undercurrent of perfectionism that leads to despair as well as a faulty mindset that focuses on pleasing God. Unforced Rhythms offers a life-giving perspective that gives freedom to believers to engage with God according to their natural life rhythm. While there is a daily life for them, not everyone lives life to the beat of daily, others may discover they live life to a weekly-monthly rhythm, or seasonal yearly. Find freedom in your own rhythm and embrace the way you naturally engage with God. You'll find Unforced Rhythms on amazon.com and on UnforcedRhythmsbook.com And also at Wesleyan Publishing House.
Michelle Rayburn 44:54
You've been listening to Life Repurposed with Michelle Rayburn. Check out tips, resources, and inspiration at Michellerayburn.com to get the show notes for this episode. Each week, I share links to everything mentioned in the episode graphics you can share and guest quotes. I also invite you to join the Life Repurposed Facebook community for weekly conversation with others on the journey of discovering the repurposed life. Before you go, which friend needs to hear this episode? share a link with a note to invite them to listen
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