In “Rhythms for Life”, Alastair Sterne sets out to help the reader develop a plan for growing in Christlikeness. Based in the fifth century, monastic tradition, he defines the rule of life as identifying “habits, disciplines and practices to keep you moving in the direction of Jesus with your community.” He draws on his experience of being a pastor as well as his own journey in the creation of this guidebook.
Part One, discerning who God has made you to be, covers identity, gifts, talents, personality, values, roles and vocation. It unpacks the meaning and differences amongst them and includes exercises to clarify each for the reader. Having explored so many different tools to analyse who I am, I didn’t discover much to surprise me here but Alistair recommends the tools I found most useful and I was reassured in my understanding of myself.
Part Two, rhythms for living your vocation looks at how to create practices that keep you moving in four key directions: upward to God, inward to self, withward in community, outward in mission. I appreciated Alistair’s call to not overcommit when taking on new practices. Again, I have spent a lot of time seeking practices that align with this approach so didn’t find much I hadn’t tried but I did enjoy how different people but them together to create a rhythm for their life and the impact it’s made
“James K. A. Smith writes, “The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love (God) takes practice.” Although our vision fuels our intentionality and discipline, our intentional practices shape our vision and heart for God from the bottom up.”From “Rhythms for Life” by Alastair Sterne
Whilst the back cover highlights the key takeaways, it’s the nuanced approach and empathetic writing I enjoyed most. Alistair is easy to relate to and understand. He comprehends the complex issues we face in everyday life and the pressures we endure. He bravely shares his personal difficulties and what does and doesn’t work for him and I so appreciate his honesty.
“Wesley Hill describes it this way: “When I cannot feel God’s love for me in my struggle, to have a friend grab my should and say ‘I love you, and I’m in this with you for the long haul’ is, in some ways, an incarnation of God’s love that I would otherwise have trouble resting in.” Such friendships require sacrifice, grit, long suffering, and grace upon grace.”From “Rhythms for Life” by Alastair Sterne
I thoroughly enjoyed this one and, if you are looking for a vocation guide or to clarify your purpose, this is for you. It is also a great guide on creating a good rhythm for yourself. It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.
From the back cover:
Who are you becoming? And how will you get there? Spiritual transformation is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Each of us has a particular identity, gifts, values, roles, and purpose. Thus we each need distinct spiritual rhythms that are designed to help us live out that vocation and calling. In this practical book Alastair Sterne shows how we can craft a life of more intentionality, becoming Christlike in ways that fit who we are. First we discover who God made us to be, in all our distinctiveness. Then we enter into spiritual practices that flow out of that particular sense of identity, with fourfold rhythms that point us upward to God, inward to self, withward in community, and outward in mission. Our vocation is our identity uniquely lived out before God, bringing our being and doing together. You can live a life that is more aligned with who you are meant to be. Discover spiritual rhythms that move at the pace of grace, and align you with your unique identity and calling in Christ.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from InterVarsity Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.