Since moving to South Africa in 2006, our family has lived into a heart-stretching reality for the past fourteen years.
We appreciate the blessing of virtual communication. We are grateful we live in an age where we can email, message, Facetime, Skype, Zoom and VSee one another wherever we are in the world. However, every one of these communication platforms fall short of the practical, helpful, affirming and confirming connection of face-to-face, hand-in-hand, heart-with-heart connection of physical presence.
We have not yet reached Star Date 2265-2269 with its hypothetical technological advances. In 2265, when the fictional Starship Enterprise embarked on its five-year mission to “explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”, it introduced us to the wondrous transporter machine.
A transporter machine was a fictional teleportation device used in the Star Trek universe. These machines had the ability to convert a person (or object) into an energy pattern through a process called dematerialization. The next step in the process would be to ‘beam’ the person or object to a specific target where they would be reconverted into matter and rematerialize. What an amazing concept!
Honestly, with us soon to leave Micah in the United States for a significant period while he attends university, I would appreciate having a transporter machine. 😊 I’d love to beam my kid from Oregon to South Africa – not to seek out new life and new civilizations, but rather to catch up and see how Micah is doing, give him a home-cooked meal or two, and speak life-affirming encouragements to him in person and hug him well.
Even though we’ve reached the year 2020 and it has brought many technological advances, nothing has come close to the Starship Enterprise and its transporter machine – at least not yet.
We’re about nine weeks from returning to South Africa to begin our next term of service. Because of this reality, John and I are very cognizant of the fact that our one-on-one times with our son are not only precious, but critical to providing some practical ways to live life in the United States and attend university while we’re literally located half a planet away. Virtual communication isn’t easy. Honestly, face-to-face communication can be tricky with adult kids as well. Thus, we thought it would be helpful to have some practical ways to engage Micah in conversation – although half a planet away – to see how he was doing in different areas of his life. These areas could serve as conversation starters and reflection points for us.
Thus, before Micah left for school last week, his dad and I sat down with our son to discuss some life rhythms during his freshman year. We noted that Jesus Christ lived a rhythmic way of life on earth. Living in rhythm was fundamental for Jesus’ relationship with his Father, his friendships, his ministry, and his way of life. As Jesus abided in his Father’s love, he was able to abound in life and ministry. His relationship and intimate moments with his Father gave him the strength, the hope, the joy, the wisdom, the power, and the grace to fulfill his purpose on earth and love others well. The ministry, the work, and the friendships of Jesus were an outgrowth of his oneness with his heavenly Father.
Jesus showed the way for us to live this way:
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will be able to abound in every good work.
New International Version, 2 Corinthians 9:8
This way of living is even more powerful and more transformational than the dematerialization and rematerialization abilities of a transporter machine!
By abiding and leaning into the presence and love of Jesus Christ, his power and strength are available to us.
Check it out:
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
The Message, 2 Corinthians 9: 8-11
Who wouldn’t want to live into these amazing, abiding and abounding life rhythms of Jesus?!!!
Thus, as Micah, John and I considered different life rhythms that could serve Micah well. We identified six practical areas that might encourage Micah to grow in relationship with his Lord and Savior and live his life in a rhythmic way on this big, blue planet:
For each area, after we brainstormed different behaviors that reflected each rhythm, Micah came up with short questions and statements for each rhythm that could serve as both discussion prompts, reflection cues, and evaluation points. Here is what Micah developed for himself:
Spiritual Rhythm – I’m connected to the Lord.
Physical Rhythm – I’m active and I’m getting rest.
Emotional Rhythm – I’m heard, and I’m known.
Study Rhythm – I’m learning and I’m growing.
Work Rhythm – I’m enhancing my skill set.
Social-Play Rhythm – I’m exploring and discovering.
The last step is that we created this visual for him to have on hand in his dorm room:
So, here we are. Micah is one week into his university experience. We talked to Micah three different times for different reasons this week. It is a real blessing to be near Micah and in the same time zone as he is launched into this new season. Without our prompting Micah is already applying this rhythm-speak in our conversations. As a result, John and I have been able to reflect with Micah and encourage Micah in what’s happening so early in his university career. A real gift!
We won’t be able to beam Micah up and over to our family to South Africa in the remaining months of this year, but we will have some ways to communicate with him now. We’re hopeful that this Life Rhythms communication tool will affirm our son as he establishes himself, develops even more independence, and grows in maturity in his own relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, we’ll be beaming up prayers for the start of Micah’s university career, like this one:
And God is able to make all grace abound in our son, Micah, so that in all things, at all times, having all that he needs, Micah will be able to abound in every good work.
We’ll see how everything goes. I’m sure we’ll do fine, even without the amazing transporter machine.