Several decades ago, when I was a teen, one of the cool sayings was “groovy.” If I remember right, it originated with the surfing community. But even we landlubbers used it. “Look at that cute guy over there—he’s so groovy.” (Nowadays the term would be applied to me, but only when talking about the deeply etched lines on my face!) Groovy connoted fun and youth, a carefree time of life.
I’ve recently reconnected with feelin’ groovy. I attended a recent writers conference and the key-note speaker, Robin Jones Gunn, talked of the necessity of a schedule. Since I don’t work outside the home, it’s easy for me to think I have all the time in the world. Yes, I have a writing project I need to work on, but first Iread the newspaper. Answer e-mails. Check Facebook. Get a cup of coffee. Look through a magazine. Wander over to Facebook again. Before I realize it, I’ve frittered the day away and have little to show for it. I needed to find my groove.
I contrasted two words in the dictionary—groove and rut. I tend to think of them as being very similar, and it’s true. Some of their definitions could be interchangeable. But in reading through the possible meanings of both words, I believe groove carries a more positive connotation.
Groove is defined by Webster as “a situation suited to one’s abilities or interests; top form.” (I find it interesting that groove is squeezed between groomsman and grope!) Rut, on the other hand, is “a monotonous routine.”
We talk about cars driven on a rutted road, trapped and unable to go anywhere but in the predetermined tracks. We get in a rut when it comes to cooking, making only the simple meals we always turn to, afraid of trying new recipes. Our relationships can get in a rut when we only hang out with the same people all the time, or do the same ol’ activities with our families. Let’s try something new. Jump out of the rut and into a groove!
How much better to live in a situation designed for our unique abilities and interests, where we can work in top form. Where there is a purpose to what we do, rather than just existence and going through the motions, frustrated with the emptiness of life.
Jesus (if He spoke in the words of The Message) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
He’s telling us to get out of the rut and into the groove—the unforced rhythms of grace. So next time you see me, feel free to ask if I’m bogged down in a rut or feelin’ groovy. (And while you’re at it, get me some of that expensive wrinkle cream!)