Let your rule grow slowly over time. Listen to God and realize that the unique expression of Christ in you, your family, and your church will be different from the expression of Christ in others. It can be helpful to remember that the kingdom of God is built by the whole church, so all you have to do is try to be a faithful hand or foot. Ask God how you can live your part faithfully. With the help of prayer, ponder the five main areas of your life and you will have a good idea of the area on which you should focus your attention. I found it easy to ignore the area of my life that needs the most attention. Our English word rule is derived from the Latin regula, which means “a straight piece of wood,” “a ruler,” and, by extension, “a pattern, model, or example.” Esther de Waal, a long-time student of monastic spirituality, writes that “regula, a feminine name, carries sweet connotations: a signpost, a railing, something that sustains me in my search for God.” Thus, a rule of life serves as a gentle guide that keeps you formed in God. There is a big difference between objectives and commitments. A goal is something you want to achieve, like running a marathon. A commitment is a pace of life that takes you to a place where you can get there, like running four miles five days a week.
A rule of life contains spiritual, relational, and professional rhythms necessary to sustain the life in Christ to which we are called, and few changes from year to year. For those who are not familiar with the rule or have not created one, January 1 is the perfect time to establish your own rule of life. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I`ve received from Craig Ballantyne (among many others) is to create your personal rules. It`s liberating, some. Most of us do not belong to communities, monastic or not, that give us a rule to follow, but all communities and families share values and expectations, whether clearly articulated or not, and these values and expectations shape us, often without our conscience. By establishing a rule of life, we become aware of the forces and dynamics that shape who we become. Since I created my first rule in 2010, my situation has changed considerably, but my weekly rhythms have been remarkably constant – prayer and morning reading, reflection and planning on Sunday afternoons, two evenings of work a week, Sabbath on Monday, semester retreats, etc. My roles have changed and my responsibilities have increased, but the rule and its practice have grounded me in a set of commitments and habits that have consistently fostered peace, joy, and growth. The first example of a rule of Christian life comes from the Desert Fathers, a monastic community of mystics who lived in Egypt around the third century CE.
The best-known rule is the Rule of St. Benedict, written fifteen hundred years ago and created to help his community of monks translate their faith into the habits and rhythms of their daily life together. Its famous rule has inspired many communities and individuals to develop their own rules with similar intent. In this way, a rule of life differs from the goals, intentions, or resolutions we set for ourselves. These methods are task-based and measurable, and often focus on what we do. A rule of life, on the other hand, helps you become. It consists of several simple statements that guide the attitude of your life and the life of your days. It is not lived fully, but can be lived faithfully, while promoting in you an integrated and incarnate life of faith. Pay attention to this, and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen, and that they do not disappear from your heart every day of your life. The mind: the heart and will that shape the character of my life: Examples of rules of life can help you create our own rules of life.
This article provides examples of rules of life for women and men as well as for people from different backgrounds. This winter, you may want to make resolutions or choose a word for the year. But remember that your life in Christ can be changed even more fundamentally if you create a rule of life and live according to it. In the spirit of Ephesians 3:16, may your inner being be strengthened in Christ! My family has a small cabin in the woods about an hour`s drive away – one of the perks of moving. When I lived in Louisville, I spent a day at nearby Gethsemane Abbey. You can also spend the day at a public library or park, or even at home if it`s not too distracting. Go to a place that gives life! Here are some examples of personal rules that can come in handy when trying to create your own! In the midst of our busy schedules, we are constantly juggling relationships and responsibilities and often feel like we`re dropping more bullets than we keep in the air. If we lack a coherent and thoughtful way of doing life well, we will end up distracted and overwhelmed by life, and our spiritual and emotional growth will plateau. Few of us want to adopt this attitude in life, but it seems to happen. Finally, when I first write a rule of life, I recommend a certain way of doing things. Many of these ideas were originally recommended to me by my friend Pastor Brian Howard and my spiritual leader Rich Plass. Feel free to download the PDFs (below) to create and create your own rule of life.
Use downloadable PDFs as a place to gather all your thoughts and not feel the need to fill every space! May this be an invigorating and rewarding process for you! Your personal life rule is a holistic description of the Spirit-empowered rhythms and relationships that create, redeem, sustain, and transform the life God invites you to humbly perform to the glory of Christ our Lord. The five main categories are: spiritual, relational, physical, material, and missionary. And these five categories shape our entire lives (how we spend our time, manage our resources, honor our bodies as temples, etc.). In each of these five areas of life, I write a key verse, a vision, and four to eight commitments. For example, under Personal Life/Health, I could write: The rule is a way of “starting with the goal in mind”—imagining a lasting and prosperous path with the Lord, in His Word, in prayer, in community, in our family, and in our work, and then working backwards to a set of commitments.