Creating a Rule of Life

A friend gifted me a liturgical day planner called “Sacred Ordinary Days.”

Planner pictured here beside over-priced latte

The word liturgical has previously felt mostly like a mystery to me. I’m not familiar with liturgical worship services or traditions; however, I am appreciating the sweet solace in ordinary quiet rhythms, and feeling a pull toward ancient rituals and solemn, holy routine.  Reading excerpts from The Book of Common Prayer feels safe and solid in a world that feels increasingly unsteady. Reading the lectionary every day feels reverent.  Brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, though divided by geography, or political leanings, or a host of other things, are connected in reading the same passages of Holy Scripture.

An exercise in the planner calls for creating a “Rule of Life“:

A rule of life is a commitment to live your life in a particular way. It is meant to be crafted with prayer and discernment, in partnership with God, as you consider the way God made you and the values He has inscribed upon your heart.

I do a lot of considering of how God has made my children…how God has made my husband…how God has made my friends…..but not a lot of considering of how God has actually crafted ME.  (Because let’s face it, who has the time?  Figuring out teenagers is a full time job. And once you think you have them figured out then NOPE!!! YOU DIDN’T!!! YOU NEED TO START ALL OVER FROM SCRATCH THROW OUT EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW BECAUSE THEY ARE SOMEHOW A WHOLE DIFFERENT PERSON IN THE SPAN OF FOUR MINUTES.)

Taking the time to think through and craft my “Rule of Life” has had lasting benefit. I’ve used it to help me process and think through those times when I just feel….. “off.”  Why am I angry?  Anxious?  Nervous?  Feeling ill at ease?  Generally in those times, I have violated a rule; or, I have allowed an ongoing pattern in my life that is not allowing space for pursuing what I truly care about.  Figuring out which rule I’ve flouted and how to course correct forces me to slow down and live with more purpose.

Here’s my working Rule of Life. I am excited to see how this grows and develops over time, and plan to revisit this practice at the beginning of each year.

RULE OF LIFE:

I will live with deliberate spaces for quiet and reflection.

I will love without judging if the recipient is worthy of it.

I will not seek comfort or validation in acquiring material things.

When I feel frustrated or angry, I will press pause.

I will feel joy and gratitude when I use my God-given gifts*.

I will speak and act on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized.

So….exactly none of those rules come “easy.”  But when I allow them to act as a guide, I feel like I am living out who God created me to be.  I violate my own rules a lot (ummm….daily), so I have ample chances to rejoice in grace, and in living Free in Jesus.  I have found these helpful not as a way to justify myself or put my hope in being good enough, but as a way to live a life that responds to the goodness of God by offering back a thoughtful, intentional life.  I turn 39 years old tomorrow and I want this next turn around the sun to be a good one.

*A friend has repeatedly encouraged me that finding time to write needs to be a part of my life, and part of “feeling joy and gratitude when I use my God-given gifts”.  Thus….this blog post. Thanks Christy for being an encourager not just to me but to so many women.  Here’s hoping I can work the rust out of my typing fingers.  And brain.  Some rust there too.

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One comment

  1. Start–I turned 79 on March 3 and still feel young enough to go to March Madness. I will never feel older than l do now. I had Amy when I was 39 and never felt like an older mother changing diapers at my 40th birhday. I am blessed with a husband who still loves me alot. And raising teenagers does not mean that they will never need you any more.

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