I turned in my final papers for the summer quarter of seminary this week. Please note, I plan to talk about more than seminary very soon. But for now, this is where I’m at and my writing is going to have to follow me where I’m at in order for me to sustain it. However, even if you’re not interested in my seminary journey, I do think you might be interested in this assignment.
Over the course of the summer, I worked on crafting something called a Rule of Life. The assignment is based on the work of Stephen Macchia who wrote Crafting the Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well Ordered Way. I haven’t actually read the book, as my professor only shared applicable excerpts throughout the course, but I just ordered it. I’m interested in reading it more in context.
Anyway, this assignment was so helpful to me, and though my professor told me that it will likely change as I mature in my understanding of Scripture and grow in my theology, it was a very good Rule of Life that will serve me well if I follow it. He also reminded me that it’s a Rule of Life, but as with all God’s commands, I’m not always going to follow it perfectly, but I will know where to come back when I falter.
What is a Rule of Life?
The purpose of creating a Rule of Life is to define what you want your life to be about. What are the things you do that keep you present to yourself and God and help you to orient your life around that which is good and righteous? Basically, what is it that you want to give your life over to? Also, your Rule of Life will outline who and what is most important to you and how you want to tend to those relationships.
Additionally, a Rule of Life is broken up into the following categories: daily, weekly, monthly and/or seasonally, and yearly. In each category, you outline smart goals that are God-honoring and life-giving that you want to devote yourself to as you pursue righteousness. But there is one catch! It can’t be more than 400 words and it can’t be less than 400 words. It has to be exactly 400 words.
Here’s what I ended the summer quarter with…
My Rule of Life
Though formerly I walked in darkness, now I am called to walk in the Light (Eph 5:8). Therefore, seeking to make the most of my time, I eagerly press into a rule, being careful how I walk so my good works cause others to glorify God in Heaven (Eph 5:15, 16; Mt 5:16).
- Rise early to read, pray, and journal.
- Exercise according to the rhythmic needs of my body.
- Gather at least once a day around the table for food and fellowship with my family.
- Reach out to at least one person outside my home to care for and build relationships.
- Observe a sabbath rest each week where I cease all regular work.
- Worship with our local church community.
- Invite at least one person or family to share a meal in our home.
- Compose at least one piece of writing to be shared publicly.
- Meet with life coach/therapist every other week.
- Set aside 1-2 hours for reflection and planning.
- I will pray and check in with God regarding my heart and life.
- I will set intentions and respond to how the Lord leads during my time of prayer.
- Enjoy one date night out a month with Mark.
- Go on one outdoor adventure as a family.
- Review the family budget with Mark to ensure alignment on financial goals and needs.
- Set aside 2-3 hours for reflection and planning at the start of each new season.
- I will reflect on the previous season, journal, and give thanks for what the Lord has done.
- I will write notes of gratitude to those who have blessed me, as well as to those who need to be reminded that they matter.
- I will revisit my yearly goals and set my intentions for this season, as well as prepare my home for a change in seasons.
- Take a half-day solitary retreat.
- Take a day retreat/overnight retreat, depending on the season of life, to be alone with the Lord to pray and plan for the new year.
- Retreat and rest with the family twice a year: cabin in winter; beach in summer, as able and as the Lord provides.
- Celebrate our wedding anniversary and children’s birthdays to mark the time and give thanks for what the Lord has done.
- Participate yearly in our church-wide fast.
What do you think?
Do you think this is something you’d find helpful?
I highly recommend taking some time to write a Rule of Life of your own. Yours should be different than mine, but you’re welcome to take whatever you want and use it. Our professor showed us his in order to model for us, but in the end, your Rule of Life should reflect what you are about and the ministry God has given you to do.
Just remember the point: Outline for yourself the things you need to do regularly in order to keep you present to yourself and God, as well as the things that will help you to orient your life around that which is good and righteous. And don’t forget, you only have 400 words to do it!