I’m not much into New Year’s resolutions but I do think it is important for us to slow down and take the time to really think about how we are living our lives. As Christ followers we have each been given an important and unique calling. It is our loving obligation to fulfill this calling to the best of our ability.
One of the best tools I’ve found for discerning my true calling and then living it is a rule of life. Now I know we can get our bristles up just thinking about another list of rules to obey but that’s not what I’m talking about. I like the way author Stephen Macchia describes it in the introduction to Crafting a Rule of Life. “A rule of life allows us to clarify our deepest values, our most important relationships, our most authentic hopes and dreams, our most meaningful work, our highest priorities. It allows us to live with intention and purpose in the present moment.”
The word “rule” derives from a Latin word, regula, which implies not so much a system of rules or laws, but rather a way of regulating and regularizing our lives so that we can stay on the path we have set out for ourselves. A rule is like a trellis which offers support and guidance for a plant, helping it to grow in a certain direction. A rule of life is descriptive in that it articulates our intentions and identifies the ways in which we want to live. And when we fall short of these intentions, the rule becomes prescriptive, showing us how we can return to the path that we have set for ourselves and recapture our original vision.
A rule of life is not a rigid, unchanging codex of regulations. Your rule should be a living document that changes as you move through life. I’ll be praying over my rule this last week of the year asking the Lord to show me where it needs updating. I invite you to join me in this exercise by working through this workbook from my friends at The Society of St John the Evangelist.