We all know music will not be pleasing to the ear if a steady beat and rhythm are not established. The composer knows what tempo is right for his/her composition. They desire to draw you into to their music. When the rhythm fits the music and it flows in an ordered way, the music draws a person into it, bringing the listener delight.
There’s another kind of rhythm that brings delight to the soul and to our God. It’s called a Rule of Life. In Latin, rule, is “regula.” It refers to a trellis that supports a grapevine, for instance. The trellis supports and guides the vine so that it produces more fruit. This rhythmic pattern is actually a way of living that helps us further develop our inner life that brings more joy, sustenance, freedom, and peace. A rule of life is not legalistic at all. Developing a rule of life is one of the most positive things you can do.
You often hear people say, “I need to get my life in balance.” Living life in rhythm is greater than balance. It’s virtually impossible to live a “balanced life”, but we can live in rhythm. You may be asking the question, “How do I do this?”
To begin, think about your deepest and best desires and longings. Do your habits, behaviors, and attitudes support those desires and longings? Do your habits, behaviors, and attitudes bring life and help you flourish? It’s important that these practices are life-giving. Too much of life is life-draining.
Second, think about what helps you grow into becoming more of the person you know God designed you to be. What are practices and habits that will develop you into that person? Remember the trellis metaphor, it supports and guides the plant so that it grows, flourishes, and thrives.
Next, keep this rule of life as simple as possible. It needs to be sustainable and life-giving to you. Like the trellis supporting the vine, the rule of life supports and guides you.
A rule of life enhances and is applicable to every area of life: Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, Physical, etc. But for now, let’s first think of your spiritual life. What are some daily and weekly life-giving rhythms you could establish or enhance? Good daily rhythms could include times of silence, reading, maybe a walk or other exercise, ect. Weekly rhythms: church and life group attendance, coffee with a close friend, discipleship or accountability groups.
Please understand: Having a rule of life is not about goal setting, New Year’s resolutions, or achieving something. It’s about knowing who you are in Christ and becoming who He designed you to be. It’s not about achieving but about becoming.
Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days, is of course how we spend our lives.” Our daily pattern of life matters and it shapes us.
Some questions to ponder:
Does my current “rule of life” (my current way of living) draw me closer to God? Are my current daily habits transforming me into one who can genuinely reflect Jesus to others? How would writing a rule of life help me to live life more abundantly? The exhausted life is not the abundant life.
Remember: “A good rule can set us free to be our true and best selves. It is a working document, a kind of spiritual budget, not carved in stone but subject to regular review and revision. It should support us, but never constrict us.” Margaret Guenther
In my next blog, I’ll share more details about my Rule of Life and why it is so important to me. Living this way is one of the best things I’ve ever done!