A church I recently served had a spiritual director we could see whenever needed. It was a great gift. We could sign up for a time slot and she would welcome us in to a quiet space at our church. She would ask questions, listen and offer direction, often in the form of more questions. One day, she handed me a piece of paper with the title “Rule of Life” at the top. It had a list of things she committed to doing each day. Prayer, serving others, space to be quiet, hospitality in her home, etc.
To be honest, it was equally impressive and terrifying.
I admired her dedication and consistency. But it seemed so far from anything I could actually accomplish on a consistent basis. I felt like it set me up for failure. I stuck the paper on our bulletin board in the kitchen at home, hoping I would be inspired. But after a couple months, I threw it away.
Then one of my seminary professors talked about a rule of life. Again, it seemed like a great idea but not actually possible. So I brushed it off again.
I guess the third time really is a charm because I encountered another person talking about the rule of life last year. This time, I came to understand it in a different way.
In my opinion, we all have a rule of life. It’s the unspoken rules that we live by every day. We’ve set them up for ourselves somewhere along the way. In the Christian faith, a intentional rule of life that we create ourselves is our spiritual game plan…the things we want to prioritize…the ways we want to spend our time. And by writing it down and even sharing it with others gives us a framework and accountability. By writing your rule of life down on little cards around your house, in your wallet, on your computer, in your car, meeting with people to share and encourage…you’re more aware and intentional.
I’m beside myself with excitement to be a part of UAA’s new campus Christian community. We have a leadership team of students and we’ve created a rule of life together. We meet twice a month for an hour each time to share how we’re doing at following this framework. Then we discuss events, planning, logistics, etc. But our favorite time is the encouragement, sharing and prayer that comes from actually wanting to follow Jesus more deeply in our lives.
You can see our rule of life here. We’ve adapted it from the United Methodist Church’s membership vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
Remember…we all have a rule of life. If you want to be more intentional about yours, write it down, share it with others and ask God for grace and insight as you become a more faithful disciple.