For a long time, I thought a “rule of life” was admirable and definitely something I should aspire to. So I did what pastors do when they want to learn something: I read some books about it!
I found several examples of classic versions of this rhythm with their emphasis (at least, in my perception) on doing the same thing at the same time, day after day. And that usually means following a prescribed set of Bible readings and prayers.
Good and necessary stuff for a Christ-follower who wants to grow in their faith. We should all do something like this.
Websites like the Daily Office and apps like YouVersion and the Presbyterian Church’s Daily Prayer app put things like this right at your fingertips, all planned out for you. Even this book, Good Enough, has everything right there for you in one place. And there are a million other daily devotionals available out there!
But I could never stick with one of those things.
I tried the Daily Office but lost interest after a while. I use the Daily Prayer app when I’m leading a group, but it doesn’t do much for me when I do it by myself. I’ll start a devotional book only to find that what I need to be studying and praying about has changed but part of the rule is finishing the book (so I thought), and I would get frustrated and quit.
And then I got really down on myself because I know this is something I should be doing, but I failed every time I tried, just like Kate and Jessica said sometimes happens (pp 4-5).
So it was as though the heavens opened when I read Kate and Jessica’s definition of “regula” – a regular pattern of activities that becomes more valuable over time because its structures creates a space for good things (p 3).
I mistakenly thought a rule of life meant you needed to do the same thing at the same time every day again and again and again. But that’s not it at all. It’s so much more to it than that! So much more freedom and flexibility.
They say, “ … a regula doesn’t have to be hard; it only has to be regular” (p 5).
Here’s my regula now: since I am at my best in the morning, I wake up and do a head to toe body scan, first asking, “How am I feeling physically?” and then “What do I need spiritually?” (Often those two things are tied closely together.) Based on how I answer those questions, I make a plan. Sometimes it’s the same thing for a couple of days; sometimes it’s different every day for a week of days.
What’s important is that it’s becoming a sacred rhythm for me to ask myself those questions and then make time to spend with God in a way that feels right for me, that I look forward to, and that feels natural for me.
If you don’t have a regula, I hope you will work to develop one in the next 40ish days. Here’s a “good enough” way to create one:
- Figure out your best time of day: Are you an early bird? A night owl? Do you come alive in the afternoon?
- When you’re at your best, read the chapter from Good Enough and try the activities they suggest.
- Then read my blog reflection.
- Finally, leave a comment to show you followed your rule of life! (If nothing else, just post, “I did it!” and we’ll all know what you meant!)
"Blessed are we who ask You to be the guide as we begin to build from here and create a stronger, more flexible rule of life."
Wait, before you go -- I'm curious! Do you already have a regula? Are you mostly able to follow it, or do you sometimes struggle with the discipline of doing it every day?
What other sacred rhythms are most important to you?
What difference does it make in your day when you’re able to follow those sacred rhythms as opposed to the days when you don’t?
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