I have read many books on spiritual disciplines. I have listened to many sermons on spiritual growth. I have studied the Bible for years. I consider myself to be highly organized and have a fairly consistent schedule. But something has been missing to tie everything together in my life.
In the book God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God, author Ken Shigematsu gives practical advice on how to craft a “rule of life.” This concept of a rule of life has been discussed by Christians for centuries. The core idea is about establishing a set of practices that become the rhythms of your life.
I have loved the idea of creating one for a few years now, but never actually sat down to write it out. Ken’s book was very helpful in giving me practical steps on how to choose my own rhythms to follow. Here are a few things I learned from his book:
- A rule of life can include practices in any area of your life. It is not for your spiritual walk alone. You can and should set up rhythms for your hobbies, relationships, health, work, home, finances, etc.
- A rule of life should be “a rule that bends.” This was so helpful to me because I have a tendency to take a long guilt trip when I miss one day or get one answer wrong. A rule of life is not about getting a perfect score. Like the Sabbath, your rule is made for you, but you were not made to be burdened by it.
- A rule of life is for everyone and anyone, no matter what season you find yourself in. One of my favorite parts of the book is actually an appendix because it lays out specific examples from people in various stages of life. Each of their rules looked different and were suited to their individual schedules and circumstances.
One month ago, I finally decided to put my rule of life down on paper. I mentioned this to Ken on Twitter and he graciously responded with wise advice on how to get started: “I would encourage you to start slowly, simply and gently and ask what draws you most to God and make you come most alive!”
I took Ken’s advice and this month has been so beneficial to me. My walk with God has been rekindled. When I go to bed, I feel good about myself and no longer feel so undisciplined. My body feels better and my mind stronger. All because of this simple routine that keeps me grounded in the chaos of life.
Without further ado, here’s my personal rule of life:
- Prayer/Scripture/Time with the Lord: Daily
- Relaxation Practice: Daily
- Practice Guitar: Three Times a Week
- Exercise: Three Times a Week
- Read a Book: Once a Week
- Sabbath Rest: Once a Week
- Social Media Fast: Once a Week
- Take My Wife on a Special Date: Once a Month
- Have a Deep Conversation with a Friend: Once a Month
- Write a Blog: Once a Month- Check this box for April!
- Review Our Budget: Once a Month
As you can see, this is not a daunting list by any means. Only two of the rhythms are practiced daily. Five are practiced multiple times a week and four are done once a month.
Perhaps you are skeptical and don’t think you have any more room in your schedule to fit something like this. But let me encourage you with more fact:
You already have some kind of rule of life; you just need to refine it.
If you think about it, there are certain habits that you do every day, week, month, quarter, or year. To get started, all you have to do is define those practices first. Then, look at which ones need to be removed, reduced or reimagined. Finally, think about the practices that have made you come alive in the past, practices that you have a strong desire to try, or something God moves you to do.
But probably the best way to start is to buy Ken Shigematu’s book, God in My Everything. You can find it on Amazon here.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Do you have a rule of life or something similar?