During Lent 2012, the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge blessed their viewership with a series about crafting and living with a Rule of Life. Their example spurred me to write my own Rule, and I am so thankful for them. I keep this Rule laminated in my wallet and read it often. I call it “Version 1.0” because I want it to be fluid and adaptable to my changing circumstances. I encourage you to write your own Rule of Life so that you can practice more intentionally your own relationship with God.
Gracious and loving God, I pray that you will strengthen and nourish me through this Rule of Life; grant that it will be a source of clarity and commitment, rather than a source of worry and burden; help me to live a life full of your love and invitation, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
I will nurture my relationship with God through praying, listening, serving, and loving.
I will love my family. I will be loyal, honest, caring, and present to my wife and our children.
I will live my life with an attitude of thanksgiving, always seeking to choose abundance over scarcity, trust over fear, and relationship over isolation.
I will live my life with an attitude of invitation, always seeking to choose engagement over apathy, encouragement over criticism, and listening over selling.
I will listen to my body, soul, and spirit so that I will know when I need rest, refreshment, and renewal before it is too late and burnout is inevitable.
I will not “make time” for prayer; rather, I will structure my life so that prayer is the framework upon which every other activity hangs. I will bring to God in prayer my disappointment, anger, and frustration, as well as my hope and joy. My prayer will involve listening, as well as speaking.
I will read the Bible every day, over and above my preparation for sermons, worship, and writing. I will read slowly and invite God to encounter me through the text. I will not gloss over parts that I think I know by heart.
I will spend time each day in reflection upon my relationship with God and other people, and I will keep a written record of this reflection.
I will give generously back to God out of the first fruits of my labor as a sign of trust, thanks, and joy.
I will share the good news of God in Christ, always seeking to speak the truth in love, hospitality, and generosity.
I do not have to be good at everything. My shortcomings are opportunities to invite others to collaborate with me.
My creativity is a gift from God. When I am writing, composing, imagining, and creating, I am living out my deep connection to the Holy Spirit.
When I fail to live up to this rule, I will repent, seek God’s forgiveness and strength, forgive myself, and recommit to the rule with renewed dedication.