Living Into a Rule of Life
There was a period of time in my life that I would have given a limb to have someone help me develop a rule of life. I would have loved to have a well set regimen of bullet points to follow that would outline a life of spiritual practices. That would seem so simple and so straightforward. That regimented a practice would make spirituality so “easy”. That time in my life was marked by a desire and chasing after an easier way, a shortcut way to a preconceived and superficial way of being in relationship with Christ. The shortcut and superficial way will no longer to do it for me. I’ve come to recognize that I need a rule of life that gives me more than the “five easy steps to Jesus”. I have found myself yearning for a more organic model that has life beyond the bullet points.
As I’ve lived into the extraordinary experience of God’s grace poured out in my life through the
The purpose of a rule of life is to sustain my life in Christ. It is that simple and that complex. It is the intentional work of not losing the momentum in my deepening life with Christ that I’ve learned through the Academy. To use the image in a previous posting, the rule of life I discern for myself is a model of life with Christ and spiritual practice that will sustain my life while working without the net that the Academy experience has been for me. It will be the means of grace that will sustain my life in Christ without the regular infusion of a week at the Academy.
I’ve experienced enough to know that my rule of life is always going to be developing. As my life changes, as my circumstances shift and as my life with Christ grows, my rule will shift. With that being said, this is the best representation of my rule at this stage of life and faith:
First, it is rooted in solitude and silence. I’ve come to recognize and understand that the foundation of my life and ministry is silence. The nature of my life and work has always been frenetic. Learning the discipline of silence helps to calm me and slow me. Silence is the fertile and watered soil that provides nourishment for the deepest roots.
Welling up out of this discipline of solitude and silence and spreading out around the roots of the tree of life are four specific areas of life and practice. These four areas work together as a balance and a partnership. The first two have to do with my life of spiritual practices; one is inwardly focused while the other is more communally focused. On the individual side, I recognize the need to have a spiritual director. In addition to the individual spiritual practices, I know that the way to keep them from becoming impacted is through the insight of a trained spiritual director. The communal side will involve a weekly covenant accountability group made up of men I know who are on a similar path.
The other two areas involve how I live and practice my life and vocation. On the one side of the balance is to live sacramentally. That is, I will live outwardly and consciously as a means of grace for others. The other side of the balance is to live invitationally. I will live in ways that seek to open up the spiritual journey and the path of discipleship to others. I will seek to live and share my journey in ways that might encourage others to embark or deepen their own journey to the heart of God.
I have in my mind a beautiful, 3 dimensional image of this organic model; however I’m such a poor artist that I’m largely incapable of rendering it on paper. So for now, mere words must suffice.