I have been catching up on my reading piles these past weeks. Library books. Books sent to me to review. A few sitting so long on my stand their dust covers are actually covered in dust.
The seven I worked on this week were disappointing, so I am not even going to name them here. It is hard work to write a book; authors pour their soul into the words. Who am I to criticize them? I do love books, so it was odd to dive into so many in such a short time that left me bored and wondering where else to spend my time more productively. I never connected with them as a reader.
Always an optimist, I gathered them together and asked myself what did these books collectively teach me?
They all reminded me the value and importance of living a life on a solid foundation, nourished by faith. Many of the books listed rules the authors adopted for their lives.
One author wrote two long books, each dedicated to only 12 rules. Another writer dug into her family history, her roots, researching very detailed history of her ancestors, how they lived and what happened in their world. Another one shared more than 200 nuggets of wisdom.
Would it be beneficial for each of us to write out our own foundations to live a faithful life? I’ve read where people summarize their essential beliefs in a poem, prayer, song, or essay. “20 things I have learned in my journey through life” type of creation.
Several years ago, I wrote out a Rule of Life and reread it often. I do try to live by those words.
A Rule for Life is a collection of guidelines for living. It can also be called a Way of Life. Its purpose is to help us keep our sense of balance by intentionally addressing all aspects of life: physical, emotional, socially, spiritually, etc.
Debra K. Farrington in her book, Living Faith Day by Day, encourages us to pick a practice under each of the following areas to plant our roots deeply in our faith.
1. Foundations (putting God at the center of your rule and your life)
2. Prayer (finding a prayer type and rhythm that works for you)
3. Work (approaching your work as part of your spiritual life rather than something divorced from it)
4. Study (establishing a regular practice of learning more about God)
5. Spiritual companionship (committing yourself to regular companionship and community on the journey)
6. Care of your body (taking care of yourself as a spiritual practice)
7. Reaching out (caring for others and the environment as a spiritual practice)
8. Hospitality (finding ways to be a gracious presence in the world)
I wonder if I could boil it down to only 12 or so rules like the one author did. God did give us 10 commandments and Jesus summarized those into one great commandment: to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Simpler the easier to remember but harder to do and to put into practice.
There is a power to putting our faith into words – articulating what we do believe and how we want to live. Often the experience of naming our foundation verbally or in written form, guides us in uncertain times we all face.
Faith lifts us beyond hope. When all else crumbles, if we know where to stand, who we are and whose we are, we then can focus forward. We keep our eyes, not on our problem, but on the Problem-solver.
May your rule for life draw you closer to the Ruler of all Life.
May we always stand on the solid holy ground of God’s foundation.
Have you written a Rule for Life or put your beliefs in writing?
Lisa notes says
I love the idea of boiling things down into 12 or so rules. But actually doing it? It’s something I will likely put off until “later.” 🙂 I appreciate that you gathered the best from the books you read and condensed it here for us. Even poorly-written books have things to teach us.
It is a cool idea that I would like to try someday. Interesting to do.
Nancy Ruegg says
I did write Rules for Life back in 2018 when you wrote a blog post or two that led us through the process. Confession, though: I haven’t looked at it recently. I just pulled it out to look at it again. Some of the goals I have met ( a bit more time devoted to creative pursuits), some I have not (more listening to God and journaling impressions). Were I to write a foundation statement, it might center on my desire to be for the praise of God’s glory. To honor him is a supreme privilege!
I find it helpful to pull out my rule of life a couple of times a year and prayerfully assess if I am following what I wrote since I felt the words were at one time of value and where God was calling me. Yes yes praising God!
Nancy Ruegg says
Amen to your wise words, Jean!
Martha Jane Orlando says
I’ve never thought about writing down rules for life, Jean, but this is definitely a good idea. I think what I do each and every day, reminding myself that God is in control, and I should love Him above all else, helps guide what I do, think and say throughout the day. Yes, there are times when I forget, but He is sure to remind me.
Jean Wise says
I like to think of my rule for life as a trilles or framework for how to live. My ideals. Yes he does reminds us all the time if we listen.
Pat Forsman says
Interesting concept…rules for life ..i suspect these would change for the different seasons of our lives…hopefully the one consistent one would be …dear God increase ny faith and help my unbelief…
yes yes seasons does change things but I found my basic value/ideals don’t change much. Maybe the HOW I live into them. You wrote out one of my basic breath prayers I use all the time!