What do you think of when you hear the word “rule”? For many of us, the word has negative connotations. We are likely to think of rules as boundaries that forbid us from doing something. But a rule of life is something else. Rather than being a set of laws that forbid us to do certain things, a rule of life is a set of guidelines that support or enable us to do the things we want and need to do.
A rule of life allows us to clarify our deepest values, our most important relationships, our most authentic hopes and dreams, our most meaningful work, our highest priorities. It allows us to live with intention and purpose in the present moment.
The word “rule” derives from a Latin word, regula, which implies not so much a system of rules or laws, but rather a way of regulating or regularizing our lives so that we can stay on the path we have set out for ourselves. A rule is like a trellis which offers support and guidance for a plant, helping it to grow in a certain direction. A rule of life is descriptive in that it articulates our intentions and identifies the ways in which we want to live. And when we fall short of these intentions, the rule becomes prescriptive, showing us how we can return to the path that we have set for ourselves and recapture our original vision. It is not something fixed and rigid, but something which can and should be adapted to our present circumstances and shaped to fit our current needs and desires.
In the ancient sense of the term, regula or rule meant “guidepost” or “railing,” something to hang on to in the dark, that leads in a given direction, points out the road or gives us support as we climb. It’s created of the raw material of our lives and it assumes no great wisdom or spiritual depth to understand. Instead, it’s an invitation to life in all its fullness, depending on God and listening attentively to his voice. And it’s fulfilled in the simple routines of everyday life, bursting forth from a well-ordered heart and resulting in the well-ordered way.
Why not try your hand at crafting a rule of life starting today? Go to www.ruleoflife.com for more information and additional resources to guide your journey.