Holy Asides
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August 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

Keeping a Rule of Life

Six months ago I wrote about Crafting a Rule of Life in this space. Crafting a Rule of Life was quite a difficult process for many in the class, including me. However, I am not sure keeping said Rule of Life is any easier. The picture to the right is my adjusted Rule of Life. It’s not terribly different from my first one. But I discovered quite a few things in keeping a Rule—and the first is: your Rule of Life is organic and ever-changing as life itself changes. So today I wanted to share with you a couple of reflections, successes, and failures in keeping this Rule.


My first reflection is that I am thankful that I was able to begin and adjust this Rule in the midst of community. For the past six months a group of us have gathered most Tuesday mornings to share our lives, support and encourage one another, and tweak our Rules of Life. It was during these times that I realized how I was neglecting my monthly retreat time, because it was hidden among so many other monthly items that I do automatically. I removed several items from monthly, not because I would stop doing them, but because they are already ingrained and imbedded into my life: balancing checkbook, adjusting exercise plans, and even tithing. These important aspects were allowing me to check off most of the items on my list, giving me the false sense of accomplishment. Meanwhile, the one facet of my monthly Rule that I really felt God calling me into was omitted.


The second reflection is that it is OK to fail and start over. I can not tell you the number of times this summer that I have had to restart my habit of praying the Daily Office. Too many. I do not write or send notes every week. It’s been a month since my last blog post here. And I had not been attending any of the Diocesan overnights at the Monastery. But this is why keeping a Rule is so important, because it serves as a constant reminder and encourager of those things we long to do. And last week, I was finally able to join my fellow clergy for a retreat at the Monastery. It was wonderful to be in community and prayer with them, and fills a completely different need than a silent personal retreat day.


Which leads me to my final reflection. The items in my Rule are things that I want to do. They feed me, nourish me, and give me passion. This is something that one can quickly forget in the months that follow crafting the Rule. While crafting the Rule, we are constantly reminded that these are things that give you life and passion. These are things that you want to be doing... the things you would be doing, if not for all those other things that you have to do. This is why it was even more important to de-clutter my Rule, so I would not miss the things I love to do, want to do, and am called to do.

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