A Rule & Rhythm of Life

Some call them spiritual disciplines. Others refer to them as daily rhythms. The monks established a “Rule of Life” to live by. Whatever you want to call them, if you are a Christ-follower, there are more than likely some habits that you try to keep up in your life.

For me, these used to be boxes to check to prove to myself that I was doing what I was supposed to.

Now, I view them more like the ingredients in the recipe of my life — a recipe I want to follow if what I’m trying to cook is wholeness.

In pursuit of that wholeness, I’ve discovered some things that are part of my daily rhythms. Call it a modern-day Rule of Life. They fall into four categories, which happen to be the four relationships that I think are prone to buckle and break in one way or another. While once things were “good” and declared so by God, my own rebellion and stubbornness created gaps in each of these areas. I’m not whole, and I desire wholeness.

Me & God

  1. Daily Liturgy — I use an app called¬†Pray As You Go.¬†It’s Catholic-ish and everyone speaks in a British accent.
  2. Daily Bible Reading — It’s the first app I open every day. Sometimes I get something out of it, sometimes I don’t. But I do it every day, because sometimes the ordinary and mundane produces great beauty and truth.
  3. Daily Contemplation — I use a guided e-mail from the Center of Action & Contemplation. Richard Rohr is great. I usually do this somewhere in the second half of my day. The icon above is from one of those e-mails, and if you click on it you can sign up to receive the e-mails, too.
  4. Weekly Gathering — I prioritize gathering with the Church every week. Even when I don’t want to, which (believe it or not) happens.

Me & Me

  1. Recreation — I didn’t use to do anything fun, just because I wanted to. Now I do. This is probably the hardest rhythm for me to keep.
  2. Journaling — I journal 3-4 times a week. I try to make note of what I’m feeling. That’s something that’s super hard for me.
  3. Counseling — I keep every-other-week counseling appointments and have for the last year.
  4. Spiritual Direction — I see a spiritual director every month or two. It’s kinda like counseling for the soul.

Me & Others

  1. Community — I prioritize gathering with Christians in a small group every week. This is blessed community.
  2. Wife — We spend time. We communicate. We go to counseling every 2-3 weeks together. We walk the dog. We prioritize this face time.
  3. Kids — I make monthly dates with each kid for 1-on-1 time. The countdown to graduation has begun. We also do something together Fridays after school with all 3 of us.
  4. Buddies — I prioritize talking to my college buddies, my closest friends, a few times a month. I neglected this for years, to my great detriment. I’ve got other buddies I try and make time for. We all need friends.

Me & Creation

  1. Sacred Spaces — I make a point every month to get to a sacred space. There’s a theological library I like, and a convent, but any space can be sacred. It helps if it’s unusual and out of my routine. It just does something to slow me down and re-focus me off tasks and demands and helps me just be.
  2. Nature — Once a month I try and get into nature — do a hike, be on a farm, or at least take a long drive. Every day I walk outside. The beach is a great spot I’m trying to prioritize more. And kayaks don’t hurt. I’m trying to get into disc golf. Anything to get me outside.

Taking this all as a checklist is a mistake. Perfect execution is not the goal. The goal is whole being, not perfect doing. I’ve learned — or maybe I’m just learning — that these experiences as a Rule of Life, a rhythm, a discipline, help me exist as my truest self. Yours might be different, but don’t wait until you’re 38 to discover them like I did.

What makes you feel whole?

What habits do you practice?