Faith, Flourish

Grace-Full Rhythms: Rule of Life

Self-care is more than green smoothies, long baths, and massages. Those are all good things, but they are not everything. Our self-care rhythms are not what fix us, instead they help us push aside distractions and open our hearts to our Creator.

In my previous post I defined grace-filled self-care as:

Grace·filled self·care //  rhythms we engage in on a regular basis to restore and deepen our relationship with our Heavenly Father so that we can use our gifts fully for the Kingdom. Comprised of spiritual, emotional, physically, intellectual, and relational.

We are whole beings with a mind, body, and spirit. God created and called us to love Him with our whole selves.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

Before we dive deeper into the different aspects of grace-full self-care, I want to share a framework with you that has been incredibly helpful to me over the past several years.

Four years ago I met with my mentor at a local coffee shop to swap stories of God’s blessing, provision, and the struggles of leading an “out of the box life.” I shared with her the tension I was feeling of doing much for, and never yet feeling like I never had enough time to just be with Him. My quiet times were more like “get it done times” than true connection with God, and I deeply missed a true relationship with him.

She graciously listened to me and towards the end casually mentioned “The Rule of Life.” Our time was drawing to a close, so we didn’t get to a deep dive into what it was. But, she said just enough that when I did go home, I did the next logical thing…I googled it.

The concept of “Rule of Life” was new to me, but it is an ancient practice dating back to the third century AD. The first examples of a Rule of Life came desert fathers, a community of monks looking to live a life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

The world rule might conjure up negative images of a black and white chalk board, stern teacher, or parent with a long list of restrictions. However, what is truly meant here is the rule being a guide or trellis on which we allow our lives to flourish and grow .

If I were to just let the tomatoes grow without staking them up or using support, they would grow but not flourish.

There would be disease because of limited light and air flow. There would be overcrowding without pruning.

There would be broken branches because the plant can’t support the weight of the fruit all on it’s own.

So, every Spring I construct an elaborate trellis that supports my little tomato plants, encourages to grow towards the light, and creates space for health.

That is exactly what a rule of life is.  It’s a series of daily, weekly, quarterly rhythms that ultimately bear fruit for His glory.

When we start with the foundation of His love, He will produce much fruit in our lives: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness…

Typically a rule of life is split into body/physical, mind/mental, soul/spiritual, and people/relational.

Each category spend time listening to the Holy Spirit to discern your unique rule of life. The Rule of Life is not meant to be black and white or set in stone, I infact revisit mine twice a year (My birthday and New Years) to ensure that it’s working for my current season and allowing me to truly connect with my Creator.

If you are interested in creating a rule of life, some of my favorite resources are:

  1. Discern and Decide Guide by Emily P. Freeman
  2. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
  3. Creating a visual Rule of life by Stephen A. Macchia at Crafting a Rule of Life
  4. Episode #2 of Work and Play with Nancy Ray “Rule of Life”

Over the next few weeks as we learn more about grace-full self-care, I’ll be using the Rule of Life as our trellis. Our support to guide you towards a life that flourishes. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite rhythms, walk you through crafting your own rule of life, and maybe even have a friend or two chime in.