STORY NO.1 – Matthew Scott
My name is Matthew Scott and this is my Rule of Life story.
If I am truly honest with myself and with you, most of my life has been spent doing things to please or impress people – my parents, teachers, God, myself, and those around me. I don’t know about you, but for me, my mind often leans towards the dangerous lie that says, “You are loved if you are valuable.” Or to say it another way, I often believe that I will be loved if I am able to produce something wonderful, achieve a goal that has been set before me, or do what others (or even myself) expect of me. And as you might imagine –or may have experienced for yourself– this way of living is not really living at all. It is bondage; it is suffocating; it smells more like death than life.
So for me, when I heard of a Rule of Life, it was the very first time that I ever pondered what it might mean to be a human-being rather than a human-doing. The invitation to a well-ordered way was an invitation into being. My Rule of Life has taught me that I am valuable because I am loved by God. And so, I no longer try to earn that which I cannot lose. I cannot….you cannot…earn God’s love. It can only be received.
Over the past three years, my Rule of Life has evolved and changed. In part, it has changed as the semesters of seminary have placed different demands and expectations upon my life. But more importantly, my Rule has evolved as I have stepped into a deeper awareness of the person God has created me to be. It is a reminder of who I am (this is the ‘being’ part). I am a Child of God, His beloved, forgiven, redeemed, chosen, a co-heir with Christ, etc. And it serves as a guide to help me live fully in my roles as a son, a husband, a brother, a friend, a minister, a singer/songwriter, a carpenter, a photographer, etc. My Rule enables me to assess and steward my identity and my roles. Thus my being, coupled with my roles, informs my doing. And therefore, the reality of who I am is now acting as a guide for what I do. In years past, I tried to do a million things that seemed godly, wise, well-suited, and right in the eyes of many. Yet I had no real rhyme or reason…no rhythm to life. While most of my former years were spent trying to maintain an image of who I longed to be, I am now actually becoming that person! I am focused on being the man that God has uniquely made me. And my Rule helps me steward-well all that the Lord has entrusted to me.
Here are a few things from my Rule of Life:
– Be a man of prayer and the Word
– Be a faithful husband to my wife
– Be humble; be generous; be thankful; be ever-creating
And here are a few ways that these are made manifest:
– Pray often; read the Scriptures; retreat and be silent; Sabbath
– Saturate my life in hymns; pray, read, memorize, sing, and re-write them
– Romance my wife; treasure our home; walk, adventure and explore together
– Build new things from old materials; write new melodies to ancient texts
Most everything around me tells me that I am loved because I am valuable. My Rule of Life reminds me of what the Scriptures teach…that I valuable because I am loved by God. And my Rule also reminds me of the wonderful invitation to become a human-being. The life I now live is more abundant than I ever imagined. May all glory be to God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.