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STORIES

This site has purposefully been created as a place to share your personal and group experiences of crafting a Rule of Life (RoL). Whether you have created a personal or communal Rule, want to hear from you! We invite you to share your experience of embracing God’s invitation into the well-ordered way.

STORY NO. 4

My name is Jinsook Kim and this is my Rule of Life Story.

I have been a Christian for more than 20 years and as soon as I became a Christian, the Word of God became the center of my life.  Since God put a hunger in my heart to know Him and know His Word, I have been studying and devouring the Word of God.  Knowing God became my passion, and I have spent 12 years of my life studying and teaching the Bible.  I loved my job and what I was doing. But in the process, I became too busy in the ministry and I lost balance in my personal and public life.  I was asking God to help me to order my inner self; and that’s when God brought to me the example of Daniel’s life.

Daniel set time apart everyday…3 times a day…to pray and worship God.  Though his life was victorious, mine was not. I was so desperate to know how to order my inner life; then God amazingly connected me to the Pierce Center at Gordon-Conwell. There, I learned to form my personal Rule of Life and balance my personal and public life.

I knew I needed to organize my life. But as a spontaneous person, I was overwhelmed! I am not a scheduled person! So, I prayed to God to help me and God gave me the image of a set of hands. The image of the hands has shaped my RoL. On one hand, I wrote my roles, gifts, desires, vision, and mission. And on another hand I wrote my time, trust, treasure, talent, and priorities.  After that, I wrote how to apply the RoL in my daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual life.  When I was finished, I was so happy and overjoyed by God’s help for my Rule!

I would like to share some elements of my Rule:

Spiritual Priorities – a loving relationship with God is the most important thing in my life.

Rest: I have found out that in order to succeed each day, I need to start with a good night’s sleep.  So, I try to get 8 hours each day.

In the Morning: As soon as I get up, I exercise for 15 minutes and then sing, “In Christ Alone.” I then read a prayer and a poem to center myself in God. I do my daily Bible reading until the Morning Prayer and I try to spend one and half-hours for Bible reading and praying for personal, spiritual growth. When I do that, I feel alive and feel like I am flying in the air.  God gives me refreshment and renewal every morning.

At Lunchtime: I am committed to join in prayer for the nations. Right now, God is teaching me how to pray for the nations and to have the heart of a global Christian.

In the Evening: Around 8:30-10:00 pm, I am reading and praying through the Bible for friends and families.  Praying is a very important part of my time because God is speaking and teaching me personally in prayer.

Weekly – I try to take Sabbath while fasting and praying—a day to focus and refocus on God.

 “The saints who have gone before us left a legacy of experience in living with God.  One learning they pass on to us is the value of fasting as a spiritual discipline.”                              – Reuben P. Job

Monthly – try to read Psalms and Proverb once and reflect upon my journal to check my relationship with God and with people.

Seasonally – try to go to a Soul Sabbath and join Leadership meetings to grow in God.

Annually – try to read the Bible once or twice. “The goal of Bible Study is not for us to get through the Scriptures.  The goal is to get the Scriptures through us.” John Ortberg

Since last year, I have been following my rule of life and it has become my habit and happiness.  Wherever I go, I take my 3 pictures of the hands and put them on the wall to remind me to have a loving relationship with God and with people.  Today, I feel, I am full of life and joy because of His amazing presence.

My encouragement for you is that if you believe that God is creative, He will give you wisdom and insight of how to craft your RoL. He is very personal and he created you to be a very unique person…so he will speak to you in a way He can form you.  I pray that God would give you courage and constancy to craft and keep your RoL.  He is able and He will give you far more than you can ask or imagine.

STORY NO. 3

My name is Lisa and this is my Rule of Life story.

In describing my Rule of Life to those who know nothing about the concept, I frequently describe it as a framework upon which I hang all the various elements of my life with God. The RoL has often been likened to a trellis, which is a great metaphor; for me, however, it feels more like a spacious bulletin board upon which I can pin up all of the things I would love to do as I walk with the Spirit in my journey toward God.

Years ago, upon first hearing about RoL, I gathered only enough information about Rule-writing to be able to start production…and I rushed off excitedly to craft my own set of life rules and regulations—a behavioral code. I did not understand that freedom and peace were meant to come as the result of living within the rhythm of a Rule. The inevitable result of my scant knowledge (combined with my overachieving personality) was that I had amassed a list of “ought to” and “will” statements, unknowingly placing weight upon weight on my weary, already-too-busy shoulders. I eventually resented the heaviness of my RoL and put it into a file folder in the back of my drawer, hopefully never to be seen again.

Soon after, I joined LTi’s Spiritual Leadership Community. After a few meetings, Steve Macchia gave us each the charge to begin crafting a RoL.  He instructed us in the art of writing a Rule, reminding us that the emphasis should not be on the word “rule” but on the word “life.” After some internal hemming and hawing, I retrieved my Rule from its papery grave and obeyed the call from Steve—and from the Spirit—to reconsider it.

Arriving at the place where my Rule sits today is the product of a transformative process. In the early days of my Rule-writing, I had created a stiff list of what I thought were the required activities any “good, Christian girl” should be doing. Over a period of time, however, God led me to change my thinking; I realized that God loves me unconditionally and that He merely wants me to love Him, and to move towards Him in whatever form that takes. Trying to earn more of his love by adhering to a set of rigid rules is silly. He just loves me and wants to bless me. In the early version of my Rule, I had been doing things backwards: I had placed the emphasis on the word “rule” and not on the word “life.” So, I have decided to choose life. I have scratched out the words “ought” and “will” and replaced them with the word “can.” I ask God to tell me what to include in my Rule. Sometimes He gives me very specific ideas. Other times, He says, “You choose.” (I imagine Him shrugging his shoulders in a gesture of generosity).

Today, largely as a result of the steady feedback from my friends in the Spiritual Leadership Community and from my spiritual director, my Rule is a useful, inspirational, and freeing tool in my journey with God. Through the process of writing and rewriting, then tweaking and updating, my Rule has become a true expression of who God is calling me to be and what I love to do for and with Him.  The things I include in my Rule demonstrate my true self in Christ.

My life mission is this: I want to see Jesus, and I want others to see Jesus through me. My RoL has ended up being a lovely, delicious menu showcasing the many ways I can choose with which to fulfill my mission. Set aside one day for a weekly Sabbath in order to journal, sit in silence, read contemplatively, and rest? Yes, I can do that!  I can spend quality, daily time with my husband…and I can engage meaningfully with my church congregation…and I can intentionally invest in my friendships. I can write notes of encouragement, make gifts by hand whenever possible, cook lavish meals, and share them with others. I can learn about the liturgical calendar, observe Lent in a creative way, and sample different methods of prayer. The more ideas I pin onto my Rule, the more freedom I feel. The heaviness is gone. Instead, I have lightness, living under the rhythm of my RoL, traveling along with the Spirit, toward God, looking for Jesus all the way.

Hallelujah, Amen.

STORY NO. 2

My name is Megan Hackman and this is my Rule of Life.

The posture I am called to: prayer, praise, on my knees, intercultural, intergenerational, surrender, hunger for Jesus, courage, calling out to God, supporting the Kingdom, remembrance, agony before the Lord, suffering, together, unison, power, desperation, open, modeling (like, example-ing)

This image captures the posture in which I am striving to live:

How to live in this posture:

Know God

Know Myself

Know Others

Daily
  • begin the day with God in Scripture
  • be mindful of what I eat and how much I’m moving
  • daily examen
  • pray for my accountability group, prayer partner and family
  • love my husband
Weekly
  • attend church
  • tithe
  • Sabbath
  • be outside for a significant chunk of time
  •  meet with accountability group
  • talk/run with women
Monthly
  • memorize at least 1 Scripture passage
  •  pursue spiritual direction (post-grad prep)
  • play piano for a while
  •  get together with a group of women
  • connect with someone from home
  • send out a joint newsletter to supporters
  • date night
Yearly
  • Day of Remembrance     Isa. 43
  • give — to Abiding Life, the House, etc.
  •  silent retreat/ time by the ocean
  •  camping weekend with just  my husband
  • serve with another culture for a few days

STORY NO. 1

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 am 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.

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