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January is the season of newness. Here in the midst of the dead of winter we find new beginnings - not just because we are still marking the 12 days of Christmas, but because we flip our calendars to a new year. As we begin to count this 2018th trip around the sun since the birth of our Lord, we feel like this is the year we push deeper into our dreams.
And so we write down some well-intentioned goals, which change our behavior at least for a week or two. But by the end of January, we often find ourselves back in our old habits which can be discouraging.
Of course, we don’t want to coast through life and then look back after a few years and realize we aren’t growing in our spiritual walks either. So what is the answer?
Embracing the spiritual discipline of living by a Rule of Life can help you realize a healthy walk. A Rule of Life is an order to which you hold yourself so that the things you deem important get the proper attention in your life.
Typically a Rule of Life is focused more on creating a well-ordered, intentional way of living rather than setting achievement based goals or subscribing to new resolutions. Drafting a Rule of Life requires listening to God’s invitations for your life and attending to them in an organized way.
There are many resources that can help you craft a Rule of Life, but Stephen Macchia’s book, Crafting a Rule of Life, might be the best starting place. Macchia also has a website at www.ruleoflife.com full of companion resources. Macchia also gives a good introduction to his thoughts on developing a Rule of Life in the Renovare Podcast #56.
In short, a Rule of Life is a way of translating your priorities into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual action steps. Having this plan will help you spend your time according to what you have decided is important, rather than the seemingly urgent tasks that arise from day to day. Stepping back to see the big picture will ensure your life is measured by the joys of being present to God’s full life for you.