Theme of the Week: The Emotionally Healthy Man
Bible Verse: So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17 ESV
Scripture Reading: James 4:13-17
While an infinite number of variations exist for a Rule of Life, I like to see a panoramic view of the big picture first. I have placed the elements under four broad categories—Prayer, Rest, Work, and Relationships.
You may prefer to place study, for example, under rest or work. Or you may favor placing care for the physical body under the category of rest. The choice is yours.
Developing an intentional Rule of Life takes trial and error. You will need to learn a great deal about yourself as well as about each foundational area mentioned above. For example, what kinds of spiritual practices bring you closer to God? Which drive you away from him? How can you discern the right combination for your particular Rule of Life?
Developing an intentional Rule of Life takes trial and error.
My personal Rule of Life is a prayer document that constantly changes. It is a “live” work in progress—always. For example, due to my highly intuitive, conscientious temperament, I rarely write down my goals and commitments. For me, it can easily become a “have to” rather than a “want to” out of love for Christ. Give yourself lots of time for the slow development of what works best for you.
As you examine your life, you may notice many areas that need work. The best approach is to start with only one or two elements for the first few months. Then, after you experience some success with those, you will want to add another building block to your Rule.
If possible, find a companion for this journey. It may be a spiritual director, a mentor, a trusted friend, a mature Christian, or a small group. This will serve to keep you on track.
Don’t be hard on yourself. St. Benedict writes at the beginning of his Rule of Life:
Therefore we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service. … Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.1
As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.
Taken from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero, Copyright © 2014. Used by permission of Zondervan.
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