I’m so excited about the Rule of Life I’m developing I could burst. I’ve discovered over a long period of time that me and habits are a bit like oil and water, but paradoxically, I also need structure and rules for myself if I’m going to do anything worth doing. Prayer, scripture reading and journaling present an even trickier problem: I’ve always approached my times with God in a very heart-based and therefore loosey-goosey way. Reading schedules just cause me to quit when I don’t like the book I happen to be in, and cause me to lose sight of why I’m reading the Bible in the first place.
I also need to confess something. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a quiet time more than a few days in a row. I’m not even sure how to do it anymore. In college, I took a New Testament Scriptures class in which we read Paul’s letters in a very methodical way, from a historical perspective, which was really interesting but had the effect on me of undermining all that I knew about reading the Bible. I haven’t fully recovered. This isn’t to say that a single class at SPU robbed me of my faith entirely: I just got off the horse and never got back on. I know I need to find a way of bridging the gap between my “heart”-based and “head”-based understanding of scripture, and I know this will take time, and I know that I’m ready. I also know that reading God’s Word is very important, but it’s not the only thing I do to encounter God and invite Him into my space.
This article (click on “Creating a Rule of Life”) on developing a rule of life divides the process into several steps, the first being taking an inventory of what you already do to nurture your spiritual life. In reflecting on this for a while, I’ve come up with this list.
I already nurture my spiritual life by:
going to church, specifically worshiping God through song.
being active in Creation.
praying throughout the day and thanking God for his hand in my life.
reading the Bible or a devotional (occasionally).
talking about faith with my husband.
being in community with other believers.
listening to beautiful, or “spiritual”, music.
reading blogs about different aspects of faith.
working hard at my jobs with an attitude of service.
making (and keeping) our house into a beautiful, clean home ready for friends and neighbors to come share life at.
keeping a Sabbath for a few hours on the weekend.
The next step is to take this list and prayerfully shape it into tangible practices, honing in on how to do these practically, often, and in ways that are sustainable (and flexible) for my whole life. I hope to have this done by next week.
What do you do to nurture your spiritual life? What would you like to be doing?