Healthy rhythms in your life lead to healthy growth—spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. As a church we consider rhythms to be a habit in practicing being with Jesus. We value intimacy with God over activity for God. Work on purpose, play on purpose, rest on purpose.
In a book written by Justin Whitmel Earley, called The Common Rule, he outlines a set of daily and weekly practices designed to form us in the love of God and neighbor. We find these to be helpful guidelines that you can implement in your life today.
Every step, big or small, is a good one. Start somewhere, and see the way implementing healthy rhythms like these lead to healthy growth for yourself and your family.
Why These Habits Matter
LOVE OF GOD
Another way to look at the habits is as they pertain to love of God. You were made to love and be loved by God. Only in the light of his love will you finally see who you really are, feel how you are supposed to feel, and discover what you should do with your days.
LOVE OF NEIGHBOR
When we think of better habits, we often think about our own self-improvement. Nothing could be further from the purpose of the Common Rule. These habits are meant to be practiced with others for their sake.
Embrace is a reminder that there is much good in the world God made. God's presence––not his absence––is the primary fact of the world. That we need each other––not that we harm each other––is the primary truth of being human.
When we practice resistance, we acknowledge that evil and suffering are very real, though they aren't how the world was made to be. But remember that resistance has a purpose: love. The habits of resistance aren't supposed to shield you from the world but to turn you toward it.
KNEELING PRAYER THREE
TIMES A DAY
The world is made of words. Even small, repeated words have power. Regular, carefully placed prayer is one of the keystone habits of spiritual formation and is the beginning of building the trellis of habit. By framing our day in the words of prayer, we frame the day of love.
ONE MEAL WITH OTHERS
We were made to eat, so the table must be our center of gravity. The habit of making time for one communal meal each day forces us to reorient our schedules and our space around food and each other. The more the table becomes our center of gravity, the more it draws our neighbors into gospel community.
ONE HOUR WITH PHONE OFF
We were made for presence, but so often our phones are the cause of our absence. To be two places at a time is to be no place at all. Turning off our phone for an hour a day is a way to turn our gaze up to each other, whether that be children, coworkers, friends, or neighbors. Our habits of attention are habits of love. To resist absence is to love neighbor.
SCRIPTURE BEFORE SCREENS
Refusing to check the phone until after reading a passage of Scripture is a way of replacing the question "What do I need to do today?" with a better one, "Who am I and who am I becoming?" We have no stable identity outside of Jesus. Daily immersion in the Scriptures resists the emotions that come from emails, the news, and social media. Instead, it forms us daily in our true identity as children of the King, dearly loved.
ONE HOUR OF CONVERSATION WITH A FRIEND
We were made for each other, and we can't become lovers of God and neighbor without intimate relationships where vulnerability is sustained across time. In habitual, face-to-face conversation with each other, we find a gospel practice; we are laid bare to each other and loved anyway.
Stories matter so much that we must handle them with utmost care. Resisting the constant stream of addictive media with an hour limit means we are forced to curate what we watch. Curating stories means that we seek stories that uphold beauty, that teach us to love justice, and that turn us to community.
FAST FROM SOMETHING FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
We constantly seek to fill our emptiness with food and other comforts. We ignore our soul and our neighbor's need by medicating with food and drink. Regular fasting exposes who we really are, reminds us how broken we the world is, and draws our eyes to how Jesus is redeeming all things.
The weekly practice of sabbath teaches us that God sustains the world and that we don't. To make a countercultural embrace of our limitations, we stop our usual work for one day of rest. Sabbath is a gospel practice because it reminds us that the world doesn't hang on what we can accomplish, but rather on what God has accomplished for us.
A Rule of Life
A Rule of Life is different from a set of goals or resolutions. It focuses on deep spiritual transformation through small adjustments in the way we live and think. It’s about playing the long game and building long-term habits that help us know Christ deeply and share him constantly.
Get started on crafting your own Rule of Life: