A Rule of Life is the process of drawing near to God, listening to where he is present and inviting you, noticing where you have been misaligned concerning God’s heart, rediscovering your calling/vision, finding your true identity in Christ, and learning how to say “yes” to Jesus in all areas of your life.
If you still feel unsure about committing to a Rule of Life, that’s okay. This exercise, Reflecting on an Ordinary Day, is a guide for prayer and discernment. Notice what emotions, reactions, stirrings or movements in your body and spirit may arise, and ask God what they might mean for you in this season.
Reflecting on an Ordinary Day: Where do I Spend My Time?
Have you ever climbed a mountain and stopped to catch your breath only to notice a breath-taking view that caused you to forget how tired you were from trekking onward? Consider this exercise like that moment of pause on the longer journey—one that gives you insight into the wider, eye-dazzling view of what is truly in front of you. All you need to do is be present in the moment and observe.
Before you begin the worksheet “Where do I Spend My Time?” I invite you to say this prayer, or a similar prayer of your heart:
Lord, you go behind me, with me, and before me. You are my Lord and Shepherd. You are the orchestrator of my life and of every passing moment. I give you praise for my creation, the creation of those in my life, and for all you have created. As I enter this time of reflection, Holy Spirit, I pray for the grace to notice where you are present throughout my day, to notice my emotions in the course of the day, what gives me joy while drawing me to you and what steals my joy because it draws me further from your will. Most of all, give me the courage to hear your voice and obey. Guide me in this exercise. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assessing a 24-hour Day
Before we begin a Rule of Life, it is equally important to notice how we have already been living each day. This exercise is designed to help you notice where your energy is being spent in an ordinary day. The purpose is to see the wider view and invite God to help you notice where he is leading.
1. Using the columns provided, write the ways you spend your time that energize you or draw you closer to God, the activities/interactions that drain you or draw you away from God, and the ways you intentionally engage with or notice God throughout your day (this column may overlap with column 1, so keep that in mind when totaling). Please include all 24-hours of your day including the time you sleep, brush your teeth, wait in line, drive or use public transportation and so on. List as much as possible and assign each item an estimated time spent.
2. Pause a moment to look honestly and prayerfully at the lists. What do you notice? What emotions stir? Share that with God in prayer.
3. Total up the time in each column. Where are you spending most of your time and does that align with what your heart desires? Share that with God.
4. Fill in the pie chart. Use a different color for each category. The pie chart should be only a 24-hour day. After you’ve filled the circle, how does it strike you?
Daily Reflection Questions:
I encourage you to pray with the Spirit over one or two questions listed below per day. You don’t have to go through all of them; we’ve given you several to choose from. At the end of the week, you may be ready to discern if beginning a deeper journey toward establishing a Rule of Life is right for you in this season.
At the start of your prayer time, ask God to show you what he notices and for the grace to see and hear his invitation to you.
- What do you notice about where you spend the most and least energy in your day? Did anything shock you, or give you peace?
- What emotions stir when you observe what you’ve recorded? Do you sense disappointment, failure, achievement, or perhaps some other emotion; sadness, joy? Share what you notice with God in prayer.
- For the moments you are energized, and the times you are intentional with God, what do you notice about yourself? What do you imagine God notices about you? If you don’t know, ask him.
- What do you notice about where you spend most of your time in a day? What about where you spend the least time?
- Where do you notice imbalance or poor habits? Did any vices emerge from which you felt embarrassed or ashamed? Confess them to Jesus. What grace do you desire to ask God for in these areas?
- Where do you notice virtue in your character being developed? What fruits of the Spirit are reflected in your daily activities/relationships? Spend time in praise for this good work God is accomplishing in you.
- Did you notice burnout or malformation being cultivated by the habits in your daily routine? How can you talk to God about this?
- Did you notice moments of joy? Have you stopped to give thanks and enjoy them with God?
- Are there areas you have taken control of rather than giving to God? Or work you’ve taken up that wasn’t yours to take? What are you doing that you know for certain is God given, just for you?
- Who/what is fueling your day; you, God, some other motivation?
- Spend time in John 15:1-17. What parts of your day align with this Word? Where does your day not align? What do you need to ask Jesus in the name of the Father?
- Might God be inviting you to partner more intimately with him in all of life? Ask God if collaborating with him to form a Rule of Life is the next step for you?
Spend time in prayer with what you are noticing. I encourage you to write down what bubbles to the surface in the space below, so that you can return to it in the weeks to come. It may take days to notice what Jesus is speaking to you, so be patient. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
If you’d like the downloadable worksheets that go with this exercise, you can get them by signing up here. Thursday, we’ll share how the next 10 weeks will unfold and the topics we’ll cover every Tuesday. We’re excited for the ways that God is going to meet you in this series!