Rule of Life

Talk by Fiona Totty

21st June 2015

Chris has asked me to say a few words about what the ‘Rule of Life’ means to me. I hope I will reassure and inspire you by saying that I don’t claim to have perfected this by any means – in other words, if I can have a go at it, anyone can! With that in mind I will share a few things that work for me, that may set you off to find your own path, bearing in mind that a ‘rule of life’ is not about feeling ‘I ought to do x or stop doing y otherwise I will feel bad’ rather a life-affirming structure to help us be the best we can be, and best in harmony with God.

So, what sorts of things do I do?

 Like so many of us who feel ridiculously busy, I need structures and lists and reviews to avoid being swamped by the urgent list of things I ‘have’ to do, but alongside responding to the ‘must dos’, when I plan out my week, and my months, I try to make sure there is some ‘me time’ including exercise time and scheduled time to contact friends because if time for me and my friends is not in the diary, it tends not to happen.

On the ‘spiritual’ side of things, I have learnt that it is possible to walk alongside God in the middle of the chaos of family life: prayer can happen when I go out for a run or in the shower, for ten minutes sitting on a bench in Morden Hall Park, having a moment blowing bubbles with my children or admiring a passing butterfly. I have also learnt to make the most of monotonous tasks – my hatred of ironing is legendary, but I have found long ironing sessions a useful time to listen to a CD of music and bible meditation.  Outside in the foyer are some brown envelopes – which give some really helpful ideas of how to take a moment with God during everyday life  - the one that really makes me smile is ‘when a traffic light turns red’.

Coming to Church can sometimes feel like one more pressure to fit into an over-stretched week – I know I am not alone in thinking this. To try counter that, I try make Saturdays as quiet as possible. If desperately trying to get the whole family  out of bed and here in the morning is sometimes too much, I ‘treat myself’ to the quiet and calm of the evening service, but this requires careful planning if there is to be any school uniform ready for Monday morning!

Finally, I have learnt the value of a study group - having coordinated Friday Group for a few years now, I love how encouraging it can be to honestly share the things I am not so good at spiritually with sympathetic listeners, and hear from other people what works for them.

When you come to write your ‘rule’ of course it will have a different shape to mine, but I hope I have inspired you to start work on one.