Growth Exercises

January: Week 3

A Regula Vitae

In his essay, “We Live by Rhythms“, Chris Webb explains that most of us would benefit from the Christian tradition of intentionally structuring our lives through a Regula Vitae—a “Rule of Life.” Don’t panic, this is not a legalistic set of rules to follow. Rather, it’s an invitation to write down some of your thoughts and responses to the questions you have been thinking about already this month. 

Regula was the Latin word for a length of wood with markings, used for measuring and alignment—similar to our present-day workshop rulers. We hold things against a ruler to see if they are straight and if their proportions and measurements are right. In the same way a Regula Vitae—a “Rule of Life”—is an opportunity for us to mark out some of our intentions in advance and then to regularly hold it up to our life and see how our alignment and proportions are fairing. When we align our habits with our faith, we become people who actually love God and our neighbour– as opposed to just knowing about them.

The importance of planning and reflecting on the patterns and rhythms of our lives has been long established by Christians of all kinds– even St. Anthony of Egypt. Some patterns are weekly (sabbath, church, etc), some patterns are monthly (e.g., giving from our pay-cheque) and some patterns are seasonal, as we go through different seasons of life. For further reading about fruitfully navigating the different seasons of life, I warmly recommend Mark Buchanan’s Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul.

Without committing yourself to anything at this stage, what worthwhile things might you commit yourself to this year? As you journal on this theme, try to describe what such a commitment would look like for you, and how it might benefit your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Some further thoughts on establishing a Regula Vitae for yourself:


Suggestions to Consider

Here are some suggestions to consider including in your Regula Vitae. Please don’t try to include them all– choose some. And add your own, which will probably be much better than someone else’s! These are intended to start you thinking.

Simplicity and Generosity

  • Keep a diary of my discretionary purchases and reflect on them
  • Make a habit of giving things away

Silence and Solitude

  • At least four times a year, plan a half-day alone
  • Speak less. Listen more.


  • Host people for a meal once a month
  • Build intentional friendships with…

Resting Well

Fasting and Lament

  • Fast at least one meal once a month
  • Observe the anniversary of a personal tragedy this year


  • Thank God more often
  • Celebrate people’s milestones

Patience and Submission

  • Walk more. Drive less.
  • Meet with a mentor at least once every two months

Meditation and Prayer

Authentic Worship

  • Commit to a church community and join them for regular worship services
  • Regularly ask myself what “living authentically before God” might look like. See Micah 6:8.

The Discipline of Service

  • Sign up to volunteer regularly
  • Put others before myself in all things

Living the Story

  • Read scripture at least 5 days a week
  • Read two Christian biographies this year

Taken from Appendix One, The Tortoise and The Hare, by Andrew Shamy, Sam Bloore and Roshan Allpress