Rule of Life Book Recommendations

Five resources to check out as you continue your journey with your own Rule of Life.

As we close our Rule of Life series and launch into the Psalms, I wanted to offer a few book recommendations that may be helpful to you. These have been so helpful for me, and I recommend each one of them!

  1. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton

    I first read Sacred Rhythms when we moved to CA a few years ago. In this particular season of life, as I was adjusting to living in a new place and Bryan began his job at a new church, I felt out of sorts spiritually. My usual quiet time habits of journaling and bible reading weren’t cutting it for me; I needed something else to help me to connect with God as I wrestled with the ups and downs of a major life transition, and this book met that need. Barton (founder of the Transforming Center in Chicago) writes beautifully about specific spiritual practices that have benefited her own spiritual journey, and ends with a few thoughts on how to write a rule of life for yourself.

  2. The Common Rule Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley

    If there is any book on this list that I recommend as a great starting place for a Rule of Life, it’s this Sacred Rhythms, and then this one! Earley writes about his own journey with writing a Rule of Life after a near-nervous breakdown and realizing his need for boundaries and restorative habits. He writes honestly about the struggle to do so in a digital distracted world, and shares 8 practices (4 daily and 4 weekly) that have transformed his life and his relationship with God.

  3. Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to a Well-Ordered Way by Stephen Macchia

    This one is a wonderful, step-by-step workbook for writing a Rule of Life. Macchi asks provocative, reflective questions along the way, with twelve sessions that can be done individually or in small group settings.

  4. The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy by Susan Phillips

    Phillips is a fellow spiritual director, and writes with great depth of insight about how to cultivate a flourishing, whole life. It’s not a book specifically written on the topic of a Rule of Life, but she includes a variety of practices that lead us from a life of “ceaseless striving” to one of joy and delight in God.

  5. God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God by Ken Shigematsu

    This book is an honest, witty take on writing a Rule of Life by the pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver. Shigematsu writes about how he stumbled upon this concept, traveling to Ireland to learn more, and what he’s learned in years of writing his own rules in different seasons.

The heart behind a Rule of Life is simple: the way we live our days is the way we live our lives, to quote Annie Dillard. Choose a few practices, experiment with them, and see if they might be something to add to your daily, weekly, or monthly rhythms.

If you’re looking for a simple how-to guide for writing your own Rule of Life, sign up for our newsletter below! We’ll be sending it out next month, and we’d love to share it with you. Until then, happy reading!