Posted by: Mad Lamb | 26/09/2014

Learning to love rules and regulations

I know it sounds strange wanting to love rule and regulations, but it helps if you understand the original meanings of the words. It may also help, if you know that I regularly use my birthday as a day for a life review and a focus on changes I want to make for the longer term.

This is my fiftiest year, so before my BIG birthday hits next September, I wanted my annual intentions to last longer than the month or so they usually do. This time, I recognised I needed to build something into my activities that will help me to remember my personal goals and aims.

Some years back, I was introduced to a Personal Rule through a Grove Books‘ publication called ‘Finding a Personal Rule of Life’. It was then I first discovered that the concept of a Rule reflects the word’s definition as a ‘measure’ or ‘guide’ rather than a definite law that can be broken. The Personal Rule was a tool to create my own daily space. So I gathered some favourite verses, prayers and songs and made lists of things to ponder on, change, or pray for and created a Personal Rule of my own. However, over time, I stopped using this regularly too.


More recently, I have found the Northumbria Community Daily Office very useful as I missed the regular space to remember the blessings of the day and consider what changes I need to make in my life and character to be a blessing to others.

I can access their Daily Office prayers on my smartphone, so it’s been great to find this space in my daily commute in the bus. It gives me regular input, without the compulsion to read everyday, as I did with the Bible notes.

Reading more about the Northumbria Community on their website, I came across information about their Community Rule, which is based on the monastic tradition. Not only did the page remind me about the rule being a measure, it also mentioned a rule being like a signpost or direct or a handrail to support. They also mentioned that rule was a derivative from the latin root regula, and therefore linked to the definition of rhythm, leading to a new explanation of the word regulation.

So, while we think of rules and regulations being equivalent to laws and statues, if we think of rules as guides of life, and regulations as a set of rhythms to apply or remember the guides, it suggests that they are more like a check and balance. As we review our lifestyle and reactions on a regular basis, we can experience a new sense of freedom by not being tied to old habits we’d prefer not to repeat. This new understanding of rules and regulations can make more sense of reading the lists in Leviticus, too.

My current plan is to adjust my existing Personal Rule and add in some ‘rhythm’ to create Rules and Regulations to create regular spaces to review my personal goals and my interactions with others. If I don’t use them every day or as originally planned, then I have not failed but just lost the rhythm for a while.

Although my rule and regulations are based on aspirations linked to my faith, anyone use these tools to have a guide and rhythm in their life by keeping a list of goals in life and making space to read them and review your life, to make a positive difference.

Why not join me in learning to love rules and regulations. You don’t have to wait for a significant birthday nor New Year to set some goals. Why not aim to do it today.



  1. That’s really interesting, about the origin of the words. It certainly puts a different connotation on them, you’re right.

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