In The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, Justin Earley describes four weekly and four daily habits he developed for his personal use. As a collective rule, the goal is to take “the small patterns of life and [organize] them towards the big goal of life: to love God and neighbor.” Here are two brief excerpts from the introduction:
…I had no idea how much my ordinary habits were shaping my soul in the most extraordinary ways. I had no idea how much my life was being formed by my habits instead of my hopes. Most of us don’t, of course, because habits are the water we swim in.
You’ll find that once new Common Rule habits are established, by definition they don’t take up time and mental space. They work in the background. They’re designed to free up your time, create meaningful space for relationships, turn your energy toward good work, and focus your presence on the God who made you and loves you. That is not constricting; that is liberating. You were made for it.
From there he goes on to describe the principles behind each purposeful habit and tips to implement each habit so that it fits your life and priorities.
These books are set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.
It is good. It is necessary for a healthy community. Someone needs to do it.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction… (James 1:27)
Some have volunteer opportunities everywhere they turn. Others have limited circles and no known connections. If you want to help others, how do you make it happen?
Know your calling. Why do you want to do anything? What, in a broad sense, are you called to do? Remind yourself of your motivation so that you can serve from the heart and not just off the checklist.
…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Know your availability. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you aren’t free 20 hours a week, don’t sign up to work 3 days a week at the neighborhood thrift store. Before you make any decisions about what you will do to offer a cup of cold water to anyone, know when and how much time you can offer.
Know your gifts. What are you good at? If you love nothing more than serving dinner to the entire block, a soup kitchen is probably a good fit. If you are an extrovert and communicate well, leverage those people skills on a one-to-one basis or as a group leader or teacher. If you prefer limited small talk and being outside, check into a list of houses needing yard work or repairs from a local church or agency. Habitat for Humanity is a lot of fun as a group project and serves great needs. I am by no stretch of the imagination a contractor, but I have enjoyed several years of builds with that program.
Know your possibilities. Start asking. Talk to friends. Let people know you are exploring options. Get ideas. Research local agencies. Call places and ask questions about need. Brainstorm. Pull together a list or pool of what might work. Now you have what you need to make a choice.
Enjoy! Put your heart into it and be blessed.