A friend recommended this book to Peter last fall when he was finding it difficult to balance prayer and devotion during his busy workday. I picked it up as a COVID read when I was struggling to find a rhythm in a world where time felt meaningless.
Ken Shigematsu is the pastor of Tenth Avenue Alliance, a well-respected church in Vancouver. In this book he explores the classic idea of a Rule of Life. This is something that stretches way back to medieval monasteries but is less discusses outside of the lifestyles of nuns and monks. While this might sound like a type of fundamentalist, hermetical, rule-filled religion that many Christians would want to steer away from, what Shigematsu outlines is actually quite simple. It even fit in with a lot of the ways I already try to live my life.
The word “rule” here doesn’t refer to legalism and lists but instead a rhythm or a schedule. Most of us probably already have this in our lives, whether it’s dictated by our jobs, our school, or simply our hunger pangs. Shigematsu advocates for a more deliberate rhythm. Instead of letting outside forces dictate, choose what is important to you and where you want the focus of your life to be. This includes physical activity, social events, rest, and, as Christians, time with the Lord through prayer and scripture reading.
Shigematsu breaks down some of those methods of prayer and scripture reading but the book’s primary focus is on what to include in your rhythm and how to create a sacredness to your daily habits. There is a section on the benefits of exercise, on money and how to decide how much to give, and even on how sex relates to all this.
Even before reading God In My Everything, I had come to realize that schedule and routine are important for my own happiness and well-being. At some point in adulthood, for many of us, the things we love to do or the things we want to do, often don’t occur without our effort. I love to read so I make time for it. I don’t love working out so I struggle more to fit that into my day. That said, there was still a lot in what Shigematsu outlines that was very helpful. I appreciated both his practicality and his flexibility.