A simple invitation into a life ordered around listening and love
As we live through cycles of change and disruption, our familiar pathways crumble and we find ourselves in fragmented relationships with God, others, and our own souls. We are not the first to experience this disorientation: When Jesus offered the stunning invitation to come to him to learn how to work from a place of rest, he was talking to people weighed down by ill-fitting political, economic, and religious systems. And his life and ministry offer a glimpse of a better way.
For centuries a practice called the Rule of Life—built around rhythms of prayer, work, study, hospitality, and rest—has provided a loving pathway for anyone who desires to live out the whole gospel. More than a historic primer on an ancient practice, an aspirational overview of spiritual life, or a personal inventory focused on habits, The Spacious Path offers companionship through personal narrative, meaningful reflection, and guided prayer for readers to return to as often as needed. Rediscover an ancient Christian practice to reorient your life around the unforced rhythms of Jesus, not by adding another ill-fitting system but by walking freely and lightly on the pathways of listening and love in the way of Jesus.
Foreword Introduction Prologue: Beginning
PART ONE: Saying Yes to the Rule of Life as a Spacious Path 1. Come to Me: Saying Yes to Jesus’ Invitation to Unforced Rhythms of Grace 2. Take My Yoke: Saying Yes to Spacious Obedience 3. Safeguarding Love 4. Contemplation and Community Response to Part One
PART TWO: Centering a Rule of Life on the Spacious Path 5. Walk with Me: Saying Yes to Spacious Stability and Change in the Church 6. Baptized Beloved: Unity in Diversity 7. Centering in the Beloved Response to Part Two
PART THREE: Keeping a Rule of Life on the Spacious Path 8. Work with Me: Saying Yes to Spacious Work 9. Sabbath Work and Rest 10. Ordinary (and Extraordinary) Time 11. Ordinary Days Response to Part Three
PART FOUR: Blessing a Rule of Life on the Spacious Path 12. Keep Company with Me: Saying Yes to Spacious Hospitality 13. Cruciform Love 14. Blessing the End of the Road Response to Part Four
Epilogue: Beginning Again Acknoweldgements Notes About the Author
Tamara Hill Murphy is a spiritual director and a Selah Fellow with Leadership Transformations, Inc. Her writing has appeared in Plough, Think Christian, and The Englewood Review of Books. She has worked in ministry roles for 25 years and is a lay leader within the Anglican Church of North America.
“Listen is the first and most important word for crafting a personal rule of life. In this helpful resource, you are invited into a spacious place to listen to the still, small voice of God beckoning you into a life of love. From a listening posture, you become more agile to respond to the transformational way of life that Jesus invites, which is far better than the hurried, cluttered, and distracted alternative.”
~STEPHEN A. MACCHIA, founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and author of sixteen books, including Crafting a Rule of Life, The Discerning Life, and the bestselling Becomin
“With The Spacious Path, Tamara Hill Murphy introduces us to a life-giving rhythm of living. This way invites us to listen deeply to Jesus and respond to his invitations that offer us the peace and rest we need for living a life of love. Her rich work reveals many specific ways that we can feel God’s embrace; and even better, how we can always begin again. Tamara is a trusty guide.”
~LISA COLÓN DELAY, spiritual formation author of The Wild Land Within and host of the Spark My Muse podcast
“One way to challenge the never-ending demands—all marked urgent!—that shout at us every day is to embrace Tamara Hill Murphy’s wise, grace-soaked counsel to develop a rule for life. The word rule may connote yet another crop of to-dos to add to your hectic schedule, but Murphy offers the opposite in The Spacious Path. She invites readers into a life of freedom shaped by intentional, reflective choices that help filter out the frantic and make space for the things which matter most.”
~MICHELLE VAN LOON, author of Translating Your Past: Finding Meaning in Family Ancestry, Genetic Clues, and Generational Trauma
“Many people feel overwhelmed by life these days, and for good reason. ‘Normal’ appears as a distant dot in the rearview mirror. But what if instead of normal, we sought a graced and spacious life? Tamara Hill Murphy invites us into such a life. In The Spacious Path, we are reminded that God has provided wide-open spaces for us, and that we can live a life ‘earthed in Christ.’ Tamara graciously invites us, and then walks with us, on the path toward engaging a rule of life—one that points to Jesus as our firm foundation.”
~GEM FADLING, cofounder of Unhurried Living, Inc., and author of Hold That Thought: Sorting Through the Voices in Our Heads
“Tamara Murphy’s invitation to rest on the spacious path is a beautifully written invitation to walk with Jesus in an easy rhythm, pace, and practice that drew me ever closer to the heart of God. The more I read, the more my desire for intimacy with Jesus grew. In this spacious place there is room to hold the paradox that embraces structure and spaciousness, commitment and freedom, contemplation and community. This book welcomes it all.”
~MARSHA CROCKETT, author of Sacred Conversation: Exploring the Seven Gifts of Spiritual Direction