This week I started a self-study on "Living a Life of Balance" by the Women of Faith team. I invited any of you who wanted to come along on this journey with me, to come along. I think there are only a couple of you who could commit to it, so Welcome if you are one of those women!
Even if you're not doing the study, you can still listen in and ponder some questions.
Since I am doing two lessons a week, there are two topics of discussion.
Topic 1 ~ The Juggling Act
"Could simplification help put your life into better balance?" ... What are your physical needs and spiritual needs? List them out. "What happens when either one is given the greater balance of your time and attention? .. We weren't meant to live balanced lives just for our own peace of mind, but so that we can be fruitful. What do you suppose that might mean in your own life?"
My physical needs - healthy diet, vitamins, exercise, sleep/rest, physical relationships
My spiritual needs - God's unconditional love and protection, Jesus' friendship, the Holy Spirit's guidance
Having too much emphasis on either one of these seems to squeeze out the other. If I am constantly concentrating on my physical needs, I don't seem to have time for my spiritual needs, and visa versa.
But, it's not all about me. The goal is to produce fruit from my efforts in meeting my physical and spiritual needs. What does that mean? I don't know that I have an answer to this. I've always felt like my main mission field is those who live in my home. If the fruit of my labors are not being evidenced in my family, my children and husband, then I should be careful about going outside my home. Maybe I'm wrong.
I have stopped to consider whether I am doing a good enough job at home. I'm not talking perfection. I'm talking about seeing the fruit of my physical and spiritual life being manifested in how my family lives it's life. I know I have more work to do here. I want the relationships I have with my husband and children to be stronger. I want them to feel such security in their relationships with God and with me that it is displayed in how they treat other people. I'm not sure that makes sense to you, but it makes sense to me.
What I am saying to myself is this: Only take care of your physical needs and spiritual needs, Nicole, so as to build stronger relationships with the Lord and your family, for now. The fruit of your labor in this area will carry out into your world. In this season of your life, doing much more than that defeats the purpose for which God has created you.
I am not saying I am not going to love people outside my home or give to them when they are in need. I am just saying that, for me, it has to start at home. And, I have areas there I would like to work on. Even more than that, I have to start with my relationship with the Lord, in spending time with Him by abiding in Him. And, again, I have areas there I would like to work on. Working on much else WILL throw me off balance right now in my life.
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4.
Topic 2 ~ Balancing Time and Responsibilities
"With every new acquisition we make comes the responsibility to keeping it up ... with each comes a commitment of time and a shuffling of our other responsibilities .. A balance must be struck between what time we have and what responsibilities fill the hours .. If your life seems out of balance now, something more than an external change is needed to get it back in line .. Instead of digging deeper into scripture, dig around for a while in your heart .. Pray for the courage to take on responsibilities that will require much of you .. and .. to say no to the things that tax your time and energy to no good purpose."
There it is for me .. taking on things that take away from my goals I set forth in Topic 1 ~ The Juggling Act.
I like to be involved!! In fact, I like to run the show in everything I do. I hear of a new opportunity and I always want to jump in and run it! I want to be in charge of the women's ministry at church. I want to be overly involved in the PTO at school. I want to make meals for every person who has a baby or a surgery or a hard day. Yep, I want to do all of those things. But if I do, then my goal of building relationships with my family suffers! Sure, my children see me as being a giving and hard working person. But, if I then don't have time to spend with them, to listen to them when they want to talk, then I have really accomplished nothing. The goal is to do those things in balance. But to have that kind of balance I have to say NO to many things I'd like to do .. at least in this season!
So the question I ask myself is ... What things do I need to take care of today? What/Who needs me the most? And things/people who fall outside of that circle can't get much of a part of me, if any.
And here is a big one for me .. the big conviction for the day ... How do I fritter away my day? Most likely, in today's society, and in my daily life I have
"spent [my] time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas." Acts 17:21.
For me that's the countless minutes, hours, that I spend on the internet blogging, checking my e-mails, reading magazines, watching television. Ouch! In balance these things are okay, but when I look back on my day and really consider the amount of time I spent doing them .. oh my! In fact, just a few minutes ago in typing this oh so important post, I actually said these words to Brynne who had just said, "Mommy .." My response was, "What, Brynne .. You are going to have to leave me alone so I can do this."
I have lots of work to do.
So, this is how this will work. If you would like to comment on what I have said, please feel free to do so. Or if you would like to comment your own responses to those topics, please feel free to do so. Or, If you would like to blog your responses to the topics, do that too and comment me with your blog post. I'd do one of those Linky things, but if I'm really the only one doing this then I will be embarrassed to have no links :) !! Or, if you'd just like to do this by e-mail, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll get back with you and we'll chat. Or if you'd like to skip this post completely because you just don't care, then that's fine too.