To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Creating Balance: Part I

What areas in your life require balance? Typically, that question is met with answers like, "work/life", "mom/wife/friend/daughter", or other various roles we feel the need to separate from one circumstance to another. It could be things like schoolwork, time management, or our diet. Regardless of what you'd fill the blank in with, we all crave the "secrets" in creating balance. Great news - I can tell you how.

I'm going to introduce a breakdown of scripture to you in this post, and then in another post, I'm going to tie it all together by introducing you to a woman who balances life like a champ by implementing these principles and living these truths. Here we go.

Balance, defined by Mr. Webster, is "a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions." In our lives, that translates to about two seconds of our day. The other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds are spent juggling everything we have, live, do, say, want, need, and like, trying to get them into those equal or correct proportions. Balance in life - by our definitions and on our terms - is not maintainable.

It is, however, possible when we redefine, and realign with the appropriate terms and definition. Balance isn't something we achieve, it's something we acquire. With effort. With careful thought. With purpose. It doesn't just happen when we wake up 15 minutes earlier each day, or designate one night a week to four hours of exercise or eat shredded wheat bran for breakfast. It's a process, not a product.

In Mark 12, beginning in verse 29 Jesus is answering a question on the most important command.
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

So what does that mean, and most especially, what does that have to do with balance?

1. Love the Lord your God. Everything in our lives begins and ends with Him. He is the foundation of everything in life. He's not going anywhere. He has sent His Word (the Bible) to us, and many refer to it as "His love letter". To Love the Lord our God, we are to be in the Word, and speak to Him in prayer. (without ceasing)  When you love someone, you crave time with them. You marvel at the little things they do. You desire to be your best self around them. Love the Lord your God.

2. With all your heart. Your passions. What are your passions? How are you fostering them? Or are you still trying to determine those answers? Maybe, you don't know what your passion is. There was a time I didn't, and I felt like my peers all knew what they wanted to do and fight for and support in life, and I was wandering aimlessly around, dabbling here and there with help for good causes. I felt like a loser. Like I was missing out, or even lazy, because I couldn't determine what my passion or my purpose was. Thankfully, after hopeless searching, my passions (and you can have more than one) found me. God will fuel your passions according to the gifting He has given you. If you're still searching for what lights your fire, consider what Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 -
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (underline mine)

3. With all your soul. Your soul is the very core of who, and what, you are. It is your life's fuel. It is eternal, and the direct link to your eternal home. How are you feeding your soul? Several times in scripture you read about the soul finding or needing rest. Let your soul recharge. Let it fill, so it can then fuel you. Nurture your soul and do not take the responsibility lightly. It works tirelessly to keep you connected to your eternal Father. Nurture it. Be in His word. Spend time with Him. Do what He has gifted you with in bringing joy to your life. Do you like to knit? Read? Paint? 

4. With all your mind. Don't use up precious space in your mind by over-thinking things. When you over-think, you lose sight of the purpose and start to focus on doubts, false perceptions, and feed fears. But how can you really love with your mind? Romans 12:2 talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Seek wisdom. Engage your intellect. Challenge your mind to stretch in knowledge, increase capacity, and grow boundaries in wisdom. Most importantly, to love the Lord your God with all your mind, exercise discernment and sound judgment. Make the right choices.

5. With all your strength. Proverbs 24:5 says "A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength." Wow. Repeatedly in the OT, you read "the Lord is my strength" or "my strength comes from Him." This represents and important cycle. God gives you strength, and you - in turn - love him by utilizing all of it. Keep going. He'll give you more. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 reads "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." Get/Be/Stay healthy. You are of minimal use, and certainly not able to balance anything in life, when you can't care for yourself. Do what you need to do to keep your strength. Move more. Eat less. Eat right. Take your vitamins. Get rest. Get sleep. Gain strength.

6. Love your neighbor as yourself. Plainly stated, this command is two-fold. First, foster and nurture meaningful relationships. Be mindful of the company you keep, and give your relationships your best. Do unto others - be genuine. Be authentic. Second, take care of one another. Serve with your time, talents, and tithes. Clothe the poor. Feed the hungry. Care for the widows and the orphans. (Which, by the way, the Bible partially defines religion as caring for the widows and the orphans. Read James 1:27!) Hebrews 13:2 says by showing hospitality to strangers, some have entertained angels! Love your neighbor as yourself.

Chew on this for a while, and stay tuned. I'll introduce you to a woman you've probably grown up knowing, and may not be very fond of. If you'll let me, though, I'll show you how she applied her life in each of these principles, and was able to essentially "do it all". She balanced life in ways most of us only dream of. Stick around...

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