Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Balance & Margin

I am up to my eyeballs in activity right now. In addition to the normal tasks inherent to wives and moms, I am managing a major home renovation, three fundraisers, three Bible Studies and two big trips... all in the next 60 days. (The irony that I ordered How to be a Mary in a Martha World 5 weeks ago and it sits unopened next to my bed taunting me each night is not lost on me.)

God has been faithful to remind me that this is stuff that I chose. This is not cancer, a natural disaster or some other unexpected tragedy or challenge of life--I signed up for this stuff. As a mature adult, I have but two options...resign from some of it or suck it up and do what needs to be done. God has blessed me in an unexpected way with this perspective--and has been faithful to keep me in this place. I can honestly say that I prayed through all of these things before taking them on--and even though the combined list makes me cringe, there is a profound sense of purpose in knowing if God called me to it, His grace is sufficient. One task, one meeting, one day at a time.

This afternoon my friend Cabell reminded me of something else. Not only is this stuff I 'chose,' it is all activity that excites me and that I 'get to' do. I should be grateful rather than burdened.

Tonight my next door neighbor and I were talking about a book she is reading called Margin. I have not read it, but I can attest that even in this crazy season that seems to be the antithesis of healthy margins I have tried to establish some. I have reinstated my commitment to all volunteer work being done by 2pm. This gives me the final hour of the school day to slow down, be quiet, get a refreshing unsweet tea/diet lemonade combo from Chic-fil-A and feel more emotionally ready to receive my children from school. I can already tell a difference in my attitude and their response after only a couple of weeks.

I have also been penciling an x across at least one day a week--scheduling no coffees, lunches, meetings, etc. Honestly, things seem to invariably sneak in on those days--because life rarely follows our schedules. Yet, just knowing that the day is basically blocked off still provides a touchstone during my week for me to listen, read, organize and just be home.

I am BY NO MEANS excellent at balance...but little by little I feel like God is leading me to a rhythm that works for our family and my personality in this season of life. And I am reminded of what God revealed to be about 'balance' while watching a trapeze artist a few years ago. I once believed balance was a state you achieved once and for all...but watching that performer revealed the real nature of balance. It requires constant focus and adjustment. Sometimes the trapeze artist ran, then walked, forward backward, shifting right then left...but he never stopped was never achieved once and for all. And so it is with balance in this life. We pick a focal point (in the case of the believer, Christ) and with our eyes fixed on that we can take what comes, adjusting as need be all the way.


Marti said...

The analogy between our lives and the trapeze artist is excellent. I will try and remember that picture as I work to achieve some balance in my life.

Todd and Randi said...

Great analogy, and so true! I could stand to read "Margin" as well. With a title like that I assumed Andy Stanley wrote it.

Love the new blog look!

Cooking Up Faith said...

I will pray that you receive a part of yourself changed for each of these tasks you are taking on - that the Holy Spirit stirs in you something that you will gain through each experience. God bless!

Diane Tohline said...

Great post. I can so relate
I just posted an article from Christine Caine that is similar.

La Familia Garcia said...

This got me thinking also when you have balance and margin in your life, you are also allowing space for God to continue working, instead of being SOO FULL/used up--financially or with your time, that there's no room left for God to keep working...
You have such a servants heart, thanks for sharing!!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I do better with one day at home too. Your idea of relaxing and regrouping before you pick up your kids is fabulous. Something that I really need to do on the two days my daughter goes to preschool. Afternoons are crazy on those days. She is tired from school. I am exhausted from running all over the place trying to fit all my "chores" into two days. Henry is usually either tired or hungry. It's stressful! This might be the answer.