Friday, June 20, 2008


I know it is almost as American as apple pie to talk about balance. A post I wrote a few months ago on the subject received over 30 comments from folks sharing their own struggles. We talk about balance using lots of different phrases: love v. grace, tough parenting v. tender, work/ministry v. family life, in it v. of it...The list goes on and on.

Wednesday night during deep conversation with my Bible Study gals, someone commented on their own search for balance. I loved her perspective on how it is an ongoing process, that you never 'achieve' lasting balance. I couldn't help but think about a recent visit to the circus and being amazed by the tightrope walker. He did not stand still on the high wire. His entire performance was a series of adjustments and movements--many requiring two steps forward, then a step back. A lean to the right was often countered by a move to the left. He never stopped moving and he remained focused straight ahead and concentrating on his position in relation to his goal. He never looked down.

I loved this visual image of what my own life feels like sometimes. I must remained focused with 'my eyes on the prize.' I must remain 'in the vine,' in touch with my Creator and Sustainer, mindful of my position. I must be willing to flex and adjust as necessary.

This thought process fit nicely into another conversation we had that night about our pastor's comments on the misconception that people 'fall into' sin. Jeff's assertion was that rather than 'falling into' sin we make a series of choices that lead us closer and closer to sin. Several of us recalled a series by Andy Stanley called "The Best Question Ever." In this book and sermon series Andy suggests that we must ask ourselves constantly, "Is this the wise thing to do?" Not, is this permissible, but is it wise. Generally when you reach the point of the 'big sin' or mistake you arrived there as a result of several unwise choices along the way.

This isn't rocket science...but, instead, a really simple way of thinking about a lesson that many of us have had to learn to hard way. What a great thing to teach our children at an early age!
Stay in the vine.
Stay in touch with the heart of God.
Take even the 'small' decisions seriously and prayerfully.
Like Solomon, beg God for wisdom, then walk in it.

My prayer for them is my prayer for myself. Help us find balance in You, Lord.


Julie said...

I visit your blog often and this post really jumped out to me and hit me over the head. I've been asking God for a dose of self control/self discipline in order to reach balance. I've been praying "Give me an undivided mind to fear your name." Ps 86:11 Undivided being the key for me.

I will take your comments with me today. Thank you!

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

Our mid-week Bible Study finishes with everyone in the auditorium and a devotional. This week's topic had to do with keeping focus and he related an article in a sports magazine about a young man (pitcher) who was the number 1 draft pick a few years ago in baseball. There was one other athlete who was as good but this man's background impressed them so much they made him #1 instead. Soon after being signed on, this young man injured himself. Being on his own, with the sport's "less that stellar environment", he, without contact with his former good influences, sunk into drug use, pornography, etc. He sank very low before his grandmother basically did her own "intervention" and got him to wake up. But the point of the devo was that we HAVE to maintain focus - whatever we dwell on, whatever we talk about, whatever we think on the most, that truly ends up defining us. Do we have to remind our selves that we are Christians? Then our focus is, well, unfocused!

I agree that the BEST way to maintain the illusive "balance" in life is to constantly maintain FOCUS on God, His son, the Word, obedience. If we constantly dwell on what is forbidden (be it a unhealthy habit like smoking, a person who belongs to another, material items like houses or cars or clothing or jewelry that we cannot afford), even if we don't act on that desire, we are defined by that "lust" and consequently are not content with what we DO have as well as being "wide open" to make wrong choices. And in our focus on that lust, we cannot keep focus on God. We throw out one thing in our obsession with the other. So simple, so scary. Matthew 13 talks about the treasure of the church:

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

So how do I spend my time? Do I succombe to the "gods" of politics, business, material goods, drugs, alcohol, appearance, fame, etc. because I have failed to keep my eyes on the prize? I need to continue to run the race as to WIN!

Sin is the choice of self over God.

Matthew 6, verses 25 to the end of the chapter sum it up well. And I realize that this is easier said than done and is something that must be constantly be cognizant of.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Liza on Maui said...

I can't tell you enough how much of an encouragement this is to me. I am a "working" mom who usually faces anxiety and stress as I try to balance everything is my life. Of course I know in theory that it's supposed to be 1) God 2) husband 3) family etc. but the daily application is a stressful thing unless we continually cling on the Vine.

Blessings to you and your family,

Jeana said...

This is so good. Thank you!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I am a mother of 4 and 5 grandchildren. 3 soon in college and 2 little ones.
Through the years
I thought by this time I would have found balance.
Not so.
It is a never ending process, I guess until the Lord sends us home.
I do know in my lifetime without continual prayer, continually reading God's word there is no victory in anything in life.
How can anyone live without it.
So glad I found your blog from reading Liza's.
Blessings to you this day