Friday, March 9, 2012

Balance is for the birds...

My heart has been very unsettled lately. I feel like I'm not doing enough for the people whose lives I am supposed to be impacting everyday... my students and their families, the youth at my church, and even my husband and own children. I told Jeff last night that the only way I know how to explain it is that I feel like I'm just giving people an obligational pat on the back instead of a full on embrace. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how I can fix this problem and end up feeling discouraged because its hard to balance it all without focusing too much on one area and ignoring another.

I absolutely know that I am not the only woman that struggles with this. But I am sick and tired of trying to balance the different areas of my life. I go to work and feel guilty that I'm not with my kids and wish I were with them. I go home with my family and feel guilty that I didn't stay a little later to really prepare for the next day for my students. I drop my kids off at a sitters to go to a youth event and feel guilty for leaving them. I bow out of a youth event to stay home with the kids and feel guilty that I wasn't there for the youth. And all throughout this day in day out process I am basically worrying and wishing life away.

We have always been told that we just need to find a good balance.

Well I am pretty convinced at this point in life that balance is not always a good thing. I have a hard time finding it in the first place. The few times that I do find it, I am constantly wondering how "balance" is glorifying to God.

So why not just chunk the whole idea of finding balance and dump all the different "lives" that I have and "roles" that I play into the same mixing bowl?

...I know. It doesn't really make sense to me yet either, but I am determined to try it and see if it makes a difference.

Why balance is a bad thing...
It is stifling. It puts time restraints and limits on how much of my heart I am going to give to something. Balance says that I will only give this amount of love/energy so that I won't feel guilty for not giving the same amount to this other person/thing. Sure that might be beneficial to protect my own feelings. But how in the world is that benefiting the good of others? Balance diminishes full potential and purpose. It leaves little room for God to work and give us strength in what we do when we are the ones trying to manage and control when and how much we are going to do and give.

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:17

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

I can only imagine that a person who fully embraces these 2 verses would have fewer problems integrating their roles into one big God glorifying purpose.

Now...I'm not really quite sure how this integration of roles in my life should look like. I have a few ideas. I envision my son playing with a needy kid in my class while I talk and build a relationship with the kid's mother. I've always wanted to do more with my job as a teacher and wanted to take it outside of school hours, but always thought, "No, I have a family...I can't do that." Well, why the heck not? Why not, bring my family along and have them build relationships with the other members of that family too? Same thing applies with youth ministry. Teenage girls (and boys too even) love being around my kids. And my kids are pro's at killing awkward silence when meeting one-on-one with a youth. Why not bring them along or invite a teenager over. My family should not have to be separated from that. And all the while, my kids would be seeing us building relationships and sharing God's love with others. In return, it would only be more natural for them to do that on their own when they are grown.

The above paragraph is my desire. I don't know if I can make that happen or not, but it sure does sound a lot more freeing and God-driven than finding "balance" in my life. What are your thoughts?