And again, and with our monthly support group this Wednesday followed directly by the National Wave of Light candle lighting ceremony on Thursday, a message I will have to read daily to stay sane.
Last Friday night I wrote of my religion as a prelude to this post. One most certainly begets the other, so if you missed it -- it might be worth a click over.
I read from the book of Matthew, Chapter 6: Verse 25 - 34, Entitled: Do Not Worry
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed liek one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
And then, I began.
LAST JUNE I STOOD HERE AND SPOKE OF PURPOSE, OF FINDING YOUR ROAD AND WALKING IT WITHOUT FEAR OF ROADBLOCKS OR DETOURS.
IN JUNE I STOOD BEFORE YOU ASKING, WHERE IS YOUR GOD?
WITHIN YOU OR OUTSIDE OF YOU?
CAUSING YOU TO FEEL LED OR WAITING FOR YOU TO ANSWER?
TODAY, A MERE THREE MONTHS LATER, I STAND BEFORE YOU AGAIN TO SPEAK OF BALANCE.
THE WORD ITSELF IS ILLUSIVE. THE CONCEPT CONSIDERED BUNK BY MANY, BUT STILL – WE SEARCH FOR IT, TRY TO CREATE IT IN OUR LIVES.
BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND HOME
BALANCE THE ATTENTION WE GIVE OUR CHILDREN
BALANCE THE MONEY THAT COMES IN WITH THE MONEY THAT GOES OUT
BALANCE OUR MORALS AND VALUES WITH THE DEMANDS OF THIS INCREASINGLY CORRUPT WORLD
ALL THESE STRUGGLES ARE VALID, STRESSORS THAT EXIST IN OUR DAILY LIVES, AND YET – TODAY, I ASK THE BIGGER QUESTION:
WHERE IS YOUR BALANCE? THE BALANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE WORLD?
WE ENTER THE WORLD COMPLETELY DEPENDANT, AND – IF AGE IS WHAT RETURNS US TO OUR MAKER – WE LEAVE IT THE SAME WAY.
AS INFANTS WE HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS. WE EXIST BECAUSE THEY DO, FEEDING US, BATHING US, LOVING US, TEACHING US.
OUR EXISTANCE FOR THE EARLY FORMATIVE YEARS OF OUR LIFES IS ENTIRELY SELF-SERVING.
AFTER THE BIRTH OF A FIRST CHILD, THE PARENTS CAN BE HEARD TO JOKINGLY LAMENT, “IT’S NOT ABOUT US ANYMORE. EVERYONE WHO COMES, CALLS, OR VISITS IS HERE ABOUT THE BABY!”
A FEW YEARS LATER, WE OFTEN ROLE OUR EYES AT OUR 3 YEAR OLD SAYING, “ALL THEY THINK ABOUT IS THEMSELVES –THEY LIVE IN A ME – ME – ME KIND OF WORLD!”
AND THEY DO. AND THEY SHOULD.
BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE, AS PRE-TEENS PERHAPS, OR YOUNG ADULTS – THE LINES GET BLURRED.
WE SHIFT FROM A WORLD REVOLVING EXCLUSIVELY AROUND ‘US’ TO A WORLD WHERE THE REQUIREMENT IS TO SERVE ‘THEM’
DO NOT THINK OF SELF – BUT THINK OF OTHERS
DO NOT ACT IN YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST, BUT FOR THE NEEDS OF OTHERS AROUND YOU
2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV / 3 helpful votes
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."
INDEED, THIS IS A NOBLE DIRECTION. AND, THERE ARE SOME BORN INTO THIS WORLD AS GIVERS.
I THINK OF A YOUNG GIRL IN OUR PRESCHOOL. SMALL AND QUIET, SWEET TO A FAULT, AND ALWAYS FOUND DIRECTLY NEXT TO, OR HELPING, OR DOING SOME THING FOR THE EQUALLY SWEET CHILD WITH DOWNS SYNDROME. I LOOK AT HER AND THINK, ‘SHE IS GOING INTO A HELPING FIELD SOMEDAY!”
FOR OTHERS, THE TRANSITION IS LESS THAN SMOOTH. GIVING IS A LEARNED SKILL, THINKING OF OTHERS FIRST – OFFERING THE LAST ROLL TO THE THREE PEOPLE AT THE TABLE BEFORE TAKING IT FOR YOURSELF DOES NOT COME NATURALLY, BUT HAS TO BE MODELED, PRACTICED, AND THEN - PERHAPS - HABITUAL.
STILL, THE EVOLUTION OF SELF-CENTERED LIVING TO SELFLESS LIVING IS ONE THAT ALL FAMILIES SEEM TO TEACH, REGARDLESS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
I AM VERY MUCH LIKE THAT YOUNG ‘HELPER’ GIRL. IN FACT, I WOULD VENTURE A VERY ACCURATE GUESS THAT I WAS THAT GIRL IN PRESCHOOL, AS A YOUNG CHILD, AS A PRE-TEEN, AND I KNOW I AM AS A YOUNG ADULT.
AT TIMES, MY ‘DO FOR OTHERS WITHOUT THINKING OF THE COST TO SELF’ ACTIONS GOT ME IN TROUBLE.
SOMETIMES I WOULD GET SICK, MY BODY’S WAY OF TELLING ME I HAD EXERTED TOO MUCH, AND IF I WASN’T GOING TO TAKE TIME FOR SELF, THEN IT WOULD FORCE ME TO.
SOMETIMES, I WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR OTHER’S MISTAKES. LIKE THE TIME I VOUCHED FOR A VIRTUAL STRANGER AS HE PURCHASED A CELL PHONE AND FOUND THAT YEARS LATER IT NEARLY AFFECTED OUR ABILITY TO PURCHASE OUR FIRST HOME.
BUT MOSTLY, I FOUND MOTIVATION AND PRIDE AND REWARD IN PUTTING OTHERS FIRST.
THEY SAY THAT OPPOSITES ATTRACT, AND THAT OVERUSED STEROTYPE IS HAUNTINGLY TRUE IN MY MARRIAGE. HOWEVER, IN ONE VERY FUNDAMENTAL WAY WE ARE IDENTICAL.
I MARRIED A GIVER. LAST YEAR HE GAVE ME A GIFT.
‘TAKE THE YEAR’ HE SAID WHEN THE CONTRACT I THOUGHT A SURE THING FELL THROUGH, ‘I’LL WORK OVERTIME TO COVER THE FINANCES. YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.”
FOR ONE SATURDAY MORNING I HAD TEARFULLY CONFESSED HOW I HAD A WILD IDEA…A DESIRE – NO AN ABSOLUTE NEED – TO WRITE A BOOK. HOW THE TIME SEEMED TO BE AT HAND TO FOCUS ON EMMA, HER MEMORY AND WHAT HER LEGACY HERE, IN THIS WORLD, WOULD BECOME.
HE GRANTED MY WISH.
HE REMOVED MY STRESSORS, TAKING THEM ONTO HIS OWN SHOULDERS.
HE ALLOWED ALL MY FANATICAL IDEAS TO SPIN AROUND OUR HOUSE, NODDING AND SMILING AS YET ANOTHER ‘BIG NOTION’ HIT ME – PROPELLING MY ALREADY RACING PACE.
HE WORRIED FOR ME, AS I TOOK ON YET ANOTHER PROJECT, OR WRITING ASSIGNMENT, OR STARTED ANOTHER BLOG.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WAS VERY ONE SIDED. THE WEIGHTS THROWN VASTLY OFF BALANCE. HE GAVE – I SEARCHED.
AND I, VERY MUCH LIKE THAT THREE YEAR OLD, FOCUSED ON MYSELF: MY IDEAS, MY NON-PROFIT, MY DESIRES, MY NEED TO BE EMMA’S MOTHER IF ONLY BY GIVING TO OTHERS.
HOWEVER, FOR ALL MY EGOCENTRIC WAYS, GOD FOUND ME IN A STRONGER, MORE CONNECTED WAY THAN EVER BEFORE.
I MEDITATED DAILY. HEARING MY WAY, AFFIRMING MY PATH. KNOWING EACH NEW STEP WAS RIGHT EVER IF I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHERE I WAS HEADED.
I SAW HIM THROUGH DAILY DOINGS, ACKNOWLEDGING HIS PRESENACE WITH A NOD AND A GRATEFUL SMILE.
I FELT HIM WORK WITHIN ME AS I HAD A GENUINE DESIRE TO EXERCISE MORE AND EAT HEALTHER FOODS, WITH THE PLEASANT RESULT THAT I FELT COMFORTABLE WITHIN MY BODY AGAIN.
I WALKED TALLER.
I FELT COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN SKIN.
I LIVED MY LIFE – TRULY ENJOYING EVERY MINUTE, EVEN THE ONES THAT COULD BE PERCIEVED AS UNFORTUNATE OR BAD, KNOWING THAT IF I LOOKED HARD ENOUGH, OR WAITED A FEW EXTRA MINUTES THE GOODNESS WITHIN THE NEGATIVITY WOULD PRESENT ITSELF.
TIME WAS FLUID, AND EASY, AS IF THERE WOULD ALWAYS BE MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING I WANTED.
IT WAS A MAGICAL YEAR.
TOGETHER – WE WERE POWERFUL – GOD AND I.
THE RESULTS WERE OBVIOUS. FRIEND WERE CONSTANTLY COMMENTING ON HOW 'CALM' I SEEMED. MY KIDS SETTLED, OUR DAILY LIFE FLOWING WITH AN EASE IT NEVER HAD BEFORE, AND FIRST TIME EVENTS - LIKE OUR MEMORY WALK DREW OVER 80 PEOPLE.
LIFE WAS GOOD. LIFE WAS EASY. ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE.
THAT YEAR IS OVER, AND WITH IT - THE MAGIC HAS FLOWN.
I HAVE REENTERED THE WORLD.
I AM BACK TO WORK.
THE WORLDY STRESSORS HAVE RETURNED.
I SEEM NOT TO FIND TIME FOR DAILY PRAYER AND MEDITATION ANY MORE, MY MIND CLUTTERED WITH TOO MANY RESPONSIBILITES, TOO MANY ‘NEED TO DO’S’.
– AND ALTHOUGH I WOULD NOT CALL OUR RELATIONSHIP BALANCED EXACTLY – I KNOW THAT I HAVE TAKEN SOME OF THE WEIGHT OFF MY HUSBAND’S SHOULDERS.
ALL THIS WAS NECESSARY, BUT AT A COST.
I HAVE LOST THAT SENSE OF SELF. I HAVE SWUNG BACK TO THE FAR RIGHT, AND AS MUCH AS I KNOW THAT GOD IS STILL BESIDE ME, CHEERING ME ON, I NO LONGER FEEL HIM WORKING WITHIN ME, EVERY DAY, EVERY MINUTE.
LAST YEAR - I LIVED AS MATTHEW DIRECTED: NOT WORRYING ABOUT THE LOGISTICS OF MY LIFE, WHERE THE FOOD WAS COMING FROM, THE CLOTHES, THE TIME, THE NEED…JEREMIAH TOOK THAT ON.
6:34 – "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
MY CHALLENGE NOW, IS TO REMEMBER THAT. TO LIVE MATTHEW’S WORDS IN SPITE OF:
THE DINNER THAT ISN’T QUITE ON THE TABLE,
THE CLOTHES THAT HAVE YET TO MAKE IT TO THE DRYER,
THE PRESS RELEASES THAT JUST MISSED THE DEADLINE FOR NEXT WEEK’S PAPER,
THE LACK OF ATTENDACE AT AN EVENT BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME TO DEVOTE TO MEDIA COVERGE,
THE TIME I KNOW I SHOULD SET ASIDE FOR MEDITATION AND PRAYER,
THE TIME I KNOW I NEED TO DEVOTE TO MY HUSBAND FOR ALL HIS SUPPORT, HIS LOVE, AND HIS WILLINGESS TO TAKE ON MORE THAN HIS SHARE.
AND SO, I'LL SAY THIS OUT LOUD:
I ACCEPT THIS CHALLENGE, KNOWING FULL WELL I WILL HAVE TO RETURN TO THIS SCRIPTURE OFTEN, DAILY PERHAPS – FOR I WILL FAIL.
TODAY – I CHALLENGE YOU TO THE SAME.
REMEMBER YOURSELF AT THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE, WITH THE SAME VIGOR YOU CULTIVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GOD.
AND THEN, REACH OUT, GIVE, SERVE, PROVIDE, FOR YOU WILL HAVE GREAT THINGS TO GIVE.
FOR ACTIONS BASED ON REQUIREMENT ARE HOLLOW, LEADING TO REGRETTABLE RESULTS.
BUT, JUST AS WATER BECAME WINE AND A MODDUCUM OF FISH AND BREAD BECAME ENOUGH FOR THE MASSES -
ACTIONS BASED ON A KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR SELF AND YOUR GOD WORKING WITHIN YOU – YIELD BOUNTY YOU CAN NEVER IMAGINE…
I PRAY I FIND THE BALANCE. I PRAY THE MAGIC RETURNS.
CATCH UP FROM THE START!
TO READ MY STORY FROM THE BEGINNING CLICK HERE THEN READ THE 7 COUNTDOWN POSTS TO EMMA'S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!