The Balancing Act

I think the balancing act is another pursuit of perfection. We can see the pendulum swing from one extreme to the next, so if we can catch it dead center and stop it there, we will have balance.

Balance in our parenting, our diet, our work, our home. Balance. Balance. Balance.

“It’s all about balance,” one mom will tell another, after she has confessed her frustration over something.

“It’s all about balance,” one colleague to another after hearing how things are crumbling at home.

“It’s all about balance,” one wife to another after hearing her friend admit that she feels stuck.

Balance is a new shiny word for perfection. It’s all about perfection. If you could get it just right, just balanced enough, parenting wouldn’t be so hard. Your diet would work, the weight would fall off. If you could get it just right, perfect, balanced, your marriage would seem better. Your work life more fulfilling. Your time with the family more satisfying. Something is out of balance that’s why you’re upset/stressed/frustrated/let down.

Chase the balancing act. Just balance the books. Balance it out. Stop swinging the pendulum, find the mark that is just right. It’s another word for perfection. Chase perfection because once you find it all your problems will be solved.

Hogwash.

Having some sense of balance, holding firmly to Jesus who is the Truth, focusing on God’s will for your life, and learning that we are human and even God recognized that we couldn’t get it perfect, that’s how you come to accept the sway. Not completely disengaging from the notion of balance, but not chasing it, either.

Chase Jesus. Let Him be the author and perfecter of your faith. Let Him be your peace. The calm in the midst of your storm and chaos. Jesus. Chase Jesus. Not balance. Not perfection. Not fame. Not money. Chase Jesus. For in Him is found life.

Until next time,
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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,

It’s so easy to get caught up in the things of this world, the ways of this world. Because we were made to pursue You, we are always in pursuit, but sometimes our focus is distracted and we stop pursuing You. Bring our vision back into focus, help us to chase You and nothing less.

In Jesus’ Sweet Name,
Amen.

Holding Space

I was first introduced to the idea of holding space in midwifery. It is said that midwives hold space for a woman to birth in a way that is natural to her. We all have different comforts, spots, positions, that help us mentally and emotionally as we bring forth a baby. I love this idea of holding space – near enough to assist, but not meddling, no unnecessary interference. With two perfect homebirths, that space was glorious, with a small scare on our third, the nearness was comfort and calm in the midst of chaos.

It doesn’t take but a second for the faces of the women who held space for me to come to mind. I remember them warmly and fondly. I am forever grateful for their presence in those huge moments in our life.

On a particularly hard day with my teenager, I heard Holy Spirit speak, “Hold space for him.” And like a bright revelation, and with words He knew my heart and mind would hear, I was able to slow down. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I’ve told myself, “Hold space, hold space.”

Close enough to keep them safe (even from themselves at time), enough space to let them sort it out, figure it out, make a way. See, parenting isn’t about it always being my way, imparting only my way to do things. It is about teaching them to navigate, be resourceful, solve problems, make decisions. And oftentimes, they make a decision we wouldn’t. They find a resource we overlooked. They solve the problem differently. Sometimes they take the hard way, but you know what? We once took the hard way ourselves. Maybe not in everything, but always in something. Someone with experience and years beyond our own probably can see with clarity how we are still taking the hard way – even if we don’t realize it yet.

More holding space, less imposing my will/my way for every second of the day. More room for emotions, thoughts, conversations, more room for them to explore and be and do. I’m close enough to keep them safe and guide them back toward honoring God and right living, but not breathing down their necks about every moment of the day.

Until next time,
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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,

Please help us hold space for the people around us – our children, spouses, friends, and others you’ve sent into our lives. Help us remember that we don’t know the only right way to solve problems and get things done. Help us be slow to speak, slow to anger, and good listeners. Help us be a little more like Jesus today.

In Jesus’ Sweet Name,
Amen.

Time with Friends

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Life has felt harried and hectic for so long that I can hardly remember a time that I truly enjoyed a moment without a long list of to-do’s distracting my focus.

Until today, that is. I stopped by to drop off a few things for a friend, and stayed for tea, pumpkin cheesecake, and good company.

I didn’t sit at her table and think of a million other things that needed to be done. I didn’t sit at her table and try to mentally balance my checkbook, or worry about my most recent marketing attempt, or the next truck coming in.

I got to enjoy the conversation, the tea, and the treat without worry and distraction.

When I got back home, feeling refreshed and joyful, I had some soul-searching to do. It’s not that I suddenly have nothing to do. It’s not that I’m at my leisure 24/7. But I am seeing clearly that it is possible to have too much to do. It is possible to chase so much of the wrong stuff (maybe good stuff, but not the best stuff) that we can’t enjoy what we have.

Friends, tea with each other is the best stuff (or coffee, or smoothies, or cake). Muddy kids playing on a warm January day is the best stuff. Creating, crafting, writing… this is the best stuff.

We don’t have to agree about what is best – what matters is that we sift through the noise, the chaos, and cultural expectations to figure out what our own personal version of the best stuff is.

I’m going to pursue more of the best stuff. More time with the people I love, family & friends, more time creating, more time focused.

I’ve found that pursuing the best stuff postures my heart to worship God moment by moment. When I’m not mired in too much of the wrong stuff, I can see God more clearly and worship Him more freely.

I think I’ll write in the morning about how God has been speaking to me about worship lately.

Until next time,
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