Archive for August, 2017

Balancing Life

The last three months having been particularly difficult for me. I had some health challenges including surgery and a major ministry commitment which added a hundred hours to my schedule in three weeks.

My system was thrown out of balance. I felt anxious and struggled with depression. Pain and fatigue were evident as well. I was so tired that I chose to stay home and rest rather than go with my wife to visit her relatives.

During the week she was gone, I reread the book Anxiety and Stress by Archibald Hart. I realized I needed more balanced.  Life was more than producing and impressing. I needed to beef up my exercise, friendships, relaxation, and rest to have the power to overcome the challenges ahead.

But what else could I do to be more balanced?

I reflected on what happened to me thirty years ago in which the challenges had worn me down. Job pressures, moving, and mid-life issues had exhausted me physically and emotionally. Over a three-year period, I learned how to slow down and add to my physical and emotional resources. This included giving myself permission to rest as needed, Sabbath rest on Sundays, recreational activities, and intentional relaxation. I have continued to practice many of these habits for the past thirty years. For the most part, they have helped me to have the strength to meet the challenges.

Recalling this journey over thirty years ago gave me hope God and I could restore my strength again to confidently face the challenges ahead. I am convinced nothing less than an all-out commitment to greater balance will be sufficient. God doesn’t seem to be lowering my challenges to fit my resources. Instead, he is challenging me to raise my strength to match his increased challenges.

As God and I developed an approach to a more balanced life, I was able to use the approach from thirty years ago as a starting point. This time the balanced approach had nine categories of activities.

Balance was the key. The elements of my recovery plan included counseling, spiritual growth, recreation, relaxation, nurturing social relationships, medical, and exercise. Also, it’s important to give out to others for all get and no give is not healthy for our souls. I know it will work because it has in the past and God has led in developing this one. He has been helping me implement it with good results so far.

Each day I seek the Lord on what I need to put into my schedule to sow good seed to reap a harvest of emotional and physical strength. I try to do at least one thing in each category as God leads. For example, one day I chose to do activities that were recreational, counseling (through book reading), exercise, social, rest, personal (like journaling) and spiritual. What I do is a day-to-day thing as God leads. I also do other things too, like ministry and chores around the house.

So, let’s not be victims of our circumstances. God has promised us the ability to face and overcome future challenges. Paul says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB). This means facing with power whatever happens. Our job is to follow God and be responsive to leading the balanced life we need to be able to face the future with joy, peace, and love.

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