The Christian Life – It’s a Balancing Act

Joshua 1:8

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

To have successful balance in our home life, family life, business endeavors, ministry, and our walk with God, we have to have a standard scale that weighs each of these areas in our life to make sure they are balanced. In Anne of Green Gables, Matthew went to the store to buy Anne a puffed sleeve dress, but he also bought brown sugar, remember? The scale the store keeper used to weigh the brown sugar or measure the fabric for the dress had to be calibrated to a standard. Calibration is the activity of checking, by comparison with a standard, the accuracy of a measuring instrument of any type. It may also include adjustment of the instrument to bring it into alignment with the standard. If I wanted a pound of brown sugar, and you wanted a pound of sugar, we would want the scale to be calibrated. I wouldn’t want the store keeper to say, “Well, this looks like a pound.” This wouldn’t be an accurate way to measure.

The same is true in our life.

1.  Standard. The Bible, the Word of God, is to be our standard. We must measure and adjust and weigh the activities we choose in our life with the Word of God. We place it on our scale and measure it all out through God’s focus, not our own or anyone else’s. Don’t compare your life with someone else’s. II Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  Preacher has said doctrine is what is right. Reproof is what is wrong. Correction is how to get it right. Instruction is how to keep it right. So, all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for showing us what is right, for what is wrong, how to get it right, and how to keep it right.

2.  Surrender. I Thessalonians 5:24“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”  Just do what God is leading and calling you to do. What burden is He laying on your heart? Just do it. God calls us to do a lot of things. If I surrender to His calling and His will, He will do it through me. This is a promise.

So, to help us in balancing our lives, we need to have the standard of the Word of God. We need to look at everything through the Word of God. We need to be surrendered to do whatever God is calling us to do.

3.  Supplication. Pray and ask God for wisdom and to show you how to fix/ balance/add/correct the situation in your life that is off-balance. Cry out to Him and say, “Lord, how can I do this? I need your help!” I Thessalonians 5:24 says,“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

So, first let God’s word be your STANDARD, then SURRENDER to His leading, next is SUPPLICATION – asking for God’s help.

4.  Stop comparing. Once God has shown you what HE WANTS YOU to do, rest in that. Just do it. Don’t compare your life, your children’s life, your family choices, your business choices to anyone else. If you struggle with comparing these areas in your life to other ladies and other families, stop and go back to the standard. The Word of God is our standard. Not the world or your friends or other church families. Meditate on the Word of God and find out what the Bible says about it. Let the Bible doctrine help you see what is right. Let it reprove you and show you what is wrong. Let the Bible correct you, and let the preaching and Word of God instruct you to keep it right. Comparison is the thief of joy, but Joy in the Christian life comes in consistent service.

To help us balance, let God’s word be your STANDARD, then SURRENDER to His leading, next is SUPPLICATION – asking for God’s help, and then STOP COMPARING!

5.  Serve others. JOY is Jesus Others You! Our focus should be in serving others. Galatians 6:1-3, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such as one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”  Jesus taught us that it is my responsibility to pray for others and help others. When we are comparing ourselves to others, we become self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish, and we have a pity party. The pity parties I have are because I am comparing myself to someone else, I’ve lost focus on God’s perspective for MY life, and I am being selfish. That is not balance! My life is out of order then, and I have no joy – remember, comparison is the thief of joy! I have to adjust my thoughts, take them into captivity – think on things that are good, pure, lovely. I have to count my blessings and praise God with my words and in my mind. I have to refocus. What is God’s perspective. This is all taking into captivity our thoughts.  II Corinthians 10:5, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”  Then, I need to help someone else. I need to get my focus on others. How can I HELP someone else? Who needs help? Encourage others.  I’ll give you some ideas in just a moment on serving others.

So, to help us balance, let God’s word be your STANDARD, then SURRENDER to His leading, next is SUPPLICATION – asking for God’s help, then STOP COMPARING, and then SERVE OTHERS.

6. Soul winning. I overheard two men talking in the vendor hall earlier, and one gentleman said to the other, “If we are all concerned with sharing the Gospel and people getting saved, we’ll all get along.”  Wouldn’t this help us to be balanced in our life?  Our perspective would be on eternal things, not temporal.

Now that we have our standard, and we know we must be surrendered to God’s will and leading, we know to ask for God’s help and believe He will help us do what He has called us to do, we know we must stop comparing our life with others, and we must focus on helping and serving others, I want to share some. I’m going to share a little of what our balancing act looks like in our family, and then I want to share some ideas to help you in balancing your home life, family time, business endeavors, ministry and walk with God. You may not like some of these ideas. Some of them may not work in your life, and that is OKAY! It’s neat, though, to see how others balance everything, isn’t it? That’s why I want you to write down your ideas on the 3 x 5 cards, so we can all share tips with each other…

To have successful balance in our walk with God, home life, family life, business endeavors, and ministry we must: Let the Word of God be our measuring device, our standard. We must surrender to God’s calling and will for our personal life. We must go to God insupplication, pray and cry out to God for help, correction, and balance. We must stop comparing ourselves to others.  Comparison is the thief of joy! We must be mindful to serve others. We must have the souls of men in our thoughts – eternity must be our focus daily.

Are you struggling with your walk with God?  Is your time with God dull?  Do you feel like you are in a rut?  Do you need revival in your daily walk with God?  Are you struggling to balance an area in your home and family?  Do you feel the pressures of getting everything done? Is the laundry piling up and toys scattered across the floor?  Are you juggling schedules with ministry, work, older and younger children? Are you struggling with keeping a meek and quiet spirit in your home?  Does your family seem to be going in every direction, doing their own thing? Is everyone on the same page and working toward the same goal?

Our walk with God is the first and most important area to to look at and care for when we are having a struggle with balance in any other area of our life. Pastor Fugate said, “Our relationship with God is the most important activity.  We should work on nothing more than we work on our relationship with God.“

BALANCING YOUR WALK WITH GOD

You may need to make adjustments in this area based on your schedule, your priorities, and your responsibilities. Make your adjustments based upon God’s will for your life, what He has called you to do, based on your needs and in light of being a help to others.

I will share a glimpse of our family’s daily walk with God.  I want God to use our life to be a blessing and a help.  In Exodus, the Bible tells how Aaron and Hur helped to stay up the hands of Moses during the battle.

Exodus 17:12“But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

We want to stay up the hands of fellow Christians who are also laboring for the Lord. We want to be a help. We want to bear the burden of another Christian, so they will keep going and not quit serving the Lord themselves.

Ideas for Balancing your Walk with God:

1.  Have a system or routine for your walk with God. Find what works for you.  I have my daily devotion time in the mornings.  My day begins with my cup of coffee – which my husband fixes for me with heavy whipping cream, Xylitol sweetener, and a teaspoon of coconut oil!  I sit on my couch – my spot – and get out my binder of devotional forms and my Bible.  This form, Daily Quiet Time with the Lord 2014, is what I use every day.  In 2008, I cried out to God with a heavy heart for my children, desiring them to have a closer walk with Him and to be accountable every morning with their walk with Him. He helped me to write this out, but it ended up being for me, not my children. I have six years of written proof of the fingerprints of God working in my heart, my life, and my family’s life. It’s amazing to look back and see what God has done, because ladies, we do forget the goodness of God and the answers to prayers and the lessons we received from our daily Bible reading. I pour my heart out to God on this paper. Writing makes me focus and pay attention. This helps me to balance my thinking and gets me ready for my day.

My husband gets up early and listens to a dramatic reading of the Bible on his phone using www.Bible.is while he is getting ready. He loves it, and he is able to stay focused on the reading.  Different systems work for different people.  I am not an auditory learner, so this doesn’t work well for me.  Find what works for you, though, and stick with it!

2.  Adjust your schedule/time.  If you need help having enough time to get your Bible reading and devotion time in, decide what you want to do during this time.  Make a list.  What Bible reading do you want to do daily?  Do you have a prayer list?  Do you set a time aside for prayer?  Is there a godly book you’d like to read, notes you’d like to write, or journaling you’d like to do?  How long will it take to do everything on your list?   What time do you need to be finished with your devotion time to care for your responsibilities?  Subtract the amount of time you need for your devotion time from the time you need to be finished and set your alarm to wake up then.  Consciously make adjustments in your schedule to accommodate the desires you’d like to fulfill during your daily walk with God.

4.  No Bible, no breakfast.  This has been a rule in our home since the children were little, and it has simply ensured a habit of reading God’s Word first thing in the morning.

3.  Shut off social media, if it consumes you. If you know you will be tempted, don’t have your phone with you during your walk with God. My husband texts me when he makes it to work every morning, so I have mine close by, but it honestly is a temptation to check my emails or research an idea on Pinterest. I LOVE Pinterest!  I don’t have Facebook now; but when I did, that was a real temptation to see what was new with my friends!  Be mindful to set aside social media during your time with God.

So, adjust any area, whether it be the system you use, your schedule, or shutting off social media, to ensure your walk with God is given priority.  We need God on our side to get through our day!

BALANCING YOUR HOME AND FAMILY LIFE

Deuteronomy 6:6-9, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

We’ve been married 19 years.  I am approaching our 11th year homeschooling our five children.  We are very involved with church and take our 50 minute drive to church for various activities 3-4 times/week.  I love photography.  I have had the privilege of taking pictures at Circle C Baptist Ranch for the campers each week of camp during the summer.  Our family, like yours, has various activities and appointments each week – ours are filled with homeschooling, field trips, co-op activities, singing at nursing homes, gardening and yard work, cooking and baking, teen Sunday School van route, chiropractor visits, teen soul winning, ladies’ visitation, chopping firewood, caring for our little farm, and caring for my family.  I enjoy making homemade laundry soap and health care products for our family, using my clothes line, writing, blogging, crafting, cooking healthy meals, shopping, and reading.

How do I keep it in balance?  I don’t!  I am always balancing, correcting, changing, reviving, and rearranging!  I feel like a failure in many areas on a regular basis, but I TRY to get back up.

Proverbs 24:16, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

Ideas for Balancing Your Home and Family Life

1.  Walking with God is top priority.  If I don’t walk with God first thing in the morning, my day is a wreck.  In nearly 100% of the times that I have had a “bad” day with our children during school, it has been my fault.  Either I have neglected a portion of my walk with God, or there is sin in my life that I haven’t brought before the Lord and cared for. The mother DOES determine the spirit in the home.

2.  Mission Statement for our Family.  We created a family mission statement years ago. We wrote down what we wanted our family to be, our vision for our family, the character we wanted our children to have, our goals, etc. We based these on the standard of the Word of God, being surrendered to His leading, and what we believed God wanted for our family, what was important to us, and what would bring God glory. I typed this out and placed in on the front cover of a 3-ring binder for reference during the school year.  The Art of Manliness has a wonderful step-by-step article on creating a family mission statement.

For example, we wanted our children to be kind to all, friendly, help bear the burdens of others, serve others, share the Gospel and be mission-minded, and have a skill that could financially help their future family. We then PLANNED activities and lessons to teach these to our children.  We based our family’s activities on our family mission statement and goals. The activities and lessons look something like this:

*Kind to all. We memorized and roll played Ephesians 4:32“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”   We’ve talked often about this verse and acted it out.  This is a verse that we have to review often, and we continue working on.  Having this as a goal for our children has helped us be mindful to teach them to love their enemy and do good to them – write letters to those who are being unkind to you.  Pastor Fugate says you can’t practice forgiveness until you have been wronged.  I remember one of my children going through a time when they were constantly bullied and demeaned by their peers.

We applied the instruction in Proverbs 6:27-28, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

My child wrote a letter asking for forgiveness and stating their desire to be friends.  Their peers ridiculed and made fun of them for it, but my child practiced kindness anyway.  Today, praise the Lord, this child is one of my most forgiving children – rarely holding a grudge.  We also have posted verses about being kind on the walls of our home.

*Friendly.  Proverbs 18:24“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” 

Proverbs 17:9, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”

We’ve talked much about being kind, not gossiping or making fun of others, include others in your circle of friends, etc.  A few years ago, I gave them an assignment on the way to church to hug 5 new people that day.  They did, and some of those who received their hugs are now their “special” friends!

*Bear the Burdens or Serve Others.  We taught them the lesson we learned that leaders don’t always get to be fed. When you are helping to serve others, you often “miss out” on what your friends are doing or everyone else is doing; but if God shows us a need, we should do all we can to help.

James 4:17“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  

We encouraged our children to help in Patch the Pirate Clubs once they are out of 6th grade instead of going to the teen activities. Why?  To practice serving and helping. We volunteered to help clean the church. Why? We could. Were these a sacrifice of our time and our wants?  Sometimes, but there was a need that God showed to us, and we wanted to be pleasing to our Lord.  We were afraid not to help, just like Mrs. Alesha Seay talked about at the conference.  Once we saw the need, we were afraid to NOT heed the call.  This is good practice for our children’s lives. We also love taking our children to visit shut-ins, at nursing homes, and hospitals to have them sing and pay the piano to lift heavy hearts. This has been a highlight in our life.

Singing at nursing home

Singing at nursing home

*Soul Winning/Sharing the Gospel. We desired our children to be mission minded.  Our family hands out church tracts all the time… at restaurants, the grocery store, drive thru windows, etc.  Use church tracts or order holiday/special event tracts to hand out to folks you meet everyday.  Join a soul-winning visitation program at your church.  When I’m sharing the Gospel, my thoughts quickly turn from focusing on my problems to focusing on others.  When I have talked with someone at the store about coming to church with us or shared the Gospel, my thoughts go to eternal things, and I forget about my problems.  Our children are learning that same feeling!

*Help Your Children Develop a Skill.  Because Patrick helped his dad repair and maintain vehicles growing up, we’ve rarely taken our vehicles for servicing.  He has used this skill to save us thousands of dollars. When my husband was sick, which was all of our children’s lives up until 2 years ago, we stayed home and did things together as a family. We have taught our children leather working, polymer clay jewelry making, crocheting, etc. We have taught by example that we try not to buy anything or pay anyone to do anything that we can learn to do ourselves. This has saved us a lot of money, and hopefully we’re enabling our children with similar life skills. We have taken them to many vendor/craft fairs to let them sell (or try to sell) the items they worked so hard to make/create. They’ve also learned to deal with rejection and not selling anything – and we’ve used these as life lessons as well.  This has given them a taste of being an entrepreneur.  God may use this one day in their family’s life to financially be a help.

First Vendor Fair

CMRBC Church Growth Conference Vendor table 2014

3.  Serve faithfully where God has us until He moves us.  Our Bus Director said that to us in 2001!  Our service to the Lord has changed its look through the years of Patrick’s illness, but we never quit. My husband wasn’t able to continue driving the church bus because of his illness 12 years ago, but we didn’t quit.  He did what he could.  He continued teaching the bus Sunday School class. Then, the captains began teaching their own bus kids in one Sunday School class, and he wasn’t needed, but he didn’t quit. God changed our service. He began helping in the A Sunday School teen class driving the teen van. His health had improved, so he was right back at driving and helping. That was 8 years ago. We remained faithful wherever we were serving until God opened or closed doors.  We never quit.  So, if you are discouraged because you can’t do much in this season of life, continue faithfully where you are.

4.  Learn contentment. Contentment has been a big struggle for me personally.  If you read my testimony in my book, you will see the struggles I had during my husband’s illness. But, I also struggle with balancing space and our home. We have always had a small 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1300 or 1400 square foot home. That’s 7 people and one bathroom! I’ve struggled with too much stuff, too small of a house, wanting more stuff, etc. Oh, the many times God has dealt with contentment in my life!  Ladies, we have to quit comparing ourselves to others.  I would compare my home to my friend’s homes, and honestly, mine never measured up! I had to come to the place where I claimed and believed Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  I had to believe I was where God wanted me to be. He wanted me to be content.  I asked God to help me make our situation work and to count my blessings, and He always helped me.

I pray these thoughts and Bible verses on balancing your walk with God and your home and family life have been helpful in some way to you.

Written By:

Susan Hall

Clays Mill Road Baptist Church

www.aaronshandsministries.com