My girls are now young women, but I still love to talk with them about their life goals and offer advice now and then. A mother is always a mom, right?
One thing we’ve been talking about quite a bit is living life on purpose. By that I mean, do we just let life happen to us? Or do we make deliberate choices for our home and life based on our priorities and purpose? There are only so many hours in the day. How do we decide what to do with those hours? Are we offering our time and passion in life fully to God or are we getting distracted by things of lesser importance? How do we avoid chasing or burning out on the wrong things so we can have energy for what counts?
Usually we think of a balanced life in terms of how much time we have (or don’t have!) for fun or relaxation, or how we can juggle our crazy long to-do lists. But what if we thought of a balanced life in terms of how effective we are in serving God in all the ways He calls us? Are we putting “first things first” or are we doing life all backwards and then wondering why it feels out of balance?
Seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
There are a million things I could do with my time. I can let a day get away from me by simply letting life happen or by running fast in the wrong direction. I can want to get all the things done my way first before I seek God and his kingdom. Yet my desire is to deliberately set some boundaries and structure in my life so I can avoid the unnecessary distractions that pull me away and instead focus on what really matters to God.
As followers of Christ, our ultimate purpose is to know and love God and love people. We are here to point others to Christ. We are made for so much more than aimlessly wandering through our days just juggling to-do lists. When we are in step with God’s priorities and purpose and remember to put Him first, I think we can find a sense of balance even with a full and productive life.
How I organize my time or where I focus my attention definitely impacts whether I feel like my days were well-spent or if I was running too fast in the wrong direction. I can exhaust myself when I make choices that are inconsistent with God’s ultimate purpose.
I think that is a key to living a balanced life. Do I set myself up to be running on empty in the wrong direction by my own careless choices? When I make decisions that max out my finances or misuse my time and resources, or forget what God has called me to do, I am more likely to grow tired or feel out of balance. I can easily get bogged down in things that don’t matter and have little energy leftover for things that do.
For me, a balanced life doesn’t begin with trying to figure out a strategy for how to “slow down” or to “just say no” or even how to “do less.” That approach isn’t likely to succeed unless we are slowing down and doing less in order to seek Him first. First we rest in Him, then we have the necessary energy and focus to be productive for His kingdom. I love what it says in John 15:4-5: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
I think God has already outlined in scripture His secret for finding balance and what our priorities are to be. If we don’t start our big dreams, goals, and plans for life or the day by resting in Him and seeking His priorities first, we quickly wear out and stop bearing fruit.
Looking at John 15:1-2 I find even more inspiration about what life should look like: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” He wants us to be more fruitful! God doesn’t want to waste time on things that aren’t bearing fruit nor does He want us to exhaust ourselves or lose sight of our priorities by not remaining in Him. It’s a spiritually balanced life.
Passionately pursuing living for Christ means I want to pursue His priorities and bear fruit for His kingdom through my marriage, my family, my finances, my health, my daily routines, my home, my job, our church and impacting the world.
How do you find a Godly balance in life?