Working to pay the bills but also making your family a priority.
Eating healthy meals but not obsessing over everything that goes in your mouth.
Being active and faithful to exercise but also allowing time for rest and relaxation.
Practicing self-care without becoming self-focused.
We deal with this concept everyday. It's a topic that doesn't have simple answers and what may be a balance for one person may not be for another.
As a Christian ( a Christ follower), I try by God's grace to "balance" the areas of my life through Biblical eyes. God says to "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (Mathew 6:33). So first and foremost on the priority list is my relationship with Christ and advancing His Kingdom. Next comes our family with Christ being at the centre. "For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church" (1 Timothy 3:5)? And in the family, because marriage makes you one flesh, your first priority is your spouse (Gen. 2:24), followed by your children (Eph. 6:4), and relatives etc.
These Biblical priorities help us set up the framework for our work, ministry, and home life in a balanced way, but we know it isn't always that easy. It takes huge discernment to know how to identify God's boundaries in every situation. When to stay at church to help prep for an important event or go to your child's soccer game. How to navigate the many needs of your new baby and try to prioritize time for your spouse. Where to draw the line on providing for your family's financial needs and spending quality and quantity time at home.
Only by following the Spirit's leading can we answer these personal and ever changing situations we face. It's a daily discipline to discern God's will for our walk with Him, our families, our work, our ministry, and our days. Sometimes it's minute by minute, hour by hour, asking the Spirit to show us what to to do when the Bible hasn't given us a simple black and white answer on a particular decision.
I find that very hard, and it's a discipline I'm not even close to mastering.
Then we bring in a new factor, chronic illness.
In high school, I would stay out late, participate in several extra curriculars, hang with friends whenever possible, and in general just be busy! I lived on a couple hours of sleep a night and I functioned fairly well. Yes, I was dealing with some health issues, but they weren't a huge concern for me at the time. I just lived. Then post high school, I worked for a year before going to College. I lived with a friend and worked 2 full time retail jobs. I would start at 6am at Payless ShoeSource until mid afternoon, when I would work until 9:30pm at Laura Secord, and then go out with the staff at night. I was living it up. However, during this time, my health really began to decline. I started going to one doctor's office after another and I knew my undiagnosed symptoms were getting worse, but I didn't let it slow me down. You can guess how that ended...badly. Several months after living this lifestyle of work/play all night and all day, my heath did a nosedive. I had to break my lease on my apartment, making a huge financial mess and destroying my friendship with my roommate. I moved back home with my parents and spent most of my time in bed.
During this time, I was treated for Lyme Disease and depression and I basically spent each day just getting to the next day. Day by day over many months, my mind and body got stronger. I had intense treatment and therapy and got back on my feet. I was able to go to college for Business Administration and even get an office job afterwards. During this time, my high school sweetheart and I got married and started our life together. The diagnosis of Lupus really helped me understand my limitations. I was able to recognize what I should or shouldn't do to keep symptoms at bay. It took trial and error and several hospitalizations, but I felt at that time I knew my "balance" in life. I decided for my health, a 40 hour work week just wasn't sustainable and I had to have limits on activities. I learned to swallow my pride and say no to things, and accept that people may not always understand. I learned that if I wanted to do the things God was asking of me, (I was a part time Youth Pastor at the time), I had to say no to other things I wanted to do. During that short season of life (2 years), Adrian and I had so many incredible experiences together. We experienced the joy of being newlyweds, working as a team in ministry, discipling young people, growing in our faith, and really learning about the Gospel in our daily lives. We are so thankful for those years in our little basement apartment in Brantford where we served Jesus together. It was a beautiful short season that God used in powerful ways. I'm grateful to look back and see how God lay the groundwork of balance, letting go, acceptance, surrender and obedience. He needed to lay the foundation of healthy and Biblical priorities in my heart because He knew in a short time, my idea of balance would be challenged and stretched like never before.
Fast forward 2 years - We live in another city, serve in a completely different ministry, currently pursuing deeper paths of Kingdom living, and are raising two little boys aged 2 and 1. Our lives are totally flipped upside down and believe me when I say, in this new season, I don't have the "balance" thing figured out yet!
Author - Erin
Follower of Jesus, on a journey to glorify God and to advance His Kingdom while battling Chronic Illness in the everyday life. Diagnoses include Lupus, CVID, POTS, IBS, Hemiplegic Migraines and other Autoimmune conditions.