By Jennifer Davis Rash
Managing Editor, The Alabama Baptist
So this was the column in which I should be sharing all the great progress I’ve made on my new and improved balanced self. You know, the plan I announced got under way in January.
But you didn’t think I really meant I was starting in January, did you? I was merely thinking about it (wink, wink). Just teasing. I really did begin in January and in March and now again in July.
It seems the only thing I have done consistently is think about how to pull life together, achieve balance and maintain freshness every day. I’ve had moments of success in every area, and I’ve made progress in many ways, but actually attaining those goals hasn’t happened. Not yet anyway.
Still I press on, determined not to give up and to figure this out. Sure there are moments of discouragement when I think, “What’s the use? Why worry with it at all if it takes so much energy to achieve?”
But isn’t that so much of life? So many things don’t work out as we have planned or would like but we can’t give up. We, as believers, exist to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:9). We also have been commanded to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls (Matt. 22:37); love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39); and share Him with all peoples (Matt. 28:19–20; Mark 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:20).
How can we do any of these things if we are overwhelmed and wrapped up in our own complicated lives? And how can we do these things if we are exhausted, light in the Word and undisciplined in life’s “als”?
The “als” — spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational — round out our overall existence. They need to be in balance for us to be at our best. But this is where it gets difficult.
While I wish I were the only one struggling, I don’t think I’m alone in this battle. Friends tell me they struggle on even the best days to stay consistent in these areas as much as I do. And then when a string of bad days comes, it gets even harder.
What I’m realizing is that we must figure this out during the good days, so when the bad days hit, we have a foundation on which to build.
Pulling from reserves
During the bad days, we may not get to follow our normal time spent in the Word or prayer but we can pull from what we received all the other days we did. During the bad days, we may not get to exercise and eat right but our strength and energy will hold up better if we are fit and healthy. During the bad days, we may have nothing to give our friends and family and need them to give all the energy but we can draw from the reserve of energy we invested earlier.
When the bad days aren’t as bad anymore, then we can start rebuilding the “als” again. The difference is a little rebuilding versus starting from scratch even farther back than before.
Getting ourselves balanced and in order also means that when one of our family members or friends lands in the “bad days” period (and they will), we will be able to help pull him or her through that time because we will be healthy, strong and available.
And so, I begin again. Seeking more thorough and consistent time with the Lord, finding the motivation to exercise and eat right, making more time for family and friends, expanding my knowledge base at work and in general and caring for myself emotionally.
It seems like one step forward and two steps back most days, but I’m staying focused on each step forward and working hard not to get discouraged when the steps go backward.