- The frustration you feel after wasting an hour on social media (before which you told yourself you were "scrolling" for only 5 minutes).
- The irritability when your friend asks you for the same favour again and again without so much as a thank-you.
- The preventable anxiety which ensues after a week of procrastination resulting in staying up till 1 am for an early morning deadline.
- The frantic scramble and eye-roll when your husband arrives in the driveway with unexpected guests and there’s piles of unfolded laundry on the couch with no groceries in the fridge.
But instead of focusing on the negative, the remaining weeks of September we’re going to be discussing how to achieve the balanced life. After all, soon Fall will be in full swing making this a perfect time for a fresh start and new outlook. Coming up, I’ll be looking at balancing time and schedules as well as balancing lifestyles with diet and exercise. (UPDATE: Please read my post on October 10 of why the releasing of the next two posts have been delayed.)
But first, let’s look at three practical ways to make faith the foundation of a balanced life. The goal is to start looking up (to God) before setting out (on your day). And from personal experience, if you focus most of your effort here, I promise the rest will fall much easier into place.
1. Spend time every day disconnected with the world and connected with God.
Why spend time every day in God’s Word? Think of the last time you went an extended period of time without physical food. I’m guessing after awhile you started to feel weak, tired, and probably a little hangry. Likewise, if we neglect eating the spiritual food found in the Bible, we become weak, irritable, worrisome, and downright grumpy. But you don’t have to take it from me. As Jesus quoted in Matthew 4:4,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Key for Success: If you’re like me, discipline is essential. The past two years I’ve been fortunate to attend a nondenominational Bible Study Fellowship in my area. Each week I’m given specific readings and daily questions to complete. This has really helped me to stay in the Word each week and really dig deep in the scripture passages. But I also think it’s a good idea to look into the bible studies your church offers. It’s not only a great way to study scripture but to really get to know the needs of fellow church members and the surrounding community.
2. Choose a focus for the day.
Choose a scripture verse, a word, or phrase from your morning quiet time as your aim for the remaining day. If you can only find distraction-free time with God at night, use that time to choose a focus for the next day. Another option is to pick a theme focus for the week every Sunday. Just be sure to include reviewing and praying over your weekly focus as part of your morning routine each day.
By creating an intention and reflecting on it throughout the day, your thoughts, interactions with others, scheduled time, and downtime are now filled with purpose. And I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot better than the rollercoaster of emotions that some days bring from offhanded remarks, inner insecurities, large to-do lists, and stomach growlings. A daily focus can help balance both emotions and busy schedules.
Key for Success: Keep your focus verse, word, or phrase close by so you can glance at it whenever you need to throughout the day. Do this by placing a sticky note on the fridge or bathroom mirror, a reminder on your phone, or a note at the top of your daily planner.
Here’s some examples of a few personal focus statements from past weeks:
- “Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” — Phrase from James 1:19
- “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” — Psalm 27:14
- “Find God’s light in this world. Be the light in this world.” — Summary statement from John 1:1-5, Matthew 5:15-16, John 8:12
- “Cooperate without compromise.” — Principle from the book of Daniel
- “Present faith overcomes past failures.” —Principle from Numbers 21:1-3
- “Be patient.” — Phrase from Ephesians 4:2
3. Seek the Helper’s guidance in prayer.
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
When we rely on the Holy Spirit, we no longer rely on our own fickle emotions and willpower to get things done. God and his work through the Holy Spirit will ultimately help you bring your life into balance.
Key for Success: So how can you get the Holy Spirit on your side? If you don’t already know God personally, you may want to consider receiving Christ by faith today. If you’ve already committed your life to Christ, then the Holy Spirit is already on your side (Romans 8:31). God is for us. All you have to do is pray. Simply pray. And pray some more. Ask God to use the Holy Spirit to change your thoughts, your heart, and your actions. Ask Him for wisdom. And, ask Him to help you find purpose, balance, and focus in this easily-distracted world.