Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seeking a balanced life

If you’ve ever been sick and had it affect your inner ear or equilibrium you would understand how important balance is to our lives. A good friend and mentor of mine was once suddenly struck with a strong case of vertigo with which she found herself on the floor in a spinning room, unable to move and overcome with extreme dizziness and nausea. Vertigo is a balance disorder caused by something going wrong with the nerves or fluid levels in the inner ear and my friend was completely incapacitated.

I’ve found to be true that balance is not only needed for standing upright and walking in a straight line, it is so essential to every aspect of our lives and if something is amiss we can find ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually incapacitated. When we find ourselves stumbling through life, experiencing random episodes of dizziness and nausea, how can we find balance and in turn establish our footing to live a more productive and peaceful life?

This question has been at the forefront of my mind as I’ve fallen halfway through the summer months feeling like every day is just as hectic and overwhelming as the day before. Not only have I experienced dizziness and nausea, but depression, anxiety, impatience and most of all that feeling that all mothers have from time to time, the desire for escape. Escape to that wonderful distant tropical island where I can sit on the beach sipping something fruity with my life as far away as possible.

Sometimes it is possible to get away from it all whether it is with a vacation or a women’s retreat, but at the moment with bills piled up to our necks and a baby at my breast, leaving life behind is not possible. Instead I feel the need and the opportunity for the Lord to work in me and in my life giving me tools I need to face what’s before me. The first tool that I’m counting on is balance.

Starting out right

When I was younger I loved to dance. I took lessons in ballet, jazz and modern. Just recently I started teaching my daughters some dance and it’s been fun to have different steps and techniques coming back to me. I remember learning to twirl. The key to twirling was finding a focal point on the wall in front of you. You’d keep your eyes on that point while your body turned and at the last possible moment you’d whip your head around and find the focal point again. This would keep you from getting dizzy while your body would spin round and round. The technique is something that has to be learned and is crucial when keeping your balance throughout the dance.

As another example, Peter was able to walk on water as long as his gaze stayed on Jesus Christ. The moment he looked away and at the waves crashing around him he started to sink. Likewise, the moment a dancer loses that point of focus and takes in the room spinning by, she’s likely to fall.

Similarly we need to learn to focus on Jesus through reading the bible, prayer and listening to what He has to say throughout our day. Listening to God is definitely something learned as we get to know Him better. I was just reading John 10:27 which says, “My sheep know my voice; I know them and they follow me.”

Something that I love to do is turn on praise music (first turning off the TV) and allow the positive messages and scriptures in the songs to penetrate our busy and hectic household.

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