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?Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
So much goodness here, Melissa, and so easy to let the truth of it slip through my fingers.
May we find grace to live one piece lives of balance that honor the bodies God gave us while also serving all the people in our lives who depend on the things He’s gifted us to do.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I agree that we get caught up in chasing down unnecessary bunny trails…we are human and easily distracted. My challenge is that I am involved in Christian ministry as my “work” and my offering. I am, however, guilty of overdoing it when trying to use my gifts to the glory of God. REST is a key in this balance of life. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags if we don’t follow God’s other commands like rest and be still. Like Jesus, we need to come away for awhile just to sit and be in the presence of our Heavenly Father and talk WITH Him….not just about Him. This is where my scales need a little evening out. Great advice this am.
Cyndi Carter says
Wonderful article! I have to keep reminding myself of this. Yes, what God wants most is not our works, but us. I’ve heard it put this way – we’re not “human doings”, but “human BE-inns” :).
Melissa, I needed this reminder! Some days I feel like I’m just marking time, going through the motions. Other days I’m so busy with things that don’t matter. Abiding with God — that was our New Year’s Eve sermon — I already needed a reminder of why it’s so important. It’s life.
So timely and perfectly written- many thanks to you for sharing!!
Melissa, I needed this reminder this morning! So many times I rush, rush, rush and ask God later to bless what I’m doing. 🙂 No wonder I feel tired physically and spiritually. I’m going to start meditating on John 15:1-2 each morning and ask God what His priorities are for my day.
Have a blessed day!
Thank you….your words are an answer to prayer. He is faithful!
Your words were like a breath of fresh air, thank-you so much for them.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”
Blessings to all,
Christie Dennid says
Good morning and thank you for these wonderful reminders, Melissa!
Blessings on you!
Each morning, I seek Him first, by filling up on His Word and asking for a “centering” in His precepts. Asking for His guidance and leading in my day’s activities helps me find His will and path for the next 24 hours, and creates a beautiful string of encounters with believers and non-believers. Some encounters reveal others’ needs: encouragement, answers, direction, resources = JESUS. Some encounters reveal teaching for me: JESUS. By walking in His Way, peace and abundant living can be enjoyed.
Cassady Schulte says
Yes, yes, yes. I needed this so much today! Thank you!
Joey Rudder says
Thank you for this! Not only did I literally pray this morning for God to help me balance the things in my life, but your post is like a big and beautiful sticky note in my mind, reminding me to look back to see how God has taught me in the past…
I was once in ministry as an assistant to our Pastor (preaching when needed, in-home visits as well as hospital calls etc.) and I knew in my heart God was calling me to step down. A confirmation even followed when an evangelist visited our church and said to me after his sermon when I had questions, “What if God wants you over here doing ‘this’ but you’re too busy over here doing ‘that?'” It made me analyze my priorities and I realized I was following everyone else’s expectations, as well as my own, and not God’s (my fault only…no one else’s).
Well, I unfortunately did NOT step down when God said to…and our Pastor left, leaving me with an unbearable burden; the previous tasks I mentioned as well as the secretary and the bridge between our church and the district. I burned out, fell apart, nearly lost my mind…I cried out to God at night to save me. Slowly, over time, He did. But I had to learn the hard way to obey Him when it came to my priorities and tasks and NOT my own or anyone else’s ideas of what should come first.
Which brings me to today. God is calling me to do a number of things and I’m praying about each one. I’m learning that He is gentle and will NEVER burn me out (again, that was all my doing). I’m praying He teaches me to prioritize the tasks He’s given me on a daily basis, moment by moment. And I’ve learned and have been reminded of just recently, the beginning of each day, God must come first. I know I’m lost without Him.
Thank you for a MUCH needed post, Melissa! God bless you!
“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.” THIS RIGHT HERE!!!!! I’m so tired of hearing well just slow down then. As a mama of 6 ages 14-1, there are no “slow” days. And sure enough we’ve cut nearly all the extra curricular activities and general busyness yet the WORK the Lord has called me to in raising my children, caring for my husband and leading in ministry is still ALOT. Abiding in Jesus, and staying focused is what keeps me grounded. Thank you for this.
Rebecca Jones says
We have to rest in order have energy. I still get a lot done and if I don’t it’s probably not that important. the laundry will still be there.
Jenny K says
Thank you for these beautiful words that remind us to evaluate what we are pursuing each day. It’s so funny how it’s so easy to go to church, but seems so hard to trust God to give us the ability to spend a few minutes every morning and evening refocusing our heart on Him without running out of time for everything else we have planned. I just found the devotional Emotionally Healthy Relationships Day by Day by Peter Scazzero that is set up as a morning and evening verse, paragraph, and prayer similar to the Moment To Breathe devotional book, and once I was willing to trust God to dedicate those few minutes to Him, I found that He honored my efforts and is working in so many ways in my heart.
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
Yes, there are a million things we can do. And it is hard to find balance. I think one of the things that has worked for me is to carefully decide what to say yes to and when to say no. That was hard in the beginning because I found my no answer was often responded to with the piling on of guilt. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean we should.
Beth Williams says
Timely advice & wisdom. God wants us to start our day with Him. When we do our days go better. Most of us struggle between flesh & spiritual. It is so easy to want to watch the news first before reading the Bible. We need to make it a priority to spend the first few minutes of our day with Him. Just take few minutes each morning & read some passages or do some breath prayers. They help relax you, plus allow you to commune with God. Talk with Him about your day. He is always there waiting for you. “We were made for so much more than juggling to-do lists”. He will help you get through your day!
Your words are so beautifully crafted in writing. They just flow with the truth of God’s word and the purpose he has given you within writing. What a gift he has not only given you, but others who are blessed by your heart after his!
Thank you for sharing in such a beautiful way. I love this verse and the perspective you gave on it was perfect!