The Art of Peaceful and Restful Living1:10 AM
I really, really appreciate your comments on my balance post yesterday! I wasn't planning on continuing with that one, but your comments really got me thinking. I would like to continue with more thoughts, and as always, would love any feedback!
Let me start by saying I think my scale picture might have been a little misleading. I definitely don't believe that priorities and values are in opposition to one another. I believe that they help us stay balanced as life's curve balls are thrown our way. They act together to achieve an element of peace in our lives. Peace... Now there's a word I like. For me, to be in a state of balance means a sense of peace. There's little inner turmoil or stress and I can handle changes with a little more ease. I believe blissfule said it best when she said, "if I'm putting God in first place, I'm getting the 'me' time I need." Not only do we get the "me" time we need when we put God first but we achieve that balance, that state of peace, that less-stressed-out person, a little easier.
You might have seen in the comments section yesterday a link to an article called To Serve Is To Suffer. This article really got me thinking as it offers a different perspective than the idea of trying to achieve peace and balance in our lives. It might be interesting to read it in the context of your own vocation, whether that be a job or motherhood. I read it in the context of a missionary on the field which will probably have a totally different affect than reading through the eyes of motherhood. To be honest, I don't entirely know how I feel about this whole idea. Yes, the apostle Paul suffered for the cause of Christ, and yes, there's an element to suffering that I believe is right and biblical and brings us closer to Jesus, which is our ultimate goal, right? But can we live a whole life of suffering? I mean I guess with God anything is possible.
I used to be the one who was go, go, go. Serve with all your heart and give every bit of yourself. Rest? That would come sometime in the future. That was before I had kids, and before I had served on the mission field for 14 years. My thoughts toward this have changed somewhat. It all began during our first year in Africa. On more than one occasion, the question, "who is caring for the carer?" came up. It really got me thinking. God's heart breaks to see young children orphaned, sick, and alone. We can't sit idly by. But the fact is, and I don't say this selfishly, He cares for us, too. And that's why, I believe, we have to find balance in the midst of it all.
In the article I mentioned, the author talks about the differences between the West and the East. Paraphrased, he says that the East gets this idea of suffering better than the West. It's true that hedonism is a stronghold in our part of the world, but I've met far too many ministers of the Gospel in Africa who are hanging on by a thread, because they are worn out. No one told them it was ok to rest. Can't we be more effective if we take that time to recharge? I read verses like Galatians 6:9, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary," and I see that big IF. How do we not grow weary? We find that balance, that rest that we all need from time to time.
In conclusion (before this post gets any longer), I'm not saying that we shouldn't be willing to suffer. Life is not about us. I'm not saying we need to focus on ourselves here, but I do believe balancing all of life's stuff is vital. However, maybe the method to achieving balance, or peace, or rest, or whatever your own word might be, is different for all of us. Maybe different seasons call for different levels of suffering, peace, and rest. I realize that I'm in a season focused on rest, so I'm a bit biased that way. Thoughts? And feel free to agree or disagree. I love hearing other's perspectives!