Santa gave her the floor.
“When I was fourteen I literally ran away to the circus. I was in love with the ring master. He had me on the tightrope. My parents had never really been there for me. They were not terrible people but they had other priorities and I usually felt like I was just in the way. I figured they would never miss me. Well I married that ringmaster and my life has been a high wire act ever since. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had been a priority in my parent’s life.”
Everyone looked at Rosie and tried to imagine this plump woman walking on the high wire.
Rosie seemed to be able to read their quizzical looks. “I was skinny back then,” Rosie said with a laugh. Santa continued his lesson.
“Learning balance is tough. Most of us growing up in the 80s remember the Karate Kid having to learn balance by standing on the bow of a boat while Mr Miagi is rocking the boat. Balance in life is more important than simply knowing how to stand. But of course we must do that as well.
Balance in life is following the example of Christ. Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew physically, mentally, Spiritually and socially. My opinion that if the Son of God had to grow in those 4 areas than we are arrogant to believe that we do not need to do so as well.
Step one of incorporating balance in your life is to plan that balance into your daily and weekly plan. I use highlighters to color code my week. I really love the events that actually hit 2 or more areas. Things like church get me a workout in the Spiritual and social realm. I have broken down my social growth down to family and community so I actually get three areas. More bang for my buck. While I am running I listen to podcasts. Double the benefit! I work to make sure that all areas are as much in balance as possible for the week. I have not found it possible to be balanced by the day since work and opportunities are unpredictable. But I can typically do this easily by the week, IF I plan ahead.
It all begins with the basic structure of the week. Work to ensure that overall that you have a plan to lead a balanced life. Unfortunately we are only at the beginning. That is only balance in your own personal development. You also need to find a balance with work, family, children and marriage. Wow! This gets tougher and tougher. I must work so my kids can eat. But I need to spend time with my kids so that they grow up healthy emotionally. No pressure. Add in if you desire to be a leader there are routines that you must work in to develop as a leader.
Trust me this is difficult. But as we build grit remember that we do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard. This is how we live heroically and excel. It can be done and you have the raw material to make it happen. Plan your week by whatever system works for you. I know many different folks all working to pull this off and most have their own systems. I color code my planner. Yes I have the information of appointments and standard meetings on my phone. But I like to look at my week. Am I lacking somewhere? Am I out of balance? Who is getting robbed?
Now if you are robbing work for your family make a plan to pay back your work next week and vice/versa. That work, home and life balance can happen. But you must live deliberately for it to be real in your life.
Now within each of these areas of professional development (physical, mental, Spiritual and Social) we must be balanced as well. (Balance within work and home is different and I will discuss those much later so stay in touch.)
When I was in high school I knew a guy who was a focused weight lifter. He could out bench just about anyone that I knew. Day after day he worked his arms and chest until he rivaled the chest of the Arnold. But he did not work out his legs, ever. He had these skinny little chicken legs and on his huge muscular frame they looked silly.
Many people I know when it comes to physical fitness find their favorites and stick with them. That is good. But if you are a runner you still may need to lift a VW off of your wife someday. All of that running will do you little good in that case. If you are a body builder you may not have the endurance to run through the forest to save the damsel in distress on time before the villain slays her. So stay with your passions but expand yourself to do more in other areas. Also consider practical exercise like chopping down a tree or lifting bricks. Those muscle groups will serve you well. Just make sure that you are allowed to chop down the tree first.
As Mike shared earlier, Jesus is a great example for us. Jesus had the toughest mission ever given. He had to live a perfect life in the midst of a sinful, fallen world. As modern day warrior monks our mission is tough. We are surrounded by temptation and called to live pure and holy lives. In order to pull that off we must live a life of balance just as Jesus did. The same idea goes for our mental health. We must read, listen and learn in a diverse number of ways. Too many people get stuck with one mode. You can learn from anyone if you simply pay attention. I love to read but I can get stuck reading only those things that I already agree with, so to strengthen my mind I sometimes need to read the material of those who live in opposition. Sometimes it turns out they are not evil, they just disagree on some point. It is even possible that I can like that person despite our differences. Talk to people of different races and cultures with an intention of learning how they think and act. Do that without judging but simply to learn. This is a mental exercise. It will help you remain balanced. Obviously we are moving to Spiritual health and any truth that you read or learn needs to be in harmony with Scripture if it is to be taken as truth. But go out and listen to podcasts, read blogs and books and magazines, watch Utube videos and attend ITUNES University. Do it all and learn, apply and live a healthy mental life.
Finally, Spiritual disciplines have been lacking as of late. They don’t market very well. There are no 5 easy steps to being Christ like. Many books have inspired men and women to read their Bible, memorize Scripture and fast; but people following through are short lived at best. Why is that? Physical, mental and even social growth can only really help us in this life; but Spiritual growth catapults us into eternity. Why will we not take time to focus on these things?
My theory goes like this. To be like Christ, we must live like Christ. It sounds nice in a Hollywood sort of way. Many will dismiss this as impossible and not even try. But those that do strive will discover what Jesus is really calling us to, what it really means to be like Christ. What they discover is that the truth of the Gospel is that we who are His followers, must suffer as He suffered. Everyday Jesus saw people who were going to Hell. That had to break His heart. Throughout His ministry Jesus hung out with Judas and longed to tell him that he was going down the wrong road. However, being obedient to the Father meant allowing Judas to make his own calls. When you serve Christ, honestly, you will experience pain.
The Gospel of suffering was bragged on by Paul, predicted to come for all believers by John and James tells us what it is all about. If you want to grow Spiritually you must be willing to suffer.”
Everyone in the class looked overwhelmed but Rosie made a few jokes and they closed in prayer.
Rosie walked with Angie on the way out. Sarah stayed to clean up a bit.
“Do you need a safe place to stay?” Angie asked quietly. “Maybe, but not tonight,” whispered Rosie. “Tonight I am going to clean the house. Every bottle of booze will be out of the house. I will make a nice dinner for my husband and then I am going to share with him the new rules of our home. I am going to establish our foundation.” Angie stopped walking. “And if he says no or comes home drunk?” “I am also going to change out the lock on the front door. If he is sober he can come in. It’s time that we put our lives back on the solid ground.” Angie looked impressed. “I will be praying.”
“Thanks I will need it.”
As Sarah left ahead of Mike she saw him go into the chapel. She watched him as he knelt on in front of the prayer bench. Sarah realized that she had no seen a prayer bench since she was a child. Her mind went back to memories of her childhood and being at an evening service for many hours while adults cried at the prayer bench. Others would be walking around praying out loud. Tears welled up in Sarah’s eyes as she remembered consistently waking up at home. She must have fallen asleep and been carried home because the adults prayed so long. “They took their faith seriously. I wonder why we don’t do such things anymore at my church?”