July 17, 2008

Check Your Balance

Mary Southerland

 

Today’s Truth

John 15:4-5 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NASB)

 

Friend to Friend

For years, I tried to earn the love and approval of God by doing everything I could find to do in ministry and at home. If a position needed filling, I filled it. If a job needed doing, I did it. If volunteers were called for, mine was the first hand raised. You couldn’t find a cleaner house or more organized schedule. After all, if I was doing all of these important things then I must be important, too. Right? The result was two dark years spent at the bottom of a deep, ugly pit called clinical depression. It was as if God allowed me to run to the end of myself, then shut the door and turned out the lights. I heard him loud and clear, “That is enough! It is time for you to abide in me.” I knew very little about “abiding” but a whole lot about “doing”. God said it was time to check the balance in my life.

 

One of the main factors in my battle with depression was that I didn’t understand how to live the balanced life God wanted me to live and the balanced life I desperately needed to live. I found it difficult to set boundaries, failed to establish margins of time for the unplanned or unexpected, and unwittingly surrendered my God-ordained priorities to the empty, vain addiction of just “doing the next thing”. Balance can easily become a casualty of this ongoing battle.

 

While sitting in the darkness, waiting on God, I discovered that the pit of despair is a common destination for those who refuse to measure and balance the sometimes overwhelming demands of home, family, friends, work and personal growth. I was surprised to discover I had been running the race for the wrong audience and as a result, relied on my own power instead of God’s power. It was not long before the emptiness in my heart was filled with darkness and depression. I learned many lessons at the bottom of that pit, but some of the most life-changing lessons centered on balance.

 

I wish I could tell you that I now lead a perfectly balanced life, but the truth is that I constantly have to re-evaluate my priorities and goals in order to find the holy balance God intends. I constantly have to make difficult choices between the good things and the best things. When I make the wrong choices, I can sense myself sliding toward the dangerous edge of darkness. I don’t want to go there again – so the battle continues. The good news is that I don’t have to fight that battle alone. God is with me, urging me toward the light and a life of resting in Him.

 

Let’s Pray

Father, I desperately need Your guidance in setting the priorities and goals for my life. I want to please You and do what You have created me to do. Help me to see and do Your plan. Amen.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

 

  • Ask yourself these questions: Is my life out of balance in any area? If so, what are the areas I need to bring under God’s control?

 

  • Take a day this week for a silent retreat. Go to the beach – a park – your back yard! Just get alone with God and take a spiritual inventory of your priorities, time management and goals. The results may surprise you.

 

  • Make a step-by-step plan to put the results of your inventory into action. Commit to discern and do God’s will for your life.

 

 

More from the Girlfriends

Balance is a never-ending struggle in everyone’s life. The only solution is found in discovering what God wants us to do – and then doing all of that! I know it sounds so simple but God’s voice is often drowned out over the voices of everyone telling us what the plan is supposed to be. Stop! Get alone with God. Ask Him to show you His plan and give you the discernment to follow that plan. And when you fail, do not let the enemy make you feel guilty. Just begin again! I did! You can read my story in my book, Hope in the Midst of Depression.

 

 

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