How to Find Balance in Your Life
- Nathan Tabor NathanTabor.com
- 2017 14 Jul
For years I struggled internally to find balance. It didn’t seem to matter what I did, or how I did it, I simply could NOT find balance. The sad part is deep down I knew exactly what I needed to do but that wasn’t part of my plan.
Success was sweet to me. At the relatively young age of 40, I had worked long and hard, and I was enjoying the fruits of my honest labors. As a hard-driving Christian entrepreneur, I had managed to parlay my God-given business acumen, natural tenacity, and technological savvy into a bevy of business interests that generated hefty profits and a positive cash flow. I owned 7 apartment complexes (399 units), a car lot and a consulting company. All of them had been profitable business enterprises over the years. To all outward appearances, I was living the American Dream, and I relished that superficial image of glamorous prosperity.
But underneath my external veneer of entrepreneurial confidence and success, I was really a nervous wreck, plagued by spontaneous, unpredictable panic attacks. I was always working frantically just to keep everything going from week to week and month to month. My mind constantly ran numbers and deals. How much did I owe? How much did I have? When was the next deal coming or closing? I lived in constant fear that my financial house of cards was going to come crashing down any day. I woke up worrying about money, worried about it all day and went to bed worried about it.
Periodically I took my family on vacations to places, like London, Paris, Cancun, the Virgin Islands and Disney 25 times in 5 years. I thought it would be a distraction, but I was so stressed I couldn’t relax long enough to enjoy them with my wife and daughter. I was always busy on my cell phone or computer, talking, texting or emailing somebody about some business deal or emerging crisis back home.
The moments of happiness I got from trips and materials things didn’t fill the void that was growing bigger and bigger. I constantly felt the burden of managing my multiple businesses and dealing with the constant conflict I had produced. I was stressed, I was anxious, and I was becoming lethargic. I had become obsessed with making money, but my lack of consistent discipline as a business owner and manager was causing me problems and costing me money. And it was really wearing me down.
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Because of the stress that permeated my personality, I was living in constant conflict with everyone with whom I had to deal. I had a short temper and was easily angered. I also had developed a well-deserved reputation as a tough negotiator who drove a hard bargain. Because I could argue longer and talk louder, I usually won. But I didn’t make many friends in the process.
The hardest hit relationship was my marriage to a woman I dearly loved and adored. Our relationship wasn’t where it needed to be because of all the stress I was bringing into our home. I wanted more from our marriage and she wanted more but the ways we were trying to achieve our goals weren’t working. Neither of us was ever unfaithful, and we had never discussed divorce, but subconsciously I knew my precious bride wasn’t getting what she needed. I could feel Jordan starting to pull away from me, a little at a time. She didn’t like what she was seeing in me. She wasn’t happy and I wasn’t giving her much of a reason to be happy.
The more I tried to find balance in my life the less I had. I felt alone, rejected, and miserable. I knew something had to change radically and soon. I just didn’t know what to do about it, or how to do it.
I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior when I was six, was baptized as a teenager and I considered myself a reasonably good Christian person. But the older I got the further I got away from the Lord personally. I actually thought for a while that I was truly trusting God—that I was leaning on Him. But as time passed and things continued to spiral downhill in my stress-filled life, I slowly came to realize that I was really just paying lip service to God.
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The more I tried to get closer to Jesus, the more I saw how far away I really was. The more I read in the Bible about “trusting in the Lord with all your heart,” the more I realized that I was living my life trusting mainly in myself. I had pretty much turned to my own way, hypocritically using God as a sort of fallback safety net when things got too intense for me to handle alone.
I knew that I desperately needed help in every area of my life. So as a last resort, I turned to God and repeatedly started praying, “Help me, Lord.” I hadn’t been putting any time into my relationship with God, but I kept wondering, “Where is God when I need Him most?”
I never said a word about any of these problems to my wife, Jordan. I just couldn’t bring myself to admit to my wife that I was not the man of God I needed to be. In reality, I was ashamed to admit the truth to her or to anyone else. It was all I could do to admit it to myself and that was a real struggle. I was a prideful, self-centered egotistical man who was determined to have God on one side of the fence and my life on the other.
I knew beyond a doubt I needed God in my life. I needed to let God lead, guide, and direct me. But I was struggling. Then one day in the fall of 2014, I had an epiphany of sorts while I was reading Proverbs, honestly, I was just skimming it because I felt guilty for not having a daily devotional. Yet, God used this time to show me I was a hypocrite.
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Suddenly I saw, with perfect clarity, I was serving myself and my own carnal desires, worshipping material things and success. I knew I was going to stand in front of God and give an account for my actions. I would give an account for the testimony I had with others. I would answer for the husband and father I had been. Then it really hit me… My daughter would likely marry the type of man I had become. I was not the man of God that I wanted to be, and I certainly wasn’t the man of God I had been created to be. It was time to change.
Over the coming weeks, the Holy Spirit really started to work me over and instead of burying the thought of giving God control I started focusing on the thought. All the things I knew, all the scriptures I had heard, all the words of wisdom I had heard over the years really started to come alive. For the first time in my life, I was really moving to give God control of my life. I was moving from knowing God’s word to actually trying to apply it to my life.
“God, make me the man you want me to be!” “God, take control!” That was the cry of my heart that day. I confessed and repented of every sin I could think of – including the idolatry of worshipping money and the futility of trying to go my own way without letting the Holy Spirit control my life.
But I knew that I wasn’t done yet. I had made things right with God but I still had to make things right with my wife. How could I go to my wife and tell her I wasn’t the man of God I proclaimed to be? What would she think? How embarrassing would it be?
I walked into our bedroom crying. “I have a confession to make,” I said to Jordan. “There is something I have to tell you . . . right now.” “I have not been the godly husband that I should have been,” I said to her between sobs. “I should have been following God and leading my family in His ways. Instead I’ve been following the ways of the world. But I want to do better and I have asked God to forgive me and to help me change. I’m asking you to do that, too.”
I realized that Jordan already knew I wasn’t the man of God I said I was. Over the years, I had made promises to do better. These promises lasted for a season – a day, a week, a month or maybe even longer – then I would slip back into my old ways. But over the next few months, Jordan acknowledged and appreciated my sincere desire to give God control of my life. I really appreciated that vote of confidence from her. I needed the support and encouragement. By the same token, she needed to see me stepping up and being a godly husband and making godly decisions for the family, based not on temporary whims or earthly expediency but on the Word of God.
Another thing that amazed me was the reaction I got from other people as I began to make these changes. Because I must confess, I couldn’t keep quiet about what was going on in my life. It was all so radical, so transforming, so liberating to finally be following the will of God! I simply had to tell people what I was doing and why. I had no choice. And when I did...almost everyone was moved to start telling me about their own similar worries and problems. You see I thought I was alone. I thought I was the ONLY Christian man struggling to give God control.
As I released all the pent-up stress in my life and turned it all over to God, the tension just started to melt away. I shared my problems and my fears with Jordan, and oftentimes she was the one who came up with the timely solutions we needed. Now we communicating more honestly with each other, share our thoughts and feelings more openly, and trust each other more completely.
I’m not perfect by any means, but what I do have now is balance. My life is in control because I’ve allowed God to take the lead, and I strive daily to keep it this way.
If you are struggling to find balance why not give God’s way a try? What can it hurt?
To read the full story visit my blog at NathanTabor.com.
Nathan Tabor lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter. He has founded and owned over two dozen businesses since 1999, grossing over $150 million in sales. Some ventures have been wildly successful while some have been epic failures. He is passionate about applying God's word to his personal and professional life and helping others do the same as an executive coach and business growth consultant. Learn more about Nathan at NathanTabor.com.
Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: July 14, 2017