A New Year of Balance

Madison Square Park, NYC
A little taste of spring…baby, it’s cold outside!

Every Christmas I hibernate–and yes, sometimes, like a bear I even grow a little “survival” fat, sorry to say. It’s the restful, away-from-it-all kind of life that I gladly sink into during those two blissful weeks my children are on Christmas break. I focus on them, on the Christ child whose birth we celebrate, on my faith in Him, and on my life. Sometimes I even focus on changes I want to make in the coming year.

I’ve never really been much for resolutions. They seem way too much like just one more thing to mess up. And heaven knows, most years I have way too many of those already. But I do have a few friends who have been using the “My One Word” approach to life transformation, and I decided to give it a try. Last year, without reading the book or any other detailed information, I chose the word “THRIVE.” After a year of chemo, surgeries and radiation, and another year of slowly rebuilding my strength, I desperately desired a thriving and active life–I thought.

What 2012 brought to me ended up as CHAOS instead of THRIVING, so as I sat in my peaceful hibernation state I pondered over how I would approach 2013, what was I seeking from myself and my life in this new year? And I knew in my heart that what I am always striving for in this chaotic world in which we live is SIMPLICITY. I am a minimalist at heart, but life and living with 5 other very active and creative (pack-rattish) souls has filled my world to overabundance with stuff and activities and energy and…chaos.

As I thought about my striving for simplicity in the coming year, I decided it might be a good idea to actually read the “My One Word” book (by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen) before truly embarking on this journey. Maybe if I knew the “rules” my focus wouldn’t turn to chaos by mid-June like it did last year! To be quite honest, I am still in the process of reading this astounding little book, but am quite taken with the approach and have been looking more in-depth at this word I have chosen, trying to make certain that this is truly where my focus needs to be. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that the book began with my favorite bible verse: “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12 NASB)

This morning as I drove home from taking Josh to school, I was pondering the word SIMPLICITY, and some of the synonyms I had discovered in last evening’s research through the thesaurus. As I thought about some of these words that I, quite frankly, didn’t associate with simplicity, the words got all a little jumbled in my brain and I felt once more the stirring stress of disorder. What I need, I thought, what I really need, is BALANCE. And then it all clicked. All the puzzle pieces fell smoothly into place.

Balance is what I have tried to teach my children since their early days. My children, by nature, are all rather obsessive, and when they find an interest they can spend days doing nothing but the one thing that interests them. They can even forget to eat and sleep. So I have tried to instill in them a sense of balancing their lives and their activities. Without balance we have disorder, discord and chaos…and stress.

On the days I actually watch the news, the thing I notice most in the world, is a lack of balance. Our lives spin completely out of control and we allow the circumstances and situations that arise around us to rule our emotions, our thoughts, and our actions; instead of balancing the circumstances against the eternal effects of our thoughts before putting them into action. Balance and self-control are sorely lacking in society today.

A synonym for BALANCE is HARMONY. HARMONY is also used in place of UNITY. And UNITY is, amazingly enough, one of those synonyms of SIMPLICITY that I was amazed to find on the list. In seeking a more ordered and SIMPLE life, I have come full circle to a concept that has had deep meaning and purpose in my life for years. Only this year, I shall strive to bring BALANCE to my own heart and mind before pushing it on others. It is the balance, or harmony, between living life in the real world and focusing our hearts and minds on the Creator of all things. The unity of our souls with His order for our lives. The simplicity of a life ordered and centered on Christ and His eternal peace instead of on the chaos and discord of all that surrounds us. And maybe, in allowing God’s true harmony to fill my life, I shall bring balance to those around me, as well.

I leave you with this passage from Job 22. In the God’s Word Translation, it uses harmony, the synonym for my word, balance, making it a perfect memory verse for my focus word. But in the Message translation it more fully encapsulates the essence of what I am seeking this year (and every year). Thank you, God, for leading me to this excellent summation of a life lived in balance with You! May we all strive to be in balance with our Heavenly Father and the chaotic world we live in. Happy 2013, everyone!

“Be in harmony and at peace with God. In this way you will have prosperity.” -Job 22:21 (GWT)

“Give in to God, come to terms with Him and everything will turn out just fine. Let Him tell you what to do: take His words to heart. Come back to God Almighty and He’ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil. Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury. God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.” – Job 22:21-25 (MSG)

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