Living a Balanced Life (Part 2)
There are two main reasons we get under stress. We try to do too much and we try to do it in our own power. Both of those are killers. They'll wear us out and your energy will go down and we're out of balance and the joy leaves. We need to get plugged back in to God's power. Jesus offers us an exchange program.
Matthew 11:28-29 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
If you are carrying a heavy load today, it's not from Jesus. It's not from God. He does not place heavy loads. Today we're going to look at the final principles of balance from God's Word:
4. I Adjust my values
The reason we need to do this is because in balancing our lives the reason we get out of balance is our values get out of balance. We may have to do some thinking about what's really most important in life.
Mark 8:36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
I'd say, what good is it for a man to become president of his company and lose his kids or his wife? What good is it for a woman to get that career promotion and lose her kids or her husband? or anything else? What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
What happens is, we become possessed by our possessions. The things we think we are managing are actually managing us. They control us. One of the reasons why Americans have a hard time relaxing is because, in our society, we confuse our work and our worth. They are two very separate things. We think that what I do is the same thing as what I am. We think that my identity is all wrapped up in my career, and my net worth determines my self worth.
That's all a lie. Your identity has nothing to do with your career. It has to do with who God made you to be.
As a pastor I've been by a lot of bedsides when people died. I've seen a lot of people take their last breath. Sometimes at a hospital, sometimes in a home, sometimes at a scene of an accident. In all of the people I've watched die in my life, I've never heard a single person say with their dying breath, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." Not one. "I wish I'd made that one more sale." I have heard a lot of people say things like, "I sure wish I'd spent more time with my kids." or "I sure wish I'd got to know God better." or "I sure wish I'd focused on the things that really matter."
Adjust your values.
5. I Nourish my inner life
A very important part of living a balanced life is learning how to nourish your inner life, learning how to nourish and tend the inner fire that God puts within each of us. He puts an inner fire within each of us that gives us a passion and a reason to get up in the morning. It's a fire that has to be tended. If you don't tend it, you will find that it goes out eventually and you are then trying to live your life and meet other people's needs from very cold embers rather than a blazing fire.
What are we neglecting in our life right now out of busyness? What is it we have stopped paying attention to or stopped doing completely because we are just too busy? Maybe it's praying. Maybe it's spending time with God. Maybe it's doing stuff with our kids. Maybe it's spending time with our spouse. Maybe it's the friend that we haven't talked to in a year because we're really just too busy. What is it that we've stopped doing because we're so busy?
Psalm 119:16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
God called David, the man who wrote those words, a man after His own heart. If you're finding the fire in your life has gone out get back in contact with the living God and let Him begin to warm up your heart again. To be balanced you have to nourish your inner life.
6. I Commit my daily schedule to God.
Each day, we have to commit our schedules to God, knowing for an absolute fact, that our life is not going to cooperate with our schedule.
Psalm 31:15 My future is in your hands.
When we live by that verse, the stress level goes down. We may make our to-do lists, but commit them to God, knowing that He alone knows what we are supposed to be doing on any given day.
In Matthew 9 is the story of Jesus on His way to heal a dying child. On His way to heal this dying little girl, a woman who has a chronic illness of over 20 years stops Him and He stops and heals her. I look at that and think, "Why can't this lady wait?"
Jesus understood this principle. He understood that the Father knew where He was supposed to be at any given moment, and He was willing to be flexible and let God show Him where He was supposed to spend His time.
If we want the stress level in our life to go down, we must allow ourselves to be flexible. Give your schedule to God.
7. I Enjoy the moment
Ecclesiastes 3:13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
I want you to beware of the trap of "when and then" thinking. When and then thinking goes like this: When I achieve this goal, then I will be happy. When I graduate, then I'll be happy. When I get engaged, then I'll be happy. When I reach this certain economic level, then I'll be happy.
The point is, you won't. The moment we get there, we'll enjoy it about three seconds and then be thinking "What's next?"
We need to learn to be happy in the now while we're working on goals. It's ok to have goals. God says to work on goals, but we need to understand that the goal of life -- the reason we were put here on this earth -- are two things:
1) Know God, and enjoy a relationship with Him.
2) Use the talents and gifts He gave us to serve others because that builds character for eternity.
And while you're doing it, enjoy all the moments.