finding balance {gina's story}...

my insightful friend, gina, is sharing her "finding balance" story today.
gina blogs at contemplating beauty and can be found on instagram at @contemplatingbeauty.
gina and i crossed paths via instagram.  
ironically, gina's blog post was one of the three main catalysts in my own finding balance experience.
gina's wise words were so very helpful to me...
i couldn't resist asking her to share a bit with you.

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When I was asked by Erin to write a post for her blog about "finding balance" in life, I thought, "Why me, Erin?" Well, I knew why, because she had read one of my blog posts that she said inspired her. Which meant so much to me. But the reason I wondered "why me" is because it's not like I juggle a lot. I don't have a job, I only have one kid and she's off at college now. But I thought to myself, "I still have something to offer, after all I am still a mother, and I did work at one point for many years as a mother."
 For me it isn't necessarily figuring out how to "balance" anything. It's always a matter of the heart. This is what Jesus was all about. He always looked at the heart. That is why He said if you hate your brother, then it's like you have murdered him anyway. It's a heart condition, because we ought not have hate in our hearts or anything else that doesn't align with the Kingdom. Let me explain a bit more, because one of the three things I am going to share is about the heart. Which leads me to the first thing I want to share.


1.) DON'T TRY HARDER-
I hear a theme when it comes to life so often. "I try and try and still get nowhere", or something along those lines. Trying has to do with intentions. And intentions don't get us very far. A good intention can last for a little while, but soon burn out because we aren't doing anything about the deeper surface. We aren't addressing the real issue at, you got it, heart. 
You can try try, try all you want, but if your heart condition doesn't change, you will never change. All your efforts will be in vain, because we have to change from the inside out. Good intentions to change your behavior is an attempt to change from the outside IN. And that will never work.

For instance, when you say to yourself, "I'm going to have a great day today! I will not yell and I will not lose my temper with my kids." You have good intentions, right? And that's not a bad thing, it's just an unrealistic thing. A more effective, Godly way to deal with it is by looking directly into your heart. Yep, I'm going there. I know you might not want to. But exposing our hearts is the best thing we can do to have our hearts like Jesus.


In Matthew 6, verse 45 it says, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." And Henri Nouwen says it so perfectly from his book With Open Hands, "God is begging to be admitted into the human heart." And, "To be calm and quiet all by yourself is hardly the same as sleeping. In fact, it means being fully awake and following the close attention every move going on inside you.

If you or I are actually yelling at our kids, (maybe this isn't your issue, but think of something that IS YOUR issue that doesn't align with the Kingdom), there is a reason for it. And the reason isn't because you are stretched, exhausted and they are naughty. The issue has to do with much more than that. 

I was raised in an alcoholic home; my dad was a drunk, and he yelled all the time. We learned what we saw. So, sure enough, I took yelling into my adult life and into my marriage. For some reason I did not yell at my daughter, but I did at my husband. So one of the reasons we yell, if you are a yeller, is maybe because you learned it from your childhood. Also, maybe you have a wound deep within that hasn't been healed and you are dealing with it on the outside in the form of yelling. So there are two reasons you might be yelling. 
This is just one example of exposing your heart. It's about getting to the root of repetitive sin or bad habits in your life. And the one way to do that is to dig deeper into the depths of your heart and deal with what's in there that doesn't look like Jesus. There is a something deeper to the surface of your behavior. And your good intentions might last a week if you are lucky.
 Seek. Ask. Ponder. Wonder. Beg. Pray. Write. Plead. Cry. Shout. God will show you what needs to be revealed so He can give you a heart like His. This world has just jaded it. You want to BE how you were originally created to be. And by looking straight into your heart, asking God to expose you, is one of the best ways to do that. So long, good intentions. We don't need to "try" when God is changing us from the inside out!

“I am not going to stay stuck in that. I am trusting the Person who dwells in me. I am talking to Him. I trust in Him; therefore I am talking to Him, because I have no thought of making this thing work without interacting with Him.” Mike Bickle

Our external life is a reflection of our internal life.

"For out of the heart comes evil thoughts." Matthew 15:19


We have got to start becoming detectives of our minds. That's why the New Testament talks about "renewing our minds", and "taking thoughts captive". We are fallen, broken human beings, and all we are really doing is working to get back to who we were originally created to be. If we start with our thought life, and take thoughts that are not of God or that are ungodly, even in reference to ourselves, we can start to apply or replace those thoughts with Truth. When that starts to become a habit, then our feelings and emotions are more sanctified with the Lord's. Because feelings come from thoughts. Which then leads to behavior. And we want to look like Christ.


2.) ACT-What got Erin's attention was when I blogged about ACT. It's something I learned and was trained in as a Lay Counselor. It's acceptance therapy. It's all about learning to accept ahead of time that life is life and it will be messy. We have heard that "life is messy" so many times over. But honestly, ACT is looking ahead knowing, realizing and ultimately ACCEPTING that life is painful, it is hard, and we never fully arrive. ACT is accepting ahead of time the full understanding that each day will have a new set of problems. 
Remember in my first paragraph I mentioned how I see "Today is going to be a great day!" constantly? I'm not saying be a negative person. I am a positive, optimistic person myself. But with ACT, we deal in reality more, I think. We understand that each day has its own set of struggles. And that's OK. Some days are amazing, with little-to-no trouble, and some days seem the absolute worst, full of non-stop annoying, clumsy, frustrating things. And I guess some days are somewhere in the middle. 
But accepting that, even though, yes, we are given a new day with new mercies, doesn't necessarily mean it will be a "clean slate" sort of day at the end of it. It's going to be full of triumphs, trials, silliness, sadness, busyness, calmness, loudness, quietness, maturing, complacency, anything and everything! So much of our daily life depends on our awareness and perspective. And not judging ourselves. I like to think of myself as an OBSERVER of self! I gently notice and am aware of my mind, feelings and actions, and continue my walk with God as I submit to His shaping of my life.

3.) RELAX-One thing I have noticed in mothering and housekeeping over the last several years is perfectionism. I see it rampantly, and I'm not totally sure why, but I think it might be because there are so many of us in close community and the comparison game is so high. How can it not be?  There are so many creative, smart, productive women in our circles. 
Not only that, but I think trends can kill us as women and mothers. Trends on the latest baby stuff, homeschooling stuff, and clothing. Trends on the best foods, healthiest meals, and vitamins. Diet fads, hippie fads, hair fads, decorating fads, DIY fads etc.  We are pinterested OUT. How can any one human keep up? I mean it is ENDLESS. And exhausting. 
I used to keep up. Or at least I tried. We changed our lifestyle over in 2002. Ya, I'm old. We got rid of all plastic, we purged our pantry of all preservatives, additives, and fridge free of pesticides and antibiotics. I had glass tube essential oil diffusers for every room and did hot/cold aromatherapy baths weekly. I drank only spring lukewarm water. I unplugged my microwave everyday. The list goes on. It was exhausting and only brought me further away from the heart of my Father. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

I am not saying it's not a good thing to care about any of these things or to practice any of these things. I am saying it is my personal experience and opinion that the average woman today gets completely wiped out from these things if they take hold of her life. If they become idols. Idols are anything that we worship or spend more time in or on than God.

 Because perfection is an illusion, what ends up happening is that we fall short of all these things we are keeping up with and then we feel like the worlds biggest losers if we have a piece of pizza or dessert. We can become so engrossed in what is "in".  At least I did anyway. Every one of these things I mentioned might have a place in your life, but are you clinging to it? Are you focused and "trying" to achieve something with these things so that it invades your thought life? 
I've learned to relax. Hold on loosely to so much of this stuff. When I zoom out, I think about people. Others. The Cross is so others-focused. That is the true essence of the Cross. Yet all these things are about self. Hmmm.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2


I say look onto a new day with loose thoughts of how you eat, live, dress and buy. I am now less rigid. I've taken it all in stride now and I don't get life from these things. They are good things, or at least can be. But they can also be not-so-good things. Just like too much of anything in life. Besides Jesus.


So if you are wondering how I find balance, it's more of becoming balanced is what I have found works for me. I live and am changed from the INside OUT. I have an internal dialogue and am aware of my heart. And I bring it before the Lord hourly and specifically seek out how to have a "heart transplant" so I can be more like Him. It's hard sometimes, because we never want to face what "needs to go" in our lives/hearts. But I guarantee if you start internally, externally you will see more "balance".




Thank you!

{the other posts in this series can be found here.}


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