finding balance {kim's story}...


my friend, kim, is sharing her finding balance story today.
kim doesn't blog.  and she really doesn't instagram.
but kim is one of my longest-standing, very best friends in the world.
kim and i met in our very first class on our very first day of college, and were roommates for our junior year. 
she was the "lady of honor" in my wedding...
since she was already married and we both thought "matron of honor" was just too...well...matronly.
i value kim's opinion {and regularly ask for it} on everything from homeschooling curriculum 
to cleaning out closets to fish tacos.
yes.  fish tacos.

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For years, I wanted to be balanced.  I tried.  Really hard.  I tried so hard that I think that some people thought I lived a balanced life.  But inside, I was a wreck.  I was the “I’m so broken I can’t even cry”, “wonder if my life was always going to be so hard”, “fake it…though you’ll never make it” kind of girl.  I was in a marriage where I was measured on a moment by moment basis.  I had to do everything right, look right, clean right, and perform right.  To me, balance was exactly as we all envision it  – as we teach our kids.  Put a crayon in one side, then balance it with an eraser.  Put a penny in one side, then balance it with an m&m.  That was my life.  Laundry on the left.  Exercise on the right.  Cooking on the left.  Cleaning on the right.  Socialize on the left.  Homeschool on the right.  And the list goes on.  All day.  Every day.  I could never get it right and I could never be enough.
 
Then, my world fell apart and looked just like I felt on the inside.  A disaster.  The whole balance toppled and spilled the discarded contents of my life.

Infidelity.

Abuse.

The loss of my own moral compass.

Divorce.

Not a great list, I know.  And you’re probably wondering what that has to do with balance.  For me?  It meant everything because there was no more hiding behind the façade of “okay”. The real me was spilled out for everyone to see.  I had to reevaluate everything:  what I do, why I do it, and who I’m trying to please.  Those are really big questions, that in the life of a believer – which I am – should all point to the Creator and to my Savior.  But, they didn’t.

But even in my brokenness, I was not alone.  God saw me.  God loves me.  God wants me to be whole.  And, God gave me a gift.  Perspective.  Honesty. Truth. Self Control. Unselfish. Good. Pure. Love.  All wrapped up in one handsome package – my husband, Seth.  (Don’t worry – this is not going to be a love story… I’m truly getting to the balance part!)  Seth and I were friends when we were kids…the best of friends.  And he knew me.  He also knew that when we renewed our friendship almost 20 years later, that I was not the girl he once knew.  One time, I remember him saying, “Who are you…where is my Kimmy?”     So began the hours, days, weeks, and months of introspection.  This led to conversations about what is really important and what it really means to be balanced.

Here is the heart of what I learned and what I TRY to live every day.


When Seth and I started talking marriage, he gave me a list:  Relationship (ideals), Fitness, Diet, MAKING time for each other, Doing Right, Budget, Family, and Church Involvement.  He asked me to number them 1-8 in order of how I view them in light of our relationship.  Try it – it’s hard!  But I did it and so did he.  Then, we compared our lists and saved our results.  It was a way to prioritize what we believe is the most important.  It gives value to what is important.  For example – we have SIX kids.  If one wants to play hockey, we need to look at that in light of the things “above” it on the list – Does it fit into the budget? Does it take too much sacrifice of our time together? etc.  And if it fits, then we say yes.  

Another example – On Tuesday, I was supposed to go to Bible Study.  I REALLY like the Bible Study and the group of women who go.  BUT, we just finished a REALLY hectic, busy vacation week with all of the kids SO, Seth cancelled on his golf league and asked me if he could take me out to dinner and spend the evening with just ME.  The Kim of old would have felt so much guilt and would have gone to Bible Study because *gasp* we can’t go on a date instead of Bible Study!  But, according to our list, Church involvement comes after MAKING time for each other so the decision was an easy one.  And there was no guilt.  (Disclaimer:  Church involvement does not equal my personal walk of Faith, but how I view that is another story for another day!)



I was and AM clumsy.  Not coordinated.  AT ALL.  I can barely walk across a balance beam without falling off.  Truly.  I wobble. Now, picture balance in this way…like a balance beam.  We are walking a line through this life.  What that line looks like is up to us. Our line could be as thin as a balance beam and we could wobble and fall and get back on and wobble and fall and get back on…  Or, we can build a foundation that is wider.  Firmer.  Stronger.  One that even I, in my uncoordinated state (and don’t we all feel a little uncoordinated as we navigate our lives?) could skip and hop and dance across!   We do this by determining the right priorities and living by them.  By living a life firmly established on Biblical principles.  I truly believe that life – that balance -  shouldn’t be so tricky.  Your list of what is important to you won’t be the same as ours.  Yours might include bed times, kid activities, alone time, work, etc.  Think back to the other blogs on balance that you’ve read in this series:  it’s not about comparison to the specifics of how I found balance.  It’s about you building your own platform on which to walk…on which to balance.  It’s critical that we look inward for balance – not at the ever changing landscape of “style”, social situations, neighbors, and friends.

 

My previous, broken life was that way because there was no foundation on which to walk.  There was no choosing to do right and turn from evil.  There was no value placed on what is important.  That left me – clutzy me! – trying to walk a tightrope.  We need to DISCRIMINATE (Yes…I used that word!) against the things that threaten what is important, truly important, in our lives. 
I end with this thought:  Some of you are struggling with balance and you would like me to tell you HOW or WHAT to do…  If that is what you’re thinking, please go back through and read this post again.  It’s not about a formula or about getting everything right.  It’s about BEING right.  About being consistent in your choices.  About building a foundation of solid thinking based on your priorities.  Consistently CHOOSE to live your life CHOOSING what is important.


Balance comes from a strong platform on which to walk. 


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



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