Balance. This is hard stuff, y’all.
When I first started writing out this post, I wanted to list all of the stuff on my mind today. I wanted to whine and gripe and dump my entire to-do list at your feet, as though I were saying, “SEE? This list is HUGE! This is the biggest list of to-do’s in the WORLD! You think you can beat that? NO WAY!”
In the end, though, I have decided that doing so would only be a slippery slope to self-pity and then, inevitably, a feeling of dire hopelessness……so I’m just going to say this: I have too much going on, and I am imbalanced.
That’s pretty much the purpose of this whole series. If you haven’t caught on yet, this is just as much for my own benefit as it is, hopefully, for yours.
I have always heard it said that I have to learn to say “no,” because if I don’t draw that line in the sand and create boundaries for myself, no one will. People won’t mean to, but they’ll suck the life right out of, well, my life. They’ll place demands on my time and my energy and my focus and, by no fault of their own, I will soon be stretched to the point of breaking. They’re just going on about their lives. They aren’t thinking about how they can sabotage my attempts at balance. In my inability to establish and maintain boundaries, though, I allow them to steal life from me. They may not mean to….but I let them do it.
How does it happen? For me, it happens when I don’t thoughtfully consider my purpose in life. It happens when I blindly agree to do random things without first considering whether or not it might fit in with what God wants to do with me. Awhile back, I completed the Chazown study for small groups, in which I wrote a purpose statement for my life:
My God-given purpose is to passionately seek to know God and to share my experience of Who He is with the Body of Christ, helping to encourage other followers of Jesus to grow in their relationship with Him and to have a deeper experience of Him in their own lives. God has equipped me to accomplish this through the spoken and written word.
That’s a mouthful, but it’s a deliberate mouthful. When I neglect this purpose statement, letting it become relegated to the topic of an old blog post and nothing more, my life becomes an aimless, messy mouthful of scrambled-up junk.
Pretty picture, huh? It’s really not.
I have discovered that staying busy does not necessarily mean that I am living the life I’m supposed to live. Saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes my way does not mean that I am embracing life. Spreading myself thinly over a million commitments is not the way to fully invest in any of them.
Being busy, friends, is not the same as having a purpose.
If you have never considered writing a personal purpose statement, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Personally, I plan to write mine on something prominent and put it where I’ll see it more often. I’ve been stretched and frazzled lately, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I have to do and convinced I’ll never get it all done; I can see now that the imbalance I’ve been feeling has been caused by my own neglect of my purpose.
I do think there is – guess what? – balance to be found in living intentionally, too. We must find a balance between being single-mindedly obsessed with our purpose and being aimless. See, if we live too focused on our purpose, it could become a very sinful preoccupation with our own plans. We could become convinced that we know how it’s all going to look…how it’s going to go…how it’s all going to play out. We can become blind to what God is really doing in our lives.
We have to remember that God gave us our purpose, on purpose. He has a purpose and a plan for us, and all that’s left for us to do is submit to it. We don’t have to figure it all out. We don’t have to have a detailed plan of action. If you do, that might be okay. Just be sure to leave room for God to work. He needs some elbow room.
“I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
But yes….you do have a purpose. Oh, yes. Yes, you do. And trust me: it is a purpose far above and beyond simply being busy and filling your days with activity. Your purpose is intentional. Deliberately given to you and only you. It is radiant and exciting and mind-altering. So what is it? What is your unique purpose?
Please, friends. Begin the journey of finding your purpose for life. (As I mentioned, the Chazown study by Craig Groeschel is a great place to start.) Look at your passions. Look at your experiences. Look at what God has already done in you, and you’ll be on the way to finding what He might still have in mind for you.
And knowing your purpose? It feels pretty amazing.