A Balancing Act

>As a mostly stay-at-home momma and a very part-time minister, it would seem like I have a lot of free time on my hands. And I kinda do. Kinda.

As any stay-at-home parent knows, “free time” has to be filled with pretty mindless, easily interruptible, and quickly picked back up activities. You can’t get into something that requires too much detailed attention, is dependent on quietness, or needs single-minded focus for at any moment your kids could pop into the picture with a booger they need to show you, an epic issue involving the wrong color of purple marker, a battle over PBS Kids or Playhouse Disney, or something much worse like a bloody nose.

It’s relatively easy to get in a catnap here and there, but full-on siestas are completely out of the question. Showers are taken at random and pretty easy to fit in, but actually curling the hair and putting on the makeup are often considered treats in that they’re completely unnecessary when padding around the house all day, and the extra time it takes to do all that stuff is a luxury. It means that the dishes are done, the laundry is underway, and the floor has been vacuumed (the necessary duties of any SAHM).

Also, as any minister knows, part-time or extremely full, ministry requires a great deal of activity, planning, and juggling. Something or someone is always on your plate and even when you’re off, you’re still on. When you pray, it’s not just for you and yours, me and mine. Prayer is filled with them too. When you read your Bible the congregation is always hovering in the picture somewhere and nearly every Scripture passage lends itself to a sermon. It’s difficult to focus on spiritual growth for self when you want so much for the spiritual growth of others.

The balancing act is this. While I have free time, it’s not the free time my spirit needs. I need the kind that’s uninterrupted, focused, and quiet. The kind that’s just for me and me alone. God is leading me to a place of abiding. A place of resting and listening and being. A place of peace and solitude. But to get what He wants me to get out of this place, I need to be able to sit and stay for a while. I need to approach it like a long hot soak in a bathtub. Like a good ol’ novel that needs read page by page over the course of a weekend. Like a romantic getaway with the one you love. It can’t be done quickly or halfway.

I’m able to carve out time, here and there, mostly after the family’s gone to bed or Joe takes the kids to town for the afternoon, and I’m grateful for those moments. I just want more. My spirit longs for more.

I’ve been active for a very long time–praying for everything under the sun with petitions and requests and lots of words and emotions. I’ve searched the Scriptures for revelations and advice, figuring out ways of applying it to my life. I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to guide me to those biblical passages He wants me to share with others and seeking new ways of communicating ancient truths. I’ve prayed for godly strategies of sharing the Gospel and consulted others about strengthening ministries and growing leaders. I’ve done the activity. I still do the activity. Action is necessary; it’s a part of life. There are things that need to be done, period.

But I know, as I continue on my journey toward unity with God, abiding has to become as essential, if not more so, than activity. And I know I’m not alone in this. The husband that works 50 hours a week needs to balance the activities of his job and his family alongside abiding with God. The college student taking 16 credits, working a part-time job, and juggling dating in there somewhere also needs to invest in an abiding relationship. Our military men and women need a place to go and rest with God that doesn’t include other bunk mates, anxiety relieving rituals, or other spiritual activities, even if they are good and helpful.

Abiding is essential to our growth, our health, and our overall well-being. We’re good at doing; it’s the being part that we seem to have trouble with. It’s part of our human condition.

Where (and when) does the activity end and the abiding begin? It’s a balancing act.


3 Responses to “A Balancing Act”
  1. joyq says:

    That, my friend, is a book waiting to be written. Now go do that!!!

  2. Amanda O'Tremba Oster says:

    Joy–When I have some free time, maybe. 🙂

  3. Judy says:

    Yep, thank you for this too! So true!

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