One particular street in my neighborhood is extremely bumpy because of an abundant amount of potholes. So many potholes in fact that a few years ago, my minivan’s alignment was out of whack. You know – you let go of the steering wheel and the car drifts to the left or the right instead of going straight.
Ministry and life in general can be very bumpy and if those bumps aren’t addressed within a reasonable amount of time, we can be pulled in the wrong direction. So how do we balance/align it all?
First, realize that life will seem out of balance/alignment at times. Please feel free from feeling like you must have the ‘perfect’ life. What is the ‘perfect’ life anyway?
Second, recognize when your life isn’t properly aligned. I recognize this in my own life when
…I am easily irritated.
…I want to isolate myself from others.
…I complain a lot. Too much of this, not enough of this, blah, blah blah.
…there is tension in my home & relationships because of the things listed above.
Third, ask God to help you. James 1:5 (NLT) says, “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” I keep a list of go-to scriptures that help me refocus (I posted a list here).
Fourth, take proactive steps to remedy the situation. Here are some ways that I try to stay properly aligned:
- As a wife…I try listening more than talking (after almost 19 years, I’m still working really hard on this one!). I make time for time alone with my husband – we try to have regular date days and at least one weekend away each year. I try to show him that he’s still my favorite guy on the planet – small gifts, a wink or smile from across the room, or watching sporting event with him (without asking too many questions!) God blessed with a wonderful husband and friend & I want him to know it.
- As a mom…I try to spend one-on-one time with both of my children regularly and hear what’s happening in their world – I really love that. I give them my undivided attention when they are talking to me – I stop what I’m doing, look at them and listen really well. I make time for fun with them – going to movies, out to eat, playing games, watching a TV show, cooking a meal – I just love being with them. They are very busy these days (my son is a freshman in college and my daughter is a sophomore in high school) but that won’t stop me. I have been blessed with two wonderful children and I am so thankful for them.
- As a ministry leader…I thank God for my ministry and for allowing me to be part of His work. My ‘career’ is really my calling, so I go to work (most days) with a smile and good attitude. Why? Because I realize that it’s not all about me. Again, that is freeing. I am blessed to do ministry with other capable leaders who share the ministry load. Together, with God leading us, we serve children, families and volunteers each and every week. Staying properly aligned also requires that I manage my time well, communicate clearly, delegate properly, mentor those under my leadership, spend time with other ministry leaders and take my days off – a properly-aligned leader leads better.
- As a woman…I make time for me outside of the areas listed above. Honestly, this is the area that suffers the most when my life isn’t properly aligned, so I have to be the most intentional in this area. Sometimes I don’t spend enough time in God’s Word and prayer. Sometimes, too much time passes before I see treasured friends. Sometimes I don’t sleep well or eat well and sometimes my household responsibilities aren’t accomplished. I don’t do things that fill ME up or bring ME pleasure. What that means is that I have to make a plan and put these things on the calendar and do them regularly instead of thinking about them after the fact. I reach out to friends to have coffee or a meal together to catch up. I say ‘no’ to things to say ‘yes’ to taking care of me. I choose a really pretty nail polish when I get my nails done. I relish times to just do nothing other than catch up on a TV show or read a magazine or pin to Pinterest. I splurge on something new for myself. Kathie is a much better person when Kathie makes Kathie a priority.
Life gets bumpy but that means we have to hold on so that we stay on the right path…gives all new meaning to “Jesus take the wheel”, doesn’t it?!
What about you? How do you stay properly aligned?