Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest blogger Courtenay Folk: The Balancing Act

Balance

Balance… It's something I strive to have, and I’m still striving.  As a wife, mom, and missionary my life can be hectic. God has been teaching me that balance is so important in my life with Him and His ability to be glorified through my life, words, deeds, and ministry.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of balance is time management. Making sure that I balance my time so that I can have time with God, my husband, my kids, and my ministry in a God-glorifying manner is a hard task

This is where I struggle the most. I co-run a Christian bilingual school in San Francisco de Dos Rios.  If I'm not mindful of balancing my time, I can be consumed with running the school, our students, our families, counseling, our staff, curriculum, lesson plans, learning differences, and discipline of students. 

In reality my ministry is not my first calling, even though it can consume the majority of my time and energy.  

I am, first, a child of God.  I must have time with Him and Him alone.  

I am, next, a wife.  I must prioritize my time with my husband and not let that slip by the day.  

Then, I am a mom to three wonderful children.  

Then, I am the academic director of our school.  

And I must WORK constantly to keep that balanced, and not let my work at our school be on top of the scale and outweigh the rest.  

Time management is not the only place where I need to focus on balancing for the glory of God.

We can bring God so much glory by having Him balance our thoughts.  Have you considered that?  If we let our thoughts go astray and focus on our perspective, our worries, our needs, our life, we won't be able to glorify God with our hearts and minds and words.  

Our minds are our battlefields.  Satan can depress us, stress us, distract us, and worry us there.  Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5, tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  

With all of the current events and our lives in general, it is easy for our thoughts to stray off of the sovereign hand of God.  I've found that if we are to be "more than conquerors" of our minds, we must turn our thoughts to God, His character, and His sovereignty at the first moment of stress, frustration, worry, or fear.  

Philippians 4 lays out God’s plan on how to accomplish this. In verse 4 Paul tells us to rejoice always.  He does't say rejoice sometimes.  He says always – in the good times, stressful times, sad times… you name it, we are to rejoice and worship our Lord.  

Tthink about when you feel closest to God.  Is it through prayer, reading of Scripture, praise music?  When thoughts come that draw you away from God, train your thoughts to do the opposite, and draw near to Him through worship. Rejoice in Him.

In verse 5, Paul says to let your gentle spirit be known to men.  I find that, when my thoughts are not balanced and glorifying to God, if I serve others in some way, then my focus is no longer self-centered.  If I am, with a happy heart, helping a teacher with her lesson plans or a problem in her class, then I am not dwelling on my stressor or my worry. 

Verse 5 ends with, “The Lord is near.”  That' exactly what a balanced life looks like.  The Lord will be near.

Verses 6 and 7 speak of not being anxious, "but in all things with prayer and thanksgiving to let your requests be made known to God."  I think of this as not being whiney when I am spending time with God. If my kids come to me and whine about plans I have for them, I don’t like it.  

How much better and perfect are God’s plans for us and our world.  Let us go to Him in a worshipful, thankful manner to speak with Him.  

And look what verse 7 says will happen:  God’s peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.  If you do this, you will not have to guard your own heart and seek for your own peace, He will do it for you!  

Verses 8 and 9 bring having a balanced thought life together. 
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Do you know the future?  No, but you can trust in the one that holds it in His hands.  If you are stressing or worrying over something, sad about something, angry about something, turn these thoughts (that are not balanced and glorifying to God) to what is true, what is honorable, what is right, what is pure and lovely, of good repute and dwell with God there.  

The definition of dwell is to live in or at a specified place. A balanced life is a life that is dwelling in all areas with God.  

Learning these lessons from Philippians 4 has transformed my life in Christ, and I hope they've encouraged you, as well. 

As each of us struggle with daily time management and balance in areas of our life, may we each strive to have the correct balance in our minds and hearts, so that we can not only have God’s peace that surpasses understanding, but that we might, through that peace, bring glory to God.
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Courtenay Folk is a Global Outreach missionary in Costa Rica, wife, and mother of three children. You can read more about her life at her blog: http://www.fivefolks.wordpress.com/
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In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: My Eye Trouble and God's Sufficient Grace
Here's the link to the worldwide prayer list: The Prayer List
 photo above courtesy of freeimages.com