Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding Balance

Balance is defined as, "poise; to be proportionate to; to be in equilibrium; be even". Not that I know this from experience, on the contrary; I know this because I just looked it up in the dictionary! But -oh!- isn't that what we all long for in life?

Whether we home school or not, it takes very little effort to swing the pendulum of busyness in one direction or another. We all tend to live in a lopsided world. We eat too much, we clean too much (not my particular hang up), we work too hard, we watch too much TV, we play on the computer too long (guilt, guilt!). One way or another, we all tend to be drawn to certain things, at times compulsively, and to the detriment of many other things in the process.

Homeschooling adds a whole new dimension to this little foible. We can bury ourselves beneath the load of school work and laundry, never to know who we really are at the end of the day. We can get way off on a tangent and study something to death, neglecting all other subjects. (For me, it is always a temptation to read good books to my children FOR HOURS)!

As the teacher, we can become so consumed with teaching we forget about about mothering or being that fun-loving wife our husband once knew. It just doesn't take long to find ourselves so far off balance that we live in regret, guilt and remorse. We are overweight, under rested, and a bundle of nerves that aren't much fun to be around.What's a woman to do?


OK, not really. I think one key idea is to learn to say "no" to some things we would really like to do (plan that field trip, design that unit study), and learn to say "yes" to some other things that we really should do, but often do not want to! So many of us don't take the time to read a book for ourselves, to exercise (not just for ourselves but to be good examples to our children and to have a quality of life with them and our husbands), and most importantly: spend time in the Word getting a real perspective on things! I am guilty, guilty, guilty of all this and more.

Thanks be to God that His mercies are new every morning! So wonderfully true, but how can I take a step toward changing life long habits? What are some pointers that can help us stay on the pathway of balance? There are several practical steps that can be taken.

A good place to start is by talking to your husband. Tell him how you feel. Chances are he feels the same way about much in his life and it will be good just to discuss these issues together. Ask your husband where he thinks you may be "living lopsided". What are some things that may be important to him that you perhaps never manage to do? I think we must truly start by serving our husbands. Our children should not demand the first portion of our priorities, if they do then we are starting off out of balance and that just causes further complications.

Secondly, talk to your kids. Are you wearing them out? Are they wearing you out? Are there some subjects that can be let go of or done less frequently? Are you slave to the curriculum when there are some things that could be skimmed over or skipped all together (some of you may be choking on such a thought!)? Are there chores that can be delegated to the children? Are they so busy with school they have no free time nor time spent quietly with their heavenly Father? Often putting balance in the lives of our children will cause us to strike more balance on our own.

Remember, you are HOME schooling. Key word: HOME. Sometimes we just become a taxi for our children's climb to the top of Mount Valedictorian.

Finally, above all, ask the Lord to reveal to you what your priorities should be. This may be a process that happens through some of the above suggestions. It may be something he shows you privately. It may be through a friends caring remark...but you won't know it if you aren't looking for it!

I remember being convicted about using the expression, "there aren't enough hours in the day." That is really a lie from our overly scheduled culture. The Lord has given us 24 hours and He has set before us a home and a family and a vision for both. He has a designated time and season for everything, even our messy, crazy lives!

Now, if I can just remember everything I said here, maybe tomorrow I can get it right.

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.