Balancing Balance Part XII: You Get Just This One Life – Embrace the One You’ve Got!

“Did you hear about that woman who ran off and left her family? She had a husband and little kids and everything. Can you believe that?”
Now and then you hear a story about somebody who does that – a woman abandons her family, sometimes for another man, but sometimes for reasons unclear. I had an old friend with whom I had lost touch who did that several years ago, and I was shocked for a long time. Now, without at all condoning what she did, I think I understand a little better.
Do you ever hear yourself saying anything like this?
“If only…”
“Once _________ is over…”
“If I didn’t have to deal with ____________, I could ____________…”
Yeah, me too.
When my child didn’t sleep through the night, I looked forward to the time when she would.
When my grade-schooler didn’t “get” the times tables, I looked forward to the day when we wouldn’t have to drill them every twelve hours.
When my teenager had senioritis, I looked forward to not being the one charged with motivating him to complete his graduation requirements.
That was all versions of wishing my life away. I still do it sometimes, and it is common but foolish, because I just get this one life.
Much worse, but related, is what happened when a really hard time came along.
When my life turned upside down several years ago in a period of need and crisis, I tried to run away.
Well, I didn’t literally run away, although I came very, very close. That I stayed physically in place is no occasion for praise, however, because I ran away mentally and emotionally from a life I did not ask for.
I did not appreciate the way God was blessing me every single day. I did not realize He was giving me an opportunity for growth. I did not consider what my attitude was teaching the ones under my influence. I wasted my blessings, my opportunity to grow, my influence, and that part of my life, which was shameful.
Yes, there were extenuating circumstances. Yes, we were pushed almost beyond our ability to cope. Yes, others might have behaved the same way.
Nevertheless.
I confess this in the hope that you will understand that I write from a position of regret and determination to do better, which is all we can do when we realize we have failed.
We run away from our lives in lots of ways. We run away from our lives when there isn’t even anything seriously challenging about them. Women have been doing it generation after generation. The apostle Paul even wrote about it:
“And besides they [women] learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not…”
But we don’t do that, of course. Instead, we spend hours on facebook, or playing Farmville, or texting, having a spa day, or shopping, or watching a chick flick, or having a girls’ night out.
Ouch.
Yes, I am being tough on us. And, no, I am not saying these things are wrong in themselves. You already know that, right? I am talking about when these “treats” become more of the main course of our days, when we use what ought to be an occasional diversion as a distraction from our real lives – the ones in which we are called to serve and teach and sacrifice and submit and lead and grow.
If I let that happen, that nagging sensation I feel is my conscience prodding me. I don’t feel quite easy within myself, because I know I am neglecting people who depend on me and responsibilities that belong to me. I know I am exchanging my real life for some sort of escape – I am running away from the one life I get.
My life is out of balance and I am never going to feel peaceful until I come to my senses and stop running.
And after I stop running, I can be still long enough to tell myself the truth and finally embrace my life.
If I have a sink full of dirty dishes but I hate washing dishes, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about adulthood and embrace my life.
If my husband wants to quit his city job and start farming but I hate to get dirty, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about marriage and embrace my life.
If my kids are running the show but I feel intimidated about bringing them up, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about love and embrace my life.
If I love caviar but we have a beans income, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about finances and embrace my life.
If there are needs around me but I am jealous over my time, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about my purpose here and embrace my life.
We all just get this one life. Don’t run from it – embrace it.
“Nothing is more endangered in the modern world than the powerful
combination of hard work toward meaningful goals joined with an
exuberant embrace of the present moment.” Tom Morris
P.S. I think this is all I have to say about Balancing Balance, and aren’t we all glad, unless of course if something else occurs to me; in that case I make no promises. In case you missed one and want to read:
Is there a part of your life that is hard to embrace? Is it something that actually needs to be altered or does it just need to be accepted? What helps you embrace the hard parts of life?

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8 Comments

  1. Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Very well said,Lori! Such wise words, but so hard for me to practice. Thank you for this-very timely. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you. It’s hard for me, too, which is why I needed to talk about it.

  3. Posted April 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Contentment is such a hard issue. It is something that God has been placing on my heart for the past few months and I have to admit it is exhausting. I have to choose to be content, then isn’t just something that will come naturally to me. One of the biggest lies I believed was that no one else had this problem but me. It is a lie Satan placed in my head and on my heart. My life is far from perfect and it certainly isn’t what I planned, but it is the life God has blessed me with. I have to remember that it can be taken away from me at any moment. I am blessed, beyond measure or comprehension.

    • Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know anyone who DOESN’T have this problem from time to time. And just when we reach a true state of contentment, our lives change and we have to adjust again. 🙂 I appreciate your honesty, Samantha. God bless us both in these things.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I shall now go put on my steel toed boots, and re-read this. ouch!!! I needed this!!! And please don’t stop writing thoughts about balance. I am very unbalanced right now, and needing this sermons!!

    • Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I think I’ve nearly exhausted it, although I’m sure it will pop up here and there in other posts. Thank you for the positive feedback!

  5. Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I needed this. This line in particular hit me:

    “If I have a sink full of dirty dishes but I hate washing dishes, I’ve got to tell myself the truth about adulthood and embrace my life.”

    Ouch. That’s me.

    I think something I’ve often been bad about (and I’ll use college as an example) is knowing I can usually get by with leaving the assignments I don’t like to do till the last minute, and spending too much time on stuff I want to do, and still get an A on the assignment. I got too used to that, I think. Not having to face the consequences of imbalance. But now, dishes and housecleaning – it’s not something I can leave to the last minute and “turn in”, get a good grade and forget about it. It’s ongoing and it’s a responsibility. I need to grow up .. a lot. Thanks for this post Lori, it hit me right between the eyes.

    • Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Interesting perspective about how school can train us to behave this way. I certainly did the same thing, and it certainly took me a few years of marriage to make peace with everyday chores. I still fight them sometimes, I’m sure, although it is WONDERFUL when one gets mostly past that.

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  • In My Kitchen, In My Life is a place where women (and the odd male) can be encouraged, nudged, and occasionally kicked in the pants toward living their lives on a higher plane. Oh, and readers get plenty of chances to laugh at the author's foibles, which is always worth a click.

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