Everyone has someone in their life that seems to have it all together. Often it is not a close friend or relative (because when you really get to know someone you realize that no one really has it all together).
One question that is frequently asked of me as a woman in ministry is “How do you balance everything?” Well, the short answer is, I don’t. My laundry piles up in my laundry room. My kids don’t always get a full night’s sleep before school the next day. My kindergartner often does his weekend homework on Monday morning before school. And I certainly do not provide healthy, well-balanced meals for my family every night. But I don’t think that balance is the key. It is not about separating every aspect of my life and making sure everything gets equal or adequate attention. It is about integrating everything.
As a family, we try not to separate family time and church time. It is all family time. Sometimes we are together at our house. Sometimes we are together at a piano recital or a t-ball game. Other times we are together at church. During our Code Orange Revival, my mother offered to let my kids go and stay at her house for at week. And while that would have been easier, it went against our whole purpose as a family… we do it together. I want my kids to have a front row seat to see all the amazing things God is doing in and through our church (at an age appropriate level) and they cannot experience that if they are not there. A lot of those Code Orange nights, they came only for the beginning of church and then went home with a babysitter. But they got to meet almost all of the speakers, and they got to experience some of the worship, and they got to participate in our children’s ministry.
I am also working on being with my kids when I am with my kids. You know what I mean by this. I am learning (please hear me say I am learning) that I need to get my stuff done when they are at school or napping or sleeping at night or with a sitter. The time for me to read my bible or prepare for my small group or work on my blog is not from 3-5 pm when they are waking up from naps and coming home from school. I want to work my schedule so that I can be not only present but active with them. They love it when I sit outside while they are playing. I need to be with them when I am with them.
Integration can also happen in my personal life. On the many mornings when I did not get up and have a cup of hot tea and read my bible before my kids have woken up, that doesn’t mean that my day is shot spiritually. God wants me to integrate my relationship with Him throughout my day. I can listen to a sermon at the gym, or while I am unloading my dishwasher. I can pray while I am driving my car and my kids are listening to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” for the 100th time. I can work on scripture memory with my kids while they are eating breakfast and I am packing lunches.
I do not get this right all the time. But I work towards integration, not balance. Colossians 3:4 says “When Christ, who is your life, appears…” Christ is my life. He is not a part of my life. And I want to live like that.