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BALANCE: My One Word

January 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

Courtesy of Wordle.net

So, we’re well into the new year, and I’m still trying to refine my personal goals. First though, I must make a true confession:

I am not Superman. I am human.

Sure, you’re probably not overly surprised by that. However, at some level I’ve been acting for far too long like I am somehow Superman. Although I’m a minister and understand all too well the dangers of compassion fatigue, I have allowed my life to become completely and totally unbalanced. How do I know?

MY PROBLEM

I work an ungodly number of hours each week, often ‘forgetting’ to grab lunch and frequently staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. to work on a project. Sometimes I don’t make it to bed at all.

I don’t spend sufficient time with my family — totally focused and engaged with them. Sure, we’re often in the same room, but the ‘electronic leash’ called the iPhone manages to occupy my time and compete for my attention. And I frequently find myself browsing the internet on my phone while browsing a separate page on my laptop. That’s insane.

I don’t take good physical care of myself. We’ve already determined that I don’t always eat meals as I should. What I do eat is usually not that great for me nutrition-wise. We’ve also determined that I don’t get adequate sleep and rest. And I can’t overstate how much of a toll that takes on me in a multitude of ways. It’s no wonder that I’ve developed a number of health issues over the past several years. Fortunately, there’s nothing real serious going on that I’m aware of, but the stress of life exacerbates every little problem. My doctors have warned me that I must slow down and take care of myself.

MY SOLUTION

All of this is just to say that rather than listing a whole lot of resolutions that I’ll probably just end up breaking after a short while, like many people, I’ve decided to focus on just one word for this year. That word is BALANCE.

Now I’m sure that sounds all well and good. I’m sure you’re all for me making some changes. However, this perfectionist is going to have to accept some stark realities. So are those who associate regularly with me.

MY ACTION STEPS

In order to achieve my goal of leading a much more balanced lifestyle, I am going to have to make some choices that — for me — are pretty big ones:

      • I will disable the audible e-mail alert on my phone.
    • I will not bring my phone to the dinner table. It cannot be welcome there.
    • I will not always get work done with the speed and level of detail to which I and those around me have become accustomed. We’re all just going to have to deal with that disappointment.
    • I will make a concerted effort to get proper nutrition, exercise, and rest.
    • I will delegate some responsibilities to others who are perfectly capable of doing the work.
    • I will take time to slow down and spend quality time with my wife and kids. (It’s a well-known fact that ministers often have some of the most dysfunctional children. May that not be my legacy as a father.)
    • I will learn to tell people ‘No’ — especially when their need simply evidences poor planning or lack of forethought. Not everything is my problem.

MY EXAMPLE

I am committed to doing whatever it takes to restore balance and health to my life. After all, how can I effectively counsel others to live balanced lives if I’m not modeling that kind of lifestyle? This is not about will-power; it’s about making good choices — one after the other — with God’s help.

BALANCE. It is absolutely non-negotiable for me. I must never let myself get to this point again. Ever.

IT’S YOUR TURN!
What word do you need to focus on during this calendar year?

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Self-evident. Really? These familiar words from our Declaration of Independence seem to hold less merit with each passing year.

Today Southern Baptists across this nation recognize ‘Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.’ A national day to acknowledge the value of human life was first set aside in a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. That, of course, was eleven years after the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. The principal decision repealed all state laws prohibiting abortion.

Now, some 39 years after Roe v. Wade — and more than 50 million abortions later — many in the Christian community continue to pray for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Of course, with an increasingly liberal set of supreme court justices, such an ambitious goal seems unlikely in the near future. Still many individuals, churches, and pro-life groups continue to wage war on behalf of the unborn.

Perhaps no one more deeply regrets the high court’s decision than Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe,” the plaintiff in the case. In her book Won by Love, McCorvey explained her changed view on the issue of abortion:

“I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”

McCorvey, now 64, has since been re-confirmed as a member in the Catholic Church. She is an ardent supporter of the pro-life cause.

Having served as a licensed therapist for a number of years, I have personally witnessed the damage that abortion does — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Increasingly, there is concern in the medical community about physical harm as well, including a possible link between abortion and breast cancer.

Of course, only God knows the full scope of the impact of abortion. However, in my therapeutic and ministerial counseling with women, I have seen first-hand the anguish, torment, and far-reaching effects of abortion on family relationships. I only know that what many Americans want to view as a choice is altogether inconsistent with both the words of Scripture in Psalm 139:13-16, and the Judeo-Christian values that our nation’s founding fathers sought to serve as the cornerstone of our republic. Consider these words from President Reagan:

“Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right.”

Reagan argued that it is impossible “to diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.”

Perhaps the most amazing thing about God is His ability to forgive the sin of those who call upon the name of Jesus. If you have had an abortion, you can still find forgiveness in Him. If you are considering abortion, please reach out to a local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Their staff can help you find solutions that preserve both the life of your baby and the integrity of your emotional self. (Click here to find a center near you.)

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

  • Pray for those who may be considering abortion.
  • Find a way to volunteer or otherwise contribute to a Christian family ministry or local Crisis Pregnancy Center. (Diapers, formula, baby clothes, and bedding are always in demand.)
  • Consider adopting a child or serving as a foster parent or respite care worker.
  • Become involved in your local or state pro-life movement, and be a voice for the unborn.
  • Pray for an end to legalized abortion in America.

On this Sanctity of Human Life Day, let’s pray and work together for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be equal rights for both the born and the unborn.

IT’S YOUR TURN!
Does your church participate or somehow acknowledge Sanctity of Human Life Day? If so, how? Do you have other thoughts or comments to share on this subject?

Did you like this post? If so, you might also be interested in these previous posts:

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