The Battle for Balance – Mary Southerland


Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

The reality for each one of us is that every moment of every day is focused on someone or something. We either set the focus through which we live and view life or we allow it to be set for us. A balanced life is focused on God as a result of sitting at His feet.

What does it mean to “sit at the feet of Jesus”? First of all, we have to stop. Now that is a novel idea for many of us. Mary stopped what she was doing—helping Martha in the kitchen—to come and sit at the feet of Jesus. Of course, Martha immediately began complaining that she had been left to do all of the work while her sister was wasting time. Listen, my friend, there will always be someone who will misunderstand or complain when you choose to do what Jesus told Martha was “the better part” (Luke 10:42).

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42).

Notice the word “chosen” used in this passage. Mary made a choice, and so must we. Making a choice to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling, and willful determination. God wants relationship-building time with us every day, which means time at His feet, in His presence, must be our highest priority. It is absolutely amazing to me how I can squander away the best part of my day, leaving Him with the leftovers and scraps of time, and then have the audacity to complain that my life is void of power and purpose. Distractions come from every side. Some of those distractions are good and wonderful things, but they are all still wrong things if they keep us from spending time with God.

Jesus gently rebuked Martha because she had forgotten what was really important. Oswald Chambers writes, “We can choke God’s Word with a yawn; we can hinder the time that should be spent with God by remembering we have other things to do. ‘I haven’t time!’ Of course you have time! Take time, strangle some other interests, and make time to realize that the center of power in your life is the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Every day you and I choose where we will invest our time. We plan and schedule everything from hair appointments to lunch with friends, but we sometimes fail to schedule the most eternal activity in this life, spending time with God. Do you need the power to live your life above your circumstances? Are you desperate for the peace and balance only He can bring? Do you long for a relationship that will energize you to carry the burdens and passions of this life? Then it is time to take inventory of the demands upon your time and begin sitting at His feet.

Being wrapped up in God’s work can easily become a shabby substitute for being wrapped up in His presence. The paradox is that we can only be wrapped up in God’s presence when we stop and learn how to wait on Him. While I absolutely hate to wait on anyone or for anything, I am learning that there is a divine purpose and sacred power made available to us in every waiting room of life. Waiting robs me of control. I am forced to face the unknown. Waiting on God may well provide the catalyst that will change my very life course. In each waiting room, He is at work preparing me for the circumstance and the circumstance for me. “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3 nlt). From those still, quiet moments of waiting and seeking comes a sacred balance that takes root and grows. It is through the choice to wait on God that a seeking heart finds every need met and light in the darkness.

We not only must stop and be still in order to sit at the feet of Jesus, we must learn to listen. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 instructs us with these words: “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.” I know that many voices clamor for our attention. The key to a balanced life is to train our hearts toward God and teach our spiritual ears to listen for His voice above all the others.

I taught third grade for several years while Dan attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I was fortunate to be assigned to one of the largest and best elementary schools in town. My class was one of seven third-grade classes in the school, which meant that the first few days of school were always chaotic. The PE teacher was a welcome sight when she appeared at my door to take the students out to the playground. After PE, it was the responsibility of each teacher to pick up her students. Seven teachers trying to get the attention of over 200 students was especially interesting on the first or second day of school when the teachers did not know their students and the students did not know their teachers. However, after only a few days, an amazing thing happened every year. When we lined up to gather our children, it took only a word or two for them to come running. They quickly learned to recognize the voice of their new teacher above all the rest because they listened to her voice all day long in the classroom. We must do the same. In every circumstance and situation, we need to listen for His voice.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus resets our life focus. It is in those moments when we have stopped long enough to hear Him speak that the battle for balance is won. It is after we have been still before Him that we are empowered to embrace a life of balance

Let’s Pray
Father, help me learn to cherish and make time to simply sit at Your feet and be in Your presence. At the same time, Lord, show me how to live a life of integrity in which I am a person of my word. Teach me how to discipline my steps and invest my time in a way that pleases You and honors the plan You have for my life. Only You can bring a holy balance to my life as I surrender my agenda and every priority to Your perfect plan. I do that right now.
In Jesus’s name,
Amen.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

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