Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unbalanced but Centered

Almost every day, I drive by some ducks huddled near a patch of open water.  Since open water is in limited supply this time of year, it’s no surprise to see the ducks there; I know they need to stay close to the open water in order to survive the winter.  Because of this reality, whenever I pass the ducks, I can’t help but think about how we too are created to stay close to the Source and Strength of our lives.

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about finding/living a balanced life.  These discussions are popular because we all seem to want to achieve this rather elusive goal.  And they seem to be related to the question of whether or not we can really have it all (my impression is no, at least not all at once).
However, I am beginning to think that a completely balanced life is a myth.  After all, there will always be things I have to do simply because that is what needs to be done.  Sometimes, doing what needs to be done trumps what I want to do, and sometimes, despite my best-laid plans, it just isn’t possible to make it to the gym or get the sleep I need, things that help me feel balanced.  To me, that is life.  So for me, the question is not How can I find the right balance? but rather How can I stay centered while managing all that is on my plate? 
It’s with this in mind that I start to think about the ducks, because the ducks are my picture of what it looks like to stay centered…gathered around the source, close to the living water…knowing that their livelihood depends on it.  And as I think about the ducks, I’m reminded of the book of Isaiah, where God offers us an invitation to abundant life by saying, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat…incline your ear and come to me; listen, so that you may live.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

As these words remind us, we are created to dwell in relationship with God—our Creator, our Source, our Strength.  Like those ducks, it’s by huddling close to God that helps us remember who and whose we are as we go about our day-to-day lives, no matter how demanding or interrupted those days may be.

Drawing close to the Living Water doesn’t have to take a long time or be complex.  But it’s by drawing close that we receive the power of God’s Spirit to be the people of God we are created and called to be.  And when we do make the effort to live a centered life, though our lives may never be perfectly balanced, they are filled with meaning and purpose.

This article was first published in my column "Connecting Faith and Life" in the Alexandria Echo Press Newspaper.  It was published on Friday, February 28, 2014.

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