Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Balancing the 'Boxes'

I know many people use the phrase, "juggling too many balls in the air," which is another way of saying how they keep everything in their life in order, but for me it's, "balancing boxes." It's the same idea, I suppose, but I cannot juggle and just the visual thought of me juggling the important things in my life causes me anxiety. It seems more doable, to me, to balance one box on top of another rather than throwing all my responsibilities into the air and hope that I form some sort of rhythm to keep them all in the air. Either way, I simply want to say that I realized that I have many boxes and the mere task of balancing them each day and keeping them balanced is quite the undertaking.

Okay, so what 'life boxes' am I holding in my arms? The 'life box' of quiet time with the Lord, marriage box, parenting box, home-schooling box, cleaning the house box, menu planning- food shopping -cooking box, extended-family box, friend's box, ministry box, diet and exercise box, blog box.

(This is me, with my black, crazy, hair, balancing some of the boxes in my life-just to give you a fun visual).

So, with all the 'life boxes' that I am carrying around each day- trying to walk straight, trying to keep them in order, one on top of the other, never allowing them to slip or fall- I've recently realized something. As much as I want all that the Lord has for me, as much as I want to do and obey anything and everything the Lord calls me to, I have found  that I am too afraid of Him giving me one more 'box.' I'm afraid of Him asking me to put all my life 'boxes' down and shift their order. I'm afraid He'll want to take a 'life box' away. I find that if I just keep going straight nothing gets disturbed and there are no surprises, no confusion. I've realized that I've been controlling my 'life boxes' and not allowing the Lord to control them. I've been too afraid. So, I guess you can say, I've not trusted Him.

It all came to a head back in April. I felt the Lord tugging my heart to take on a new 'life box' labeled 'exercise and dieting.' I felt like I wanted to sit and cry. I thought, "HOW? How can I put one more thing into a very packed day? Who will watch the kids? When am I going to find more time to make different meals for myself alongside the preparation of making three meals a day for my family?" My heart raced. My head ached. I wanted to obey, but was anxious about it. Then one day the Lord showed me how. I was able to put it into my 6am slot, workout, make a protein drink, take my vitamins, shower and then start the rest of my day. I have since lost over fifteen pounds!

My 'homeschooling box' has always been one that I have tightly gripped. Home-schooling started out okay-ten years ago. I chose a curriculum for my first son, studied it, learned it from cover to cover, and loved it, but in time I found that no one else was using it and I felt very isolated. Many people didn't like the curriculum I was using and told me so. They urged me to change the curriculum I was using. I believed in what I was doing, but found that I wouldn't really consider changing because I was too afraid. I was afraid of letting go. Afraid of loosing all the work I put into the curriculum and  having to just trash it all was too much to consider. Afraid to face that maybe I made a mistake- and that was really hard. Afraid of not having the time to learn a whole new curriculum and then finding out that I didn't even like it! I held on and would not let go. I wanted everything to stay the same. I wanted to feel safe. I reasoned with myself that my children liked it, my husband learned from it when he was a child, and I agreed with it's teaching methods, but the fact that I could not let it go, face the fear of God calling me to change has always bothered me. It made me feel like I have been a failure as a home-school mom.

Most of the people I knew were always changing their curriculum, trying something new, but not me. No, everyone knew that Ellen was doing the same old thing and no one ever wanted to hear how it was going for me and my kids. Well, I'm glad to say that after years of living insecurely, I have finally surrendered. I put the 'home-school box' down and said, "Lord, what home school curriculum do you want me to pick up?" As I studied other curriculum's, opened my heart to change, I saw myself falling more in love with what I've always done! The Lord had called me to what I picked so many years ago, but because I was too afraid to ask Him, I lived in fear instead of the confidence that I was in His plan.

I will tell you too that I've also struggled with the Lord changing the 'size' of one of my 'life boxes.' You see I have a 'friend's box'- it is a small box-it's always been small. Because of fear, I've only allowed a few women into my life at a time. The fear of having friends came from a fear of rejection. And in my thinking, being rejected by one friend was a lot easier to handle than ten friends worth of rejection. But God is changing that! My 'friend's box,' for the first time in my life, is getting bigger and bigger. All kinds of women are entering my life and I love them all. I want them to come over and I want to go to their house too.

I'm so happy that my 'friends box' is getting bigger. The fear of having more friends being too heavy to carry hasn't happened. The fear of being rejected by many hasn't happened either. The fear of people not liking me or my home, seeing the 'mess' or how I haven't been able to garden or grow grass hasn't stopped people from wanting to be a part of my life.

The bottom line is- I've surrendered. I used to control all the boxes-their size, shape, amount, but as I grow in Jesus, as I learn the true character of His love and redemption, grace and mercy, I feel safe. My trust grows and as I can hear His voice leading me, the fear lessens. Now, I can switch out 'life boxes' gain boxes, loose boxes. It's all okay because the One telling me what to let go or add is with me, wiser than me, loves me, and knows what I can handle, and He has a a good plan for me-and it's not one that leads to destruction.

What is this life if we don't: hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, obey God, trust Him, humble ourselves to allow God or others speak into our lives? God will not stand at the top of the path, point, and say, "Go down that road a ways and I'll catch up with you in about a year." No. Our God leads us, AND goes with us. We have to know Him to trust Him. He is trustworthy.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

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