WORDS | SILVIA BOLANOS
PHOTOS | MARISS EANES & KATEY LEE
LETTERING | SAM PALENCIA
You know those times when you come to a point where you believe you are a little wiser and a little older than you were before? Those times that make you feel like maybe your life is regaining a little bit of balance, and you can stop for a bit to admire the view? Those times where you think your efforts are just enough to cover all the different aspects of life, and you feel good with what you have accomplished?
I think I was there a couple of weeks ago – I braced through transition and conquered changes without stumbling too much. As I sat back to see all I had done and the balance I felt, I realized how far off my priorities had really been.
You know how the world confuses you and makes you believe you have a grip on life as long as you go from one day to the next crossing things off of your to do list? Yes, the world confused me… – no, I confused the meaning of balance.
I let myself be blinded with worldliness instead of holiness. How easy it is for me to lose perspective of the everlasting and get caught up in what brings instant gratification.
From early on in life we are conditioned to believe that our worth comes from how many things we can accomplish, how well we can do them and how sane you stay through the process - how many classes you can take in a semester, how many degrees and minors you declare, how many jobs you can juggle at the same time, how many things you can cross off of your to-do list in a day, so forth and so on. All these things are constantly being scrutinized and you get either a grade or feedback for your performance. All of this is what we let determine how well we are doing in life – these things are what I measure to see if I am doing well or not. And oh, how wrong I truly am! I like to be busy, and that is not bad or wrong. Scripture tells us over and over again that we are to be diligent in our work, but I know that in my case, I let this justification misdirect my actions.
Filling my every waking moment with a task and busying my mind with day-to-day mundane undertakings is something that I struggle with every single day of my life. I believe I have accomplished much when in reality I have just been making myself busy to ignore the silence, to distract myself from the whispers of the Almighty that tell me my vision is out of focus. I feel the tug in my heart, and yet I decide to add even more things to my to-do list that will numb me from the knowledge of misdirection.
There’s a story in the Bible that talks about misdirection. In Haggai, this tiny little book almost at the end of the Old Testament, the Lord makes the focus of our work incredibly clear. The people of Judah had ignored the temple of the Lord; they would see the temple in ruins and would simply dismiss the little tug in their heart that told them they needed to rebuild it. They were focused on sowing and reaping for themselves, busying themselves with their own to do lists. At this time, there were prophets through whom the Lord would speak – so Haggai brings the word of the Lord to them. God knows, and they know, nothing would entirely satisfy them, no matter how much or how hard they would work, because their vision was out of focus and they needed reprioritize their actions.
Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.
I am constantly busying myself with my own house, my own deadlines, and my own to-do lists just as the people of Judah were doing. I forget about God’s temple, God’s work, and God’s priorities. My life is not my own, yet I live it like it is - I sow much and reap little. Nothing seems to bring true balance.
CONSIDER YOUR WAYS.
This is what God tells the people of Judah through Haggai - three powerful words that bring many things into perspective: consider your focus, consider your vision, consider your priorities, consider your heart, consider your thoughts, consider your goals, consider your intentions, consider your values…consider your life. Were the ways of the people of Judah righteous? Were they on the path of holiness or wordliness? Were their ways focused on working hard for themselves or working hard for the glory of whom all honor and glory is due? Were their priorities straight? If they had been, God would not have been calling them to action.
Dear unbalanced, remember why you are doing things in the first place and do NOT be afraid of the quiet, idle times – the times where you feel the tug on your heart and hear the clear whispers of truth. That is where you will clearly see how well or how bad you are doing, where you will uncover what your values and priorities are, where you will find the most perspective, and where you will have true balance. Consider your ways.