Reflections on Balance and Rejuvenation

work-life-balance    It’s hard to believe that I have served as the Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church since March of 2007. It seems like only yesterday that I was interviewing with the Pastoral Nominating Committee. I remember a conversation I had with the committee about my philosophy of ministry. In that conversation I told them that I believe that I am called to live a life that is a positive example. One area that even before I came to northern Virginia I knew I would need to model positive behavior was in the area of self care. I knew that our area was one of the most competitive and demanding climates in the country. The DC Metro area was and is an area that is engaged in the struggle to balance family, work and faith.
    I recall saying to the PNC that I would do my best to live out a balanced life. I even told them that at times this might run in opposition to the desires of some in the congregation. Some congregants might see the taking of personal time as a negative. After all, most folks in the business or government sector don’t get to take time to address their spiritual needs.
    For many years I believe that I have been pretty successful in setting a positive example of living a balanced life. That is until this past month, when I realized that things have caught up with me. I have recently experienced the fact that the struggle for spiritually healthy living is one that can catch up with you in exponential ways. Not only did I realize that I had lost a positive balance, it happened in a quick manner.
     Here’s the rub though. This struggle occurred not because of the stress of negative happenings. It’s easy to see how fights, losses or deaths can easily challenge our psycho-social-spiritual balance. I have come to realize that success and positive outcomes can be even more dangerous. This past Thanksgiving through Easter was one for the ages at Christ Presbyterian Church. The whole experience was one that as a pastor, I have dreamed about. Working with Barbara, our choir director, on comprehensive and cohesive worship is extremely rewarding. I can’t tell you how blessed I felt through our worship this past six months. I truly believe that God has done some truly amazing things.
With that said, it is easy to overlook the amount of spiritual energy that is put into such things. Not to mention the desire to continue the momentum. Still, blessings can easily become curses if we don’t keep watch. If we empty ourselves into good things, we still will find ourselves empty at the end. This perhaps is the real struggle of our life in Northern Virginia. There are so many positive and uplifting opportunities that we want to avail ourselves of. Not to mention, given the current economic climate, it is even more critical that we show that we are diligent employees willing to sacrifice for our employer.
    Even our children experience the struggle for balance. Between school work, sports, music lessons and the like, it is easy for our children to become just like us, over-committed. It’s easy for family dinners to fall by the wayside and for families to become roommates.
    This past week after the first service, someone pointed out that I used the word rejuvenate multiple times. I guess my words were revealing my inner thoughts. The dictionary speaks of rejuvenation as the act of making young again. I like the image of making yourself young again. Not just because I am getting a bit more gray in my hair, but more so due to the way the young approach the young. Each day I am more and more amazed at how children are able to let go. To see children on a playground with reckless abandon is perhaps a glimpse into the heart of God. You can see this when someone falls and gets a skinned-up knee. In no time the child is back at it with the same enthusiasm.
    Yes, we all have responsibilities. Yes, we all need to get things done. Recently I have heard this cliché a few times, “We should work to live, not live to work.” I pray that you may find time to make your spirits young. Rejuvenate your heart. Restore your soul and seek a positive balance in your life.

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