“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.:--Psalm 42:11.
As I begin this post I must confess I am not one who may adequately offer insights into the balance between “life on and off the page.” Perhaps the following will be accepted by readers as the words of one who bears the scars of a once imbalanced life. I am a life still under construction.
Twenty years ago the walls of my life collapsed around me. If not for my family, I would not have survived. I was raising our family with my wife, I was working full-time, I was a part-time seminary student and a bi-vocational pastor. As a husband and father I knew I had to work to support my family. There was nothing unusual about that, of course. I wanted to improve my skill set for ministry and to serve my church at the time.
Somewhere along the line of my life, I forgot about me. I entered into a Tunnel of depression (I wrote about this in a previous post for InScribe). I had failed! I failed my family, I failed my work, and I failed my church. In my search for a way out I read Christian works on God’s strength and stuff like that. I came across an article by a well-known Christian figure from the past. He stated that if we experience such things as burn out, we have stepped away from God’s will. Ouch! That counsel didn’t help. Now I realized I had also failed God! After reading that statement I believed I didn’t want to find my way out.
In time, however, after groping around in the dark, I found my way to the light. My pen and paper helped me dig my way out of the crushing darkness of the Tunnel. The debris of my failure began to be cleared away by the words I wrote. Those precious words that saved me!
I cannot say a verse of Scripture from God’s Word came flashing into my mind. I wish I could for that might sound more “spiritual.” All I can say is, words I wrote to myself, informed me my life had lost balance. In time I left pastoral ministry in order to follow the path God was directing me to. I realized my hope is in God.
Gradually God led me to work/ministry devoted to “my teachers” such as people confined to care homes. Often they are people locked away in their own minds seemingly with no way out. I come alongside them and hear their cries as they pour out their life stories. Oh, the privilege to be gifted with a listening heart!
I continue to struggle at times with balance in my life. I think that is why I believe I am not one to offer insights to other people about balance in life. I am merely a work in progress, I hope.
My heart still grieves at my past failures. Like sin, my failures are like a dead horse that won’t lie down. Even now, as I write this post, I can weep at how much I have failed. My balance, however, was found through the hope God has promised His children. A hope no one, not even my wife or family or closest friends, can offer. A hope that looks beyond my failures, my imbalanced life, and assures me I am loved.