I have discovered something about myself over the last 23 days or so.
I do not like being out of balance.
It explains why I never much cared for teeter-totters and my general dislike for odd numbers. (The number 19 makes me shiver.)
I want symmetry and even-ness. I want balance. And I want chocolate.
So it was possibly the dumbest thing Josh and I have ever done when we agreed to try out a new kind of “lifestyle” for 30 days. Meat, vegetables, fruit, and certain nuts and seeds for one month. No dairy. No gluten. No grains of any kind. No rice. No legumes. No sugar. No goodness. No joy in life. For 30 days.
(I will not tell you who convinced us to embark upon this foolishness, but he’s one of my brothers and he flies airplanes. Let the sleuthing begin.)
Yes, I’m sure we’re healthier for it, and we’re doing ourselves a favor, and our bodies will thank us, blah, blah, blah. It’s hard, and I miss chocolate.
But most of all, more than anything else, it’s gotten me all out of balance. I spend way too much time thinking about food and shopping for food and preparing that food and cleaning up that darn food and dealing with all that darn food’s blessed compost.
Where I used to slap together a few sandwiches for lunch, I now calculate appropriate quantities of protein and healthy fats and which vegetables we need to eat before they go bad in our fridge and I have an aneurism because eating healthy is entirely too expensive and for goodness sake just give me some barbeque chips and a coke.
I’m out of balance.
And I think it’s starting to show.
I was tucking Hattie into bed this weekend. Somewhere along the way she acquired a small flashlight that shines a tiny circular map of the constellations wherever it’s pointed. This particular night, it was pointed at my tonsils.
“Mommy?” Her tone was serious.
She looked closer.
“Mommy, have you been eating any proteins today?”
I laughed, but I immediately knew. If your four-year-old is talking “proteins,” you’ve gone to far. The Halls are, officially, out of balance.
And I realize now—though it’s perhaps too late in this case—that if Mom and Dad are out of balance, there’s a good chance the rest of the household will be out of balance too.
It happens so fast, doesn’t it?
Life comes with built-in distractions: work, school, relationships, exercise, hobbies, sports, dreams. They’re not bad things necessarily, but they do tend to be a bit two-year-oldish at times. Look at me! Pay attention over here! I’m the most important!
But beware of their danger. The Bible is clear on it.
“But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
Life will attempt to choke God out, if given the chance. We’ll get too busy or too distracted making money or too obsessed with shopping or sports or “proteins,” and we’ll stop seeking the Lord.
And let me be blunt. When we have stopped seeking the Lord—through our personal time in the Bible, through prayer, through meditation on scripture, through fellowship based on Jesus and what He’s done for us—then we are definitely out of balance.
The teeter-totter is tipping, and we would be fools to let God sit at the bottom.
So what do we do to keep things in their proper balance?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children” (Deut. 6:5-7).
So I had to apologize to my children today. I’ve been distracted, and I’ve not “impressed” them with the Truth as I should. They have heard far too much talk of carbs and protein and fats in the last few days, and not enough of the Good Stuff. The stuff that really matters.
But it’s not too late to get things righted with them. God is full of grace and forgives us readily. We need only to seek him to get those priorities back in balance.
As it says:
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).
Balance = Jesus first and everything else second. (And proteins? They don’t even enter the equation.)
Now that’s good math.
What about you? What knocks you off balance?
And the winner!
Congrats to Jennifer P.! She won a bright, shiny, non-Christian-chewed-on copy of God Bless Our Fall. Thanks to all who commented and subscribed. You guys make me happy.