Earlier this year on Epiphany Sunday, I drew my personal “star word” for 2018. I first heard of this practice from another RevGal, Rev. Marci Glass. (You can read more about it here.) For the last several years, I’ve chosen a word and used it for reflection. Just as God guided the Magi to the Christ Child, so God guides me.
This year, my word was “Balance.” My initial reaction was “very funny, God.” My second thought was, “ooohhhh, OUCH.”
This year has completely been about Balance. Balance about my health. About my family’s changing needs. About my adjustment to the day-to-day professional challenges of being a hospice chaplain. About wanting to be an advocate in the public arena. About leadership in a national non-profit. About choosing when to write and what to write about.
You can call it “chance” that I ended up with that word. But I suspect that the Spirit knew what I needed to see hanging over my desk, day in, day out. Do I have it all figured out? Am I now a truly “balanced” person? Well, no. But I can honestly say that I know now when I am out-of-balance and have to stop and get my equilibrium.
Recently, I made a decision to step back from a leadership role. There were many reasons, but the bottom line was that I recognized how out-of-balance the stress from that role was for me personally and spiritually. I’m not someone who backs down from a challenge! (If you know me at all, you’ve figured that out.) The health challenges of my body got my attention. The emotional stress reinforced it was the right decision. Self-care is sometimes very, very hard and I am too stubborn for my own good. (I write more about this here…)
I returned to the words of a song by Carolyn McDade which reminded me why I was out of balance. I was taking on more than God had called me to do.
“No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself.”
It’s not selfish to make choices for your own growth and self-care. It’s not irresponsible to say “no, I’m sorry, I can’t” to a request for a very good and meaningful cause. It’s not impossible to admit you can’t handle the toxic situation you stumbled into rather blindly. And most of all, it’s not a bad thing to fulfill your obligations – until you simply can’t do it any more.
And, beloved, when you find that “sweet spot” — that place of Balance — it is very, very good. Just the way we are Created to be.