Monday, November 14, 2005

impossible balancing act

Ever since motherhood, I have been approaching life as a balancing act. I’ve been searching for the magical formula that will give me just the right balance between home-life, family-life, career-life, volunteer-life, church-life, etc. When I get too much of one and not enough of the others, I start feeling out of control, unbalanced. I lose track of some of the balls. I feel I need to regroup and try to figure out the formula again. And usually the new formula works for a time, it’s fresh, it’s fun, and it’s exhilarating!

And so my life has had this pattern of trying to arrange the balls just so, putting them up in the air, juggling them for a while until I start losing some of them. I’m at the end of a cycle again and it’s been family-life that has suffered. As I was discussing my dilemma with my pastor, he suggested that searching for balance probably wasn’t the answer. Apparently, I need to rethink my whole strategy for life!

I recently heard an interview with a soldier. He said it was sometimes very difficult to compartmentalize his soldier-life and his home-life, especially when he is on the cell phone with his wife and she’s talking about her “bad” day with unruly kids and he’s thinking about his “bad” day cleaning up dead bodies. Compartmentalization was necessary for him to focus on the task at hand or he might get shot. But the cost is high as it wreaks havoc on relationships because the whole person is never completely present.

I struck me that this is what I’ve been doing. I hadn’t been thinking of it as compartmentalization, but as I’m juggling, I’ve really been assigning out pieces of myself to get the tasks done. And when I’m working on one task, another part of me is usually occupied with lists that need to be completed for other tasks. I’m rarely wholly involved with the task or relationship or situation at hand.

So I think my new strategy for life is wholeness. Now I need to go figure out what that means.


Just started a new family hobby called geocaching. I'm totally hooked!

Friday, November 04, 2005

our endangered values

Heard a really good interview on NPR with Jimmy Carter. He has a new book out - Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. In the interview he talks about (and I found myself agreeing with):
  • separation of church and state
  • women in church
  • intelligent design
  • fundamentalism

A fundamentalist believes I am uniquely related to God. And my own opinions are derived from heaven and they must be therefore right. And anyone who disagrees with me, by definition, is wrong. Because I speak for God, therefore I must be right. And anyone who disagrees with me is not only wrong, but inferior. - Jimmy Carter's definition of a fundamentalist

Oh and he also adds that fundamenlists are usually male and tend to subjugate women - no wonder I've got a problem with them.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

resident evil

article I'm working on for this weekend's TJ blog

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, 'Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.'

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, 'Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, 'It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.' - Mark 7:14-23 (NSRV)

Every day, scientists are discovering susceptibilities to physical and mental illnesses that are encoded in our make-up and that outside influences can either increase or decrease these susceptibilities. In raising children, you discover that your child is born with a personality and that outside influences can help bring out the best or the worst in that personality.

Jesus also reminds us that evil resides in us, that it is part of our make-up. We cannot blame outside influences for the existence of this evil. What outside influences can do is make it very hard for us to overcome our resident evil. Outside influences give us plenty of opportunity to feel justified in our evil intentions, where we can hide them under the guise of retribution, security, or righteous indignation.

But what can we do to keep this evil in check? Frankly not much without God's help. We have been given a path to follow in Jesus and his life. We have been given words of wisdom to consider. It requires a tremendous attitude adjustment from the expectations of society. Instead of being encouraged - "don't worry, be happy", we're instructed - "don't fret". That seems like a weak response to evil, but I think it means that we shouldn't let the evil out in the world, feed our resident evil or it will lead to our undoing.
Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret - it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. - Psalm 37:7-9 (NSRV)