How to Live a Life of Meaning and Balance
Over the last few years, I have been investing a lot of mental energy in learning how to better use my emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental energy. That may seem counterintuitive, but my efforts have not been in vain.
I am an Enneagram Type 3 and tend to overcommit, overextend, and overestimate my ability to do all the things I want to do with my life. I’m also a stay-at-home mom of 5-year-old and 3-year-old boys. That alone should tell you about how easy it is for me to achieve my lofty life goals while maintaining balance.
As I have spent time in the last few months talking with God about what He wants for my life, I have been hearing from Him over and over that my purpose in life is to love Him and love others. I spend much of my energy trying to love others, and I continue to find myself drained and discouraged.
I need more balance in my life!
Thankfully Jesus gives us some guidance about how we are to live through Mark 12:30-31:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
This statement sums up all of the 10 Commandments—intended to protect us, protect others from us, and teach us how to live in sync with God’s will for our lives.
So how does this all relate to finding the meaning of life?
Not only does loving God and others honor and bring joy to God, but it is also the primary way for us to live fulfilling and joy-filled lives. When I think about the moments in my life that bring me the most joy, the majority of them include time with God and others.
God created us to live in community and spending time in a loving relationship with Him is the first part of that equation. This may look different for each person but, for me, that means spending a few minutes reading a chapter of the New Testament while drinking my morning cup of coffee and using my kids’ 30-minute afternoon “quiet time” to sit in silence and solitude with God.
Living a life of meaning and balance requires intentionality and consistent time in God’s presence. This requires us to slow down and make God the central priority in our lives. When we do that, we are able to live with a more focused and balanced perspective—recognizing His will for our lives and using that knowledge to best love Him and others.
I actively spend time loving others, but I still find myself drained. Is balance possible?
Absolutely! Jesus gives 4 key components, which naturally help to create balance in our lives.
We are called to love the Lord with all of our:
1. Heart—the very core of who we are, our personalities and beliefs
2. Soul—from the word psyche, our soul literally means the energy that sustains our life
3. Mind—our thoughts and intelligence
4. Strength—our force, power, and abilities
We need to acknowledge that each of us is wired differently, each of us with different personalities (heart), energy levels (soul), mental interests (mind), and skills (strength). When we are able to decipher these four things, we are better able to understand how we are uniquely and intentionally created by God to interact with Him and the world.
As I have gotten to know myself better, I have learned that God created me as a woman who likes to get things done, has fairly high energy, loves studying the Bible and psychology, and is skilled at communicating with and mentoring women. These are the primary ways that I love others but I have to be intentional to use these things to connect with God first, otherwise, I am likely to use these skills to fill my time and distract me from Him.
When I spend time connecting with God on a consistent/daily basis—my heart moving from people-oriented activity to solitude, my soul moving from high energy to rest with Him, and my mind moving from my goals and to-do list to engaging in God’s Word—I find refreshment and purpose. I can then use my strength to love and serve Him and truly love others—out of the love, identity, and purpose that I have first received from God.
By recognizing God’s specific wiring and loving God first, I am able to truly live in the way I was created to live: loving God and others with intentionality and balance!
What are some ways that you connect with God? How does spending time with God enable you to better love Him and others?