Friday, May 25, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Balance

A devotional by Gail Kittleson

The author of Ecclesiastes instructs us:

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,

Drink wine with a robust heart.

Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!

Dress festively every morning.

Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.

Relish life with the spouse you love

Each and every day of your precarious life.

Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange

For the hard work of staying alive.

~Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, The Message (MSG)

How do we seize life? The key seems to be viewing each new day as a gift, even while acknowledging our struggles. We awaken with honest hearts, willing to live in the present—focusing on this twenty-four hours we’ve been given. On certain days of our lives, this seems almost impossible. We’ve all been there. 

I admit that it’s easy to look with doubt upon folks who “dress festively” and express constant good cheer. Don’t you wonder when they’ll finally admit life is tough, or if they’ll ever break down and show their tears? After all, no one ever instructed believers not to be human.

Once, I worked with someone who always smiled. No matter what you shared with her, she managed a cheery comeback. I began to observe her, certain that her façade would eventually crack and she’d admit to having a bad day. But that never happened. Maybe we didn’t work together long enough—I still believe that deep down, she was just like the rest of us.

But what good does the opposite attitude do? Going around with a long face can be so depressing, both for us and the people around us. Why not look for the good in others and in circumstances beyond our control? After all, we all know spiritual growth seems to accelerate during the rough times. 

The author of this scripture points to balancing our gusto with an honest recognition of this old world’s suffering. Not an easy task, but it’s essential to maintain our equilibrium.

Perhaps that’s the key—balance. Isn’t much of life a study in maintaining balance? I’ve pondered this after a bad bout with dizziness. With my equilibrium disturbed, my most frequent prayer became, “Help!”

Without a sense of balance, poise and steadiness become pipe dreams. Accomplishing much of anything goes by the wayside. But with balance restored, we walk securely and find the energy to embrace what each day brings and enjoy our lives.

My Prayer: Dear Lord, please teach me to maintain balance in this world of ups and downs, for Your glory and for my own happiness.

Author Bio:
When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. 

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband like to spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

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