Have you ever come home after a long-good day of ministry just to find a pile of laundry or dirty dishes (some days both) waiting for you? What an instant and humbling reminder that I wear other "important hats" other than being a pastor! The moment I walk into my messy home, I realize that I am not all that put together as I portray myself to be after all. But hey, that's life, and those dishes and dirty clothes can wait for my sanity and PEACE at home.
Since I took on the lead pastoral role, I find myself needing to pull back every once in a while from what I was doing just to breathe and see "the big picture." And oftentimes, I have to remind myself to lean on God's wisdom, not my own; His strength, not mine; His plan, not my agenda. I need Him, and I am not just saying the "right" words; I NEED HIM because I feel like I can't do everything I am called to do on my own. I will crumble if I tried...
You see, I wear a lot of hats. Perhaps you do, too. I am a wife, mom, pastor, professor, police chaplain, and the list goes on. And there are sub-roles I play in each of these categories as well. If you are a mom, you understand you are also a nurse, cook, reading buddy, groomer, photographer, and more. Okay... sometimes, I feel like a "volunteer maid" rather than a mom or a wife. But I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this, right? RIGHT??? Haha!
It's a season. One day, I will hope that I could wash my kids' dirty clothes, give goodnight kisses after a bed-time prayer, and wake up early to pack their lunches (okay, maybe not that one). But the point is, life is made of many seasons, and it is OKAY if my home doesn't look picture perfect. At the end of the day, my kids will not remember how many meals I made, loads of laundry I did or dishes I washed. But they will remember how I spent time with them and how I made them feel (and this goes for my husband as well). Wearing multiple hats as a pastor-professor-community leader-mom-wife is NOT easy, but it IS a great season to enjoy thoroughly.
Years ago, my husband and I interviewed for an English pastor position at a Korean church in California. During the interview, they told Damon straight up that he would have to sacrifice our family, meaning no family time, for the sake of ministry. I understand what they meant. I am Korean after all, and I do value hard work.
However, I think my fellow Korean Christians are missing something HUGE. They focus so much on ministering to others that they neglect to nurture and invest in the primary church: family. Yes, we are called to the GREAT COMMISSION of reaching all nations, but if we don't care for our own family for the sake of caring for others, wouldn't that be a highway to raising modern day hypocrites?
So, back to the question in the title: Is it possible to have a balanced life?
Let me pose another question: Is it okay to live an imbalanced life? Here are my two cents: no one lives a perfectly balanced life. I mean, even Jesus set aside the last 3 years of his earthly life totally dedicated to ministry! I bet He was not able to care for His parents like a "normal" son was expected to do in Jewish culture. But Jesus understood His mission on earth and that there was time for everything.
Such is life, so accept that. Seasonal "imbalanced life" is totally normal, so let's not try to be all things to all people AT ONCE. But as a pastor-mom, I cannot afford to live life and lead Church without being Christ-centered. So, let's focus on the basic and most important thing while allowing each season of life to be a bit crazy, chaotic, challenging, and messy. Life is a beautiful gift from God, and we should learn to enjoy the process even in the most hectic moments.
If you have been trying to get your life together during this season with all these back to school events, meetings, work, ministry, and family life, then pause for a second now and breathe. And remember, God is bigger than our responsibilities and challenges. Turn to Him, and He will lead us one day at a time.