Options. Balance. Choices

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 - Carissa Woodwyk

Playing and splashing and vacationing, ice cream and hot coals and picnics, late night and lazy mornings, early morning sunshine and gorgeous evening sunsets - it's what we've done and soaked in, it's what we love about summertime in Michigan - the land shaped like a hand.

And now, as the energetic humming around us grows softer, we find ourselves needing to recalibrate. We feel the push to return to structure, go to bed on time, and step into routine and rhythm. There's a bit of resistance, yet there's also a feeling of relief.

Resting and relaxing and replenishing - they bring a sense of calm to our spirit.

Order and organization and output - they bring a sense of security to our souls.

Both needed in different doses and at different times.

I get this feeling of craziness when I've let everything go for too long - the laundry, the inbox, the dishes, the projects. When I completely unplug from responsibility, life feels chaotic and out of control, and something unsettling grows inside me.

On the other hand, when my focus is set on making deadlines and performance and rigid expectations, I also get a feeling of craziness. It's easy to believe that life and people are in my way and something exhausting happens to my soul.

Balance...we read about it all the time - how people are becoming inspired to rest and pause and slow down their pace. Yet, we applaud those who are making bucket lists and planning their lives and finances and grasping for success. We read, we reflect, and then what do we do with all that information? How do we insert our life into what's being offered to us through social media and school calendars and sports schedules and career goals, or maybe even the places we worship and learn about God?

So many places, so many people are asking so much of us. So how do we respond to these opportunities? Is there a way to discern if, how, what, when to step into all of these things...many of which are very good things?

My invitation to us is to take the time to know and name who we ask these vital questions to. Whose voice are we listening to in an attempt to find that balance of work and play, responsibility and rest? Whose voice motivates us, gives permission to us, affirms us, leads us?

Perhaps it isn't about what we do or how much of it we do, but whose voice(s) we are hearing within...ensuring that we are listening to the voice who created joy and laughter and peace and life – abundant life – inviting us to gratitude and presence and love. Because at the end of the day, it may just actually be about who we've become and how we've offered that to the world, and then up to our Creator.

Let's be the kind of people this fall season who live with a deep sense of well-being, in word and deed, and then invite others to do the same.