This week I thought a lot about the balance in my life after reading M. Russell Ballard’s talk from April 1987 titled, “KeepingLife’s Demands in Balance”.
While facing some serious physical issues, Elder Ballard was told that some good would come from his illness. His colleague “suggested that it is good, on occasion, for everyone to face adversity, especially if it causes introspection that enables us to openly and honestly assess our lives”. From this interaction, Elder Ballard realized that he “needed to rearrange some of [his] priorities to accomplish the things that matter most to [him]”.
After over twenty years, I am nearing the end of the time that I will be a stay-at-home mom and within a few years, my husband and I will be empty-nesters. Looking back, I wish that I had taken the time to rearrange some of my priorities to accomplish the things that mattered most to me while my children were young. The demands of being a good parent, a diligent homemaker, a supportive and loving wife, an active member of my ward, a caring family member, and participating in outside activities made keeping a balance in my life difficult to say the least. I’m actually amazed at what balance I was able to achieve when I realize how crazy life has been.
I need work on balance in my life now as my husband and I are facing our own serious legal issues. Because of our judicial system, these problems have been part of our lives for the past 6 years and will likely continue for quite a bit longer. I am grateful for the steps that Elder Ballard outlined in this talk and will be taking the time to rearrange some of my priorities to accomplish the things that matter most to me now.
Elder Ballard’s first step is to “think about your life and set your priorities”. One of my goals this semester was to write down three things to accomplish each day. As I continue to do this, I will, as he says, “keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules”.
The second step is to “set short-term goals.” I will also be praying for divine guidance in my goal setting.
The third step was to budget, to “control your real needs and measure them carefully against your many wants in life”. This is especially hard for me because I’m one of those people who he warns “need the principle of balance in their lives more” because I am “driven toward accumulating ‘things’ in this world”.
I feel like I do have a handle of the fourth step, “stay close to your spouse, children, relatives, and friends”. The people I have in my life help me keep a good balance.
The fifth steps is to study the scriptures. Elder Ballard quoted 2 Timothy 3:15-16 which says, “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. I love the scriptures but need to study them daily to work on a better balance in my life.
I also need to work harder and the sixth step which is “finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise, and relaxation”. I need to make sure that when I set my short-term goals from step two, that I include these things from time to time! Elder Ballard says that “good physical appearance enhances our dignity and self-respect”, so I need to do it.
The seventh step is to have family home evening. Elder Ballard reminds us that “the prophets have taught repeatedly that families should teach one another the gospel”. This has always been a challenge in our home but I will definitely work on it.
Lastly, the eighth step to achieving balance in life according to Elder Ballard is to pray often as individuals and as families. I know that this can help me as I try to balance the everyday pressures of life and of my specific issues too.
I am grateful for this talk and for the Pathway lessons this week. They have strengthen me and my testimony. I have a new resolve to work toward balance in my life. I know that, as Elder Ballard said, “Working out our own salvation requires good planning and a deliberate, valiant effort.”