It’s hard for me to think in terms of eternity. I understand we’re all going to one of two places, depending on where we put our trust, but when I pray for the salvation of others, it’s actually the here and now I’m most concerned with. I know the peace, freedom and joy that comes from walking with God. I also know the pain that comes from being separated from Him. The other night, my husband said, “You are the most balanced person I know.” I’ve never received a higher compliment, especially considering where God has carried me from. This got me thinking about my faith walk in particular and I realized that God is all about balance. Apart from God, our lives easily become dominated, by work, food, television…it doesn’t really matter. An unfulfilled heart cries out for wholeness, and seeks temporary fillers.

I’ve heard people with depression or bipolar disorder often self-medicate using drugs or alcohol. People without Christ (or not centered fully on Christ) self-medicate with temporary fillers. Only these fillers leave us empty and grasping for more. It is at this point the behaviors become “addictive”. The only solution, then, is to continually draw near to God, through prayer and study. The closer we are to Him, the more  balanced our lives will be because He removes those “distracting fillers” and replaces them with His divine, all-consuming love.

Sometimes His love will break us, but only in order to heal. Other times it will convict us, but only to draw us to His better. Whether healing, strengthening, guiding or chastising, it begins and ends with God as we draw near to Him in increasing intimacy and allow Him to do whatever needs to be done in our hearts and lives.

It can be easy to go through the motions. I’ve had numerous mornings where I’ve read through a Bible passage without paying attention to a single word. So I’ll read it again, and again, my mind drifting each time. And I’ve been known to sift through a rather long to-do list in the middle of prayer. But when I go through the motions disengaged, I’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. And I’ve robbed myself of soul-fulfilling time with Christ. Christ didn’t die so I could fill my day with habits and agendas. He died so I could have intimate fellowship with Him. Yes, He wants me to read my Bible and pray, but that’s just the first step in our walk. More than anything, He wants me to know Him, and to draw near to Him with an unveiled, authentic heart.He wants to walk through life with me, like a tender Father reaching his hand to a trusting child.

If I’m going through the motions without connecting to God on a heart-to-heart level, I’ve lost sight of what Christianity is all about.

Is there an area of your life that’s out of balance? A behavior that dominates your life? Perhaps you’re self-medicating, attempting to fill a need only God can fill. Spend a few moments in prayer, asking God to remove that stronghold (whether food, tv, internet, obsessively cleaning your house…whatever) and to strengthen your desire for Him. Then make a commitment to draw near to Him each day, and see if He doesn’t bring you to a place of increasing balance.