It was in the middle of a busy day, week, month. Rushing, rushing between work, kids, cleaning, cooking…

I sat down to take a moment, not knowing that one of our wooden chairs had taken one too many hits. I eased back, expecting the chair to hold my weight, only to have it collapse. Luckily, I caught myself against the wall, preventing any real damage.

I looked at the chair and noticed one leg had come out of its socket. With the imbalance, the other three could no longer hold up the seat.

Wow, I thought. A chair needs all four of its legs. With even one out of socket, broken or gone, the other three are off balance and cannot hold any weight. What a metaphor for life.

As a parent, we have to “hold up” our entire family.  But to be able to hold up my family, I need all my “legs” in place.  If even one of them is broken or misaligned, I might ‘drop’ my family.

This epiphany created a “checklist” in my head, each leg representing an area in life that I needed to make sure we’re properly in place.

1. My body and physical health.

Am I eating and drinking enough? I remember laughing at an article in a parenting magazine that chided, “Moms! Don’t think eating your child’s leftovers is eating.” More than mere survival, we need nutrition, fuel, and blood flow to help everyone, including ourselves, thrive throughout the day.

2. My emotional and mental stability.

How are you feeling today? The mother is the heart of the family. Her emotional and mental state affects the entire family. A friend of mine used to hide in the kitchen to have her emotional breakdowns, but she realized her breakdowns, even in secret, were enough to throw the house upside down. Moms, are we making sure that we are identifying and constructively processing our emotions.

3. My heart’s state: my capacity and space to love and serve others.

Am I living for others, or am I becoming self-absorbed in my challenges? If so, what can I do to turn the arrow outwards and bring light and value to the world? Do I need to call my girlfriend to figure out the right perspective? Do I need to take a walk, eat a chocolate cake, or just decide to serve, and in so doing, gain vitality?

4. My spiritual health and relationship with God.

The relationship with the legs and the socket reminded me of the importance of aligning to God. If there is even a slight gap, even if my legs were the right size, the chair would topple. The source of stability, the source of love, the source of truth, and beauty is God. I absolutely need to invest in making sure there is no gap between God and me through prayer, through study, through service. If I am not filled with God’s spirit and love during the day, pause, take a little time to meditate and realign.

 

If any of my “legs” are not aligned or fall short, I would tumble, and with me, my family.

If, on the other hand, I am completely aligned with all four legs standing strong, I would be a well-balanced chair that could hold great weight.

This chair experience was a profound wake up call for me. To be a good parent, a responsible member of society, and to serve God and care for others – I need to take care of all four legs and make sure they were securely aligned to their sockets.

Let’s help each other find creative, even fun ways to keep our balance, to align and keep our “legs” firmly connected with God in our everyday lives. Share your ideas with us!

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