Friday, July 7, 2017

Seeking Balance by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Seeking Balance

How do we balance the needs of our writing careers, our families, and our call to serve Christ in the church and in the wider community? All are part of our calling. All are important. All are commanded. How can we seek balance in this?

I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disease. During these past four years of sickness, God has used this illness for great good in my life. He has refined me, opened my eyes increasingly to the intimacy of His nearness, and introduced me to an unseen world, one I had only vaguely recognized.

This is the world of the homebound or sick, the ones people have forgotten.

If we look around us in our churches or communities, if our eyes are truly open and our hearts fully aware, we will recognize that people we know are missing. We used to see them regularly, but now they are gone. No announcement was made. They merely slipped away. Why?

When I sought answers, I learned that these were at home with long-term challenges. Some were chronically ill. Others were now caring for a family member in a similar situation. For some, old age had caught up with them. It was now impossible to drive or to navigate getting in and out of church. Maybe a tragedy had derailed everything.

And there are needs in our wider communities. Organizations that do good are understaffed. All are seeking volunteers. Perhaps the county needs people for the refugee welcome program. Maybe Meals on Wheels has a need. Your local prison is always seeking help. The harvest is always plentiful, but the labors are always few.

In my mostly homebound state, I came to realize the deep love the Savior has for the sick, the isolated, the unseen. He sees us clearly. His fellowship and supporting grace and mercy have upheld me in ways I had never experienced before I became confined.

Simultaneously, I came to learn how even a short visit or a small act impacts the sufferer. A one-hour visit from a friend brightens an entire week. An offer to vacuum and dust my home lifts me up for a whole month! Even now, a year later, it still warms my heart. A message on Facebook, a drop-by visit to leave flowers, the offer of a meal—all of these are extremely powerful in the life of the lonely.

Now, here's the tricky part: Application. How do we balance our jobs, our call to write, our families, and our wider call to serve?

We learn to say, “No.” And, we learn to say, “Yes.”

For me, learning to say, “No,” was extremely difficult. I'm a people pleaser at heart. My over-commitment and workaholic tendencies led right into my collapse and my chronic illness. God allowed that experience to teach me to say, “No.” Once that was in place, He began to open my eyes to times I should still say, “Yes,” even though I'm ill.

I'm learning to listen to the gentle urging of the Holy Spirit.

When someone or something is on your mind frequently, when there’s a soft, tender, but recurring nudge toward a person or a need, God is speaking. Learn to hear His voice. Open your eyes to the opportunity to act. It will come. And when it does, act.

Ask Jesus for help. Don't talk yourself out of it. Simply do it. May it’s praying. Maybe it’s going. Then wait for future urging, and do it again. The Lord will keep it all in balance, and you will fulfill your calling.

Go forth and love others. Follow the Savior.




Releasing July 2017!
No Longer Alone


Manhood arrived prematurely. At the tender age of fifteen, Prentis lost both his father and his confidence that God loved him. He grew up fast after that day, abandoning his education to take on the responsibility and hardship of supporting his mother and siblings.

Now, in Prentis’s twenties, Avery reenters his life. A Sunday School teacher with a passion for learning and theology, she is intelligent with a captivating spirit. Prentis finds her irresistible. The audacity of attempting to court such a woman in no way weakens his resolve. He’s determined to win her heart. But male competition, vicious gossip, Avery’s unspoken fears, and the ruin of his livelihood hinder his efforts. How can Prentis win her? And if he does, how will they overcome their differences, the hard life on the Oklahoma plains, and a world at war?

Set in 1913-1916, No Longer Alone is based on a true story.




Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda now spins tales from her writer's cave in the Midwest. Her fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her at MelindaInman.com.

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3 comments:

  1. Melinda, hubby and I were just talking about this: how you can be in the middle of everything at church until chronic illness hits, then you just fade away -- truly become invisible.

    And on the other hand, I remember how hard it was to balance life when youI was healthy. I love your suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. That's the precise conversation we have at our house. We've been introduced to a previously unknown world. I also spend time considering when I was healthy and busy and clueless to the world of those who were no longer among us. My unawareness wasn't intentional or heartless. I simply didn't know. Since I felt that way, I'm sure others do too. So I'm listening to the Lord as He's showing me ways to turn my newfound knowledge into action within the bounds of my capabilities. I'm praying for the sick or writing to inform others or going as He leads. He's a gentle Shepherd.

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