A balanced life is an opportunity to live to our fullest potential. I love the monastic ideal of dividing the day between the three core needs of our lives: prayer, work, and study.
As a family we punctuate our day with prayer in the morning, at meals, at noon, and in the evening. Of course, I am frequently tossing prayers up to heaven for a variety of daily mini-disasters or concerns. Yesterday, some of the kids and I spent an hour in Adoration. It was one of the fastest hours of my life. There is a lot to pray for in this world of ours, and it is wonderful that we have such a loving God to call upon, knowing that he will listen and respond. The key is joyful prayer is to allow God to be God and not set Him by our clocks.
Work is also a large part of our day. Today three of the kids helped a neighbor to gather in a nice wood supply. We all helped to stack the wood so it’ll be dried and ready for next winter. A couple of the kids worked on planting seeds for the spring garden, and one of the kids made zucchini bread. Everyone worked hard today. Everyone will sleep well tonight.
And finally, study is one of the most enjoyable activities of the day. Each of the kids has a full curriculum to draw from, but book learning isn’t the only kind of earning that matters. We also learn by responding to daily needs. Learning to cook, to fix broken tools, to take care of animals, to organize our supplies for the year, to balance a budget are all invaluable learning experiences. It is fun to study history, to read and write, to tease out math problems, but learning is like breathing, it happens without even knowing it. The key is to make sure that you are learning things which improve and inspire your life rather than being dragged down by the negative influences around us.
A balanced life of prayer, work and study has been a great recipe for joy and contentment in our lives. God is good. Put Him first, and you will enjoy the best He has to offer.