Living a Balanced Life — Search for Wholeness
by Susan Steele1
One of the hallmarks of a faith-based philosophy of education is educating the whole person. Education should impact all areas of students’ lives: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and cultural. How often do we think about those areas of our own lives?
It has been my privilege to serve families in ministry through children’s education since 2000. During this time I have invested much of myself in the process of providing a quality, international, faith-based education to my students. At times, this has led to a lack of wholeness in my life as I have neglected my own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Over the past few years, I have been making changes in my life as a part of a journey towards balance and wholeness. Living a balanced life overseas in the faith-based community is not impossible, but it requires intentionality.
Here are some things that I am implementing in my search for wholeness.
Go for a long walk or participate in some form of exercise at least once a week.
Time away – get out of town at least once every 4-6 months. If this is not possible, do something to “change the scenery.” I once had a “beach party” in my apartment in Russia in January.
Plan down time around busy times. For example, a free weekend on either side of a 4-day field trip with students.
Sabbath – set aside one 24-hour period of time each week for rest and spiritual and emotional refreshment. Turn off your work email during this time.
Set boundaries and help others recognize those boundaries. Remind the parents at Sunday fellowship that you are also there to worship and would be happy to speak with them on Monday morning about their concern.
Friends and Family – Do something fun with others at least once a month. Set boundaries for this time regarding “school talk.” For example, we have 15 minutes for “school talk” and that is all.
Process life with a close friend on a regular basis. This may be someone in your location or in your home country.
Recognize when a task is done even when it may not be perfect.
Ask for feedback about your work and be willing to listen to what is given.
Be willing to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed.
Attend local festivals and markets.
Get to know local neighbors.
Spend a half-day in prayer at least twice a year. Plan ahead to make the best use of this time. It is helpful to get away from home, if possible. Some ideas include praying through a passage of Scripture, praying for others, and praying through future events in your life.
Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.
Susan Steele has served SIL TCKs and families in schools located in two different parts of Europe.