UGM Core Values: A Balanced Life

Posted by Union Gospel Mission Oct 7, 2014 12:31:00 PM

Bootcamp, Veggies and a Balanced Life

By Jessica Morgan, UGM Lead Graphic Designer

As a mother of three small children who works outside the home 40 hours a week, the Balanced Life Core Value stands out to me like a scary question from a disapproving teacher peering over her spectacles. “Is YOOOUR life balanced? Are you neglecting your marriage? Your mental health? Your middle child? Your time with Jeeeesus? Hmmm?”  Well, yes. Probably all of those.Morgan_family_small

dragging the kids to church

The past six-plus years of parenthood have been like an intense bootcamp for my husband and I with no end in sight. Keeping life balanced and organized is the biggest mystery these days years, and we’re Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes trying desperately to discover the secret piece of the puzzle! Everything needs attention. Everything is at stake. Even giving myself the recommended self-care and time alone is draining somehow!

As crazy as I sometimes feel working at an office for eight hours then suddenly switching to wife-and-mommy mode, I’m so thankful for what I’ve gained from working at Union Gospel Mission. I believe it has impacted the future of our family and beyond.

Morgan kids with smoothie mustaches

When I started my job at UGM almost 6 years ago, I was expecting it to be a safe bubble to use my skills for God's kingdom where everyone shared my faith and values, but it turned out to be a great deal more than that. This job has taken me to the dark corners of the world. It has shown me the deep ruts of generational sin and trauma and the pain of knowing God’s heart for the poor.

men eating at a table

It has even taken me to the dark corners of myself. Observing the people here recovering from hard falls in life and helping tell their stories gives me the sense of how quickly I could be in their same shoes. How does life fall so out of balance? How can I prevent my own life from falling too far in one direction when I’m barely keeping each day in working order? Because of the hard work I see the men and women here are doing to piece their lives back together, I’m encouraged to frequently assess the state of my own messy life.

I’ve learned that the balance of life is determined often by the small habits of today. Bad habits and askew perspectives can lead to big messes. It’s a lot like having an unbalanced diet. Eating too many empty carbs or skipping breakfast may not hurt you much in one day, but it will hurt you and those close to you if it becomes a habit. I’m asking myself now: What are the leafy greens of my life – the necessities? Of what am I ‘eating’ too much or too little? Am I dehydrated from going, going and not drinking in God’s goodness and truth? (That last question hits the nail on the head for me!)

Jessica's kids piled on mom
Shane and Jessica with kids

I can’t claim to have a balanced life, but I’m training myself to notice when my veggies are missing. And when I don’t notice, someone close to me usually does. Sometimes a good portion of what’s on the plate might just need to be scraped off and tossed in the trash.

My nutrients: undivided time with my children, long hugs and conversations with my husband, calling my siblings and parents regularly, connecting with my church family, daily devouring God’s Word, honoring the Sabbath and actually RESTING.

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