A balanced life. It’s a common mantra in our world today, with books, television shows and psychologists all proclaiming that we must find balance. Work-Life balance. Family time and personal time balance. Physical, spiritual, and emotional balance.
And while I understand the precepts and the health that so many are trying to promote, I always struggled a bit within their spouted parameters. While what they say sounds good, is it truly what God wants for me?
Is balance biblical?
I’m doing what I love, and what I feel called to do. And I still hear voices telling me to pursue balance as a goal in and of itself. . . . Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to pursue balance. If you’re a believer, your purpose in life is far bigger than that. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
Free to Lean: Description from Amazon
Instead of constantly trying to ‘fix’ our lives by achieving some perfect balance that doesn’t exist, let’s dump the guilt and admit that we need to lean into God. His perfect plan for us includes seasons of life when we may be more focused on caring for our children or our elderly parents, working for pay, or volunteering at church. Free to Lean gives you permission to recognize the season you’re in and live in harmony with it.
When we live fully in the season in which we find ourselves, we find peace. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
Okay, to be absolutely transparent, I met the author several years ago at a Protestant Women of the Chapel International Conference. We were both there to serve the women who attended. Just before this, I’d learned of Jocelyn through her book Faith Deployed, so I was excited to meet her in person. I found her to be sweet, personable, and authentic.
Over the years, we’ve continued to talk occasionally via email, and I count her as one of my long-distance friends. I look forward to her book releases (she has LOTS of great fiction and nonfiction to choose from if you’ve not read her before), and when I have something really big happening in my book world, she is one of the few I call upon to help.
All that said, while Jocelyn did contact me to consider endorsing this book, she did not ask for any specifics—and she did not ask for a review. I felt completely free to read the book and offer (or not) my thoughts no matter how good or bad they are.
My Thoughts about the Book
You are not disposable. You cannot be replaced by anyone else, and God does not treat you as though you should be. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
My problem was this: when I first opened the book, I battled trying to breeze through it because I was on a short timeline and wanting to sit and savor it because she spoke such wisdom and comfort to my heart and soul.
Like most of you, I struggle to maintain some balance. Between launching one daughter into the world, pushing a son towards launch in the next year or two, homeschooling another son in his last two years of high school, a writing and speaking career, maintaining my marriage, dealing with my husband’s health issues, walking through aging parent issues with my two siblings (with all of us living in three different states on two different coasts), aging pets, and church/ministry responsibilities . . . life is full. I fight to keep room in my life for relaxation, prayer, Bible study, etc., but it is a constant battle because good opportunities bombard me daily.
I can’t help but take quick stock of my life: At the end of it, will it be measured out in dishes washed? In books read or written? In church services attended? In bills paid, weeds pulled, socks matched and tucked safely back into drawers? Surely, surely there is more to life than mere tally. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
So when I hear another person talk about balance, well, truthfully, my head agrees but my heart is weighted down. What can I realistically cut out? What more should I not be doing? How can I fit in self-care on top of everything else? Exercise and healthy eating are just two more things on my already overloaded To Do list. Guilt. Shame. Frustration. Can you relate?
What the Book Did for Me
Enter Jocelyn’s new book, Free to Lean: Making Peace with Your Lopsided Life.
The idea of self-sacrifice is so ingrained in many of us that it’s easy to take it beyond what Christ expects. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
With stories that had me giggling (because I’ve been there), groaning (again, because I’ve been there), and sighing with empathy, Jocelyn shares her personal struggles to get life right. Yet she gently shares that balance is not only a myth, it’s unbiblical. She releases the weights that tie us down to impossible standards and lovingly challenges us to focus on God.
She gives practical tidbits to help us in the journey, things like love languages and boundaries (two books EVERYONE should read). And she shares some of the specific things that help her family navigate different seasons of life, like the Green StressCon Chart (yep, military roots).
Then she takes it a step further, encouraging us to dream with God. Jocelyn wisely includes blind spots we need to beware of on our journey, teaches us how to put success into God’s perspective, and offers reassurance for those times when we can barely get through the day before us.
We are most effective when we focus on what God created us to do. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
The Bottom Line – 5 stars
My reaction can be summed like this: Finally! Someone put words to my scrambled thoughts and guilty feelings about balance. In every chapter, at least one sentence (often more than one) called to me. I had to stop to re-read it. Consider it. And more than once I asked God to really let the message sink deep into my heart and soul.
I blanket recommend very few books to all women, but this is one that makes that very short list. Ladies, do yourselves a huge favor. Read this book. Let God’s truth shared through Jocelyn saturate your being, and His Spirit help you put these principles into practice.
God gives me the power to live the life He’s called me to—which may be different from the life I think I should be living. ~Jocelyn Green, Free to Lean
About the Author
Her books have finaled in the Christy Awards and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, and have won gold from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.
Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, Toblerone chocolate bars, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.
Visit her at jocelyngreen.com, and receive a free gift when joining her e-newsletter mailing list.
DISCLOSURE: The Author gave me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book for the purposes of offering a review. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by the free book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”