Published April 13, 2017
We’ve all been told by trustworthy voices that “balance” is one of the ultimate goals for which to strive. Work-life or ministry-family balance seems a worthy goal; however, I have determined it a myth.
When we view the roles, responsibilities and elements of our lives as disconnected, compartmentalized buckets that have to attain perfect equality on some cosmic scale of the time, energy and resources devoted to each; we consistently fall short.
I’ve recently reached a season in my life where I’m achieving something far better—“integration.”
It is the best word I’ve found to describe what is a more fulfilling, peace-filled existence. I’ve come to view the whole of my life as connected, interwoven and complementary. When I take this approach and focus on the interplay between responsibilities; things seem to work better.
15 years ago, on the heels of divorce and the resulting departure from “vocational ministry,” I entered the business world. I experienced a difficult, and necessary, paradigm shift in the depth of my soul. The result was a realization that life is ministry; regardless of location, context or the name of the organization on your paystub. It wasn’t linear, and there were bumps along the way; and eventually, I figured out just what integration looked like in the real world and understood the depth of meaning in the following verses.
Romans 12:1 “ . . . in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”
Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Every day since 2002, I’ve experienced grace in ways I never imagined possible. The results of that grace have me celebrating 13 years of marriage this May, basking in the joys of parenting my three children daily, owning a business that is growing and contributing in our community, and serving in my local church.
The more successful I am in my business, the more I can offer my wife, kids and church. The more I am directly involved in the lives of my family, the healthier platform I have for my work and my role as community shepherd at church.
My work also allows me to fund projects in our community and people engaged in evangelism around the world. As I disciple and mentor over 70 community group leaders, I get a front-row seat to God’s work in our city, and I am gratified to take part in making an eternal imprint in other families and our community.
By any measure, I’m likely “out of balance” over any particular period of time. However, as I’ve sought to focus on the connections between roles and responsibilities and how they impact one another, the individual elements begin to produce a composed song of harmony that results in peace and satisfaction. That’s integration.
Aaron J. Marshall graduated from Clarks Summit University in 1996 and is now owner and CEO of BCS Inc., which specializes in retail infrastructure electronic repair as well as refurbishment, logistics, warehousing and project management. He and his wife, Jaye T. live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with their three kids, Jackson (7), Lily (5) and Emma (5). They serve their local church, Fellowship Bible Church of NWA, at the Fayetteville campus. Marshall loves to be on the golf course with Jackson, on his Harley or knee-deep in a river fly-fishing.