Part of a Balanced Breakfast
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. – Ephesians 5:15-19a (NIV)
During the pandemic, I learned to be better about self-care and work/life balance. In other times of my life, I would blow past a healthy work schedule and push myself near exhaustion. I would do this particularly when I was working on an important social justice cause. “It’s just for a little while,” I would tell myself, “I’ll catch up on sleep later.”
But then came the pandemic. Then came month after month with no childcare and a constantly shifting landscape of life. Then came a bruising and historically turbulent election. Then came a resurgence and a variant and an insurrection and a partridge in a pear tree. Just living my life on a day-to-day basis pushed me near exhaustion. I couldn’t push myself any farther—no matter how important the cause—because I was already at my limits.
That humbled me.
It humbled me that whether I had a good day or not depended on whether I ate a healthy breakfast, whether I kept to my social-media limits, whether I held to my prayer practices, whether I resisted over-indulging in binge-watching British murder mysteries (Shetland, for me).
We have been living through evil days, as Ephesians puts it. And so we must not only be careful, but very careful. Eating a balanced breakfast may not seem like crucial spiritual wisdom, but it is.
God, help me to be wise.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.