We hear it all the time; “If you want the good life, get a balanced life.”
Somehow we have come to believe that the underlying problem for many of us is too much of one thing (work, school, church) and not enough of another (family, play, travel). We’d be happier if we could just do a little of this, a little of that, and not too much of any one thing.
Let’s forget the balanced life. It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist.
It assumes that everything in life is static and should be measured by hours. Is eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, and eight hours of friends, family, or relaxation the balanced life?
Life is not like that. And we know it.
People suffer unexpected injuries and develop unplanned sicknesses. Financial pressures force lifestyle changes. Employment demands can be unpredictable. Anyone who has raised kids knows that there’s nothing routine about parenting. Serving others is messy. Other people’s lives don’t line up neatly with our own…and we don’t line up neatly with anyone else.
Even the discussion of the balanced life is perhaps the luxury of the affluent. Ask the destitute and homeless of our inner cities, the refugees from Syria, the starving families in Sudan, the war-afflicted villages in West Africa, or the poor in India about the balanced life. It’ll make no sense.
So where does abundance and joy lie, if not in balance? It lies not in balance but in Presence. God’s Presence.
Nehemiah reminded the broken and grieved people of Israel that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
It’s not the ordering of our hours but the orientation of our hearts that leads to flourishing.
We want to believe that we’ll thrive when we can work a 38-hour week and play hard on weekends. Or find more time with the kids. Or get a few more hours of sleep (which can’t hurt). But for all the talk, this balance feels elusive. It’s like holding slippery soap. Just when we think we have a grip, it slips away from us.
Let’s lay aside the balanced life, and lean into the obedient life; the life deeply committed to Christ, aligned with His will, and responsive to His leading. Perhaps the real dilemma we face is not so much better time-management as greater surrender, and deeper sensitivity to the Presence of Christ.
How might we embrace His Presence more today?