It Takes Balance
Life takes balance.
Balance is not something we are good at. As a matter of personal opinion, I believe imbalance is to blame for a lot of the problems in our country:
Corporate Greed -- Out of balance contentment with sufficiency.
Alarming Rates of Failed Marriages -- Out of balance sense of commitment and idea of what relationships should be.
Increasing and Alarming Rates of Obesity -- Out of balance self-care and dietary knowledge, not to mention marketing strategies of those companies promoting unhealthy foods.
Unchecked Consumerism -- Out of balance sense of contentment with sufficiency.
Poverty in a Country with Extreme Wealth -- Out of balance sense of wants vs. needs on the part of those with wealth and power.
We are out of balance.
In my own life, imbalance has surfaced in several recent events.
1. My wife and I are buying our first house. We struggled with what was enough space and how to best make a decision about location, layout, and design in order to promote a healthy balance in our lives and impact in the world. I hope we made a conscientious and appropriate decision with the house we chose. I do know this experience stretched me to think beyond myself. It forced me to think about how this decision would affect the unborn twin boys my wife is carrying and our relationship as husband and wife. The house is by no means our dream home, but I realized very early in our search that I can be content in just about any home. As a result, finding the balance of where contentment meets functionality is what made our decision. This meant there would be compromise on things and rejection of selfish wants.
2. I ran a relay marathon recently in Corpus Christi, TX. I knew I was going to run 4.6 miles for months. I spent a decent amount of time training prior to the race, but with life surrounding me I let down the couple of weeks leading up to the race and I paid for that. I ran poorly; I realized I was out of shape; and I came to the understanding that I have allowed my life to get out of balance in regards to exercise and self-care. I am trying to commit myself to more balance in that area in order to be a better person because I have learned that you cannot love your neighbor or your enemy if you do not first love and take care of yourself. That is why when Christ tells us to love one another as we love ourselves it should have a shocking ring in our ears. We tend to love ourselves so extravagantly compared to the way we love others. Balance in our lives can lead to more authentic and significant service and love with and for others.
3. A couple in our bible study recently contemplated a job offer and that would require them to move out of the city we live in. While I have a lot of selfish reasons for wanting them to stay, I believe the struggle they experienced in reaching a decision in the matter was one of balance. They must find the balance of what is worth striving after and how to best care for their family and relationship. My best piece of advice is this: decide what balance is for you and make yourself resolute to maintain that balance. I believe in some ways God cares much more about us living wholly balanced lives of service in love than lives of erratic and occasionally extravagant support. Weighing the options of career promotions, relocations, family and friend connections can all seem overwhelming. However, only two people knew whether those things will be detrimentally out of balance if choices are made one way or another.
And in all of this, balance is not a juggling act so much as it is an exercise in self-knowledge and discernment. We must find what balance is for our own lives and protect that, even if it means, as one of my mentors once said, "saying no to Jesus," because life takes balance.
See more devotions from Aaron and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.