Finding balance is essential to almost every area of life. I heard someone once say, "It is easy to go off on a tangent, but finding balance is truly a challenge." This is true in many areas of life...
1. Occupation and Home: Most professions and jobs require dedication and ongoing skill development in order to really be done well. But, when our career consumes us and our family is neglected we pay a heavy price in the long run. Every day marriages fall apart and children go astray because one or both parents are simply too busy tending to their own professional pursuits.
2. Solitude and Community: We all need time alone and we all need time with family and friends. Very few are called to be monks, but if we don't have some time to be "alone with God" then we will eventually be overwhelmed by the needs and desires of others. Learning to have both "quiet time" and fellowship with others is essential.
3. Relationship with God: Jesus said to "love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength." While our personality and interests may incline us towards being: studious, prayerful, or serving; focusing solely on one of these disciples (to the neglect of the others) results in an unhealthy approach to Christian living.
4. Self & Others: Jesus said we should "love our neighbor as ourself." This implies that both love for neighbor and love of self is important. Because we love ourselves we exercise, strive to maintain a healthy diet, we clothe ourselves properly to shield against cold and rain. Because we love our neighbors we also practice "acts of care" towards them. But both are needed. Too much attention to self leads to a "self-centered" life style. Too much attention on others can lead to "compassion fatigue." Again, balance is required.
Recently I observed a circus performer stack (very slowly and carefully) 8 chairs on top of a table and then balance himself (with one hand) on the top chair. The sight was amazing and obviously required years of training and practice. Without the perfect balance, the performer would have come crashing down.
Without balance in our life, we also tend to crash. While the exact "measure" of balance is going to be different for each of us, it is essential for each of us. No one led a more balanced and "integrated" life than Jesus; and as in other areas of our life, we would do well to follow Him!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.