A Balanced Life?

If you’ve known me for awhile now, chances are you’ve heard me ask, 

So what’s your word for the year?

If you’ve never heard on One Word Resolutions, check this out to learn more. 

If you have heard of One Word Resolutions, I am hoping you are already well on your way to discovering your word. I would like to briefly share mine. 

I have grown tired of people talking about balance. A quick google search of the word and you’ll see titles like these: The Balanced Life with Robin Long, and 7 secrets of successful people to living a balanced life, How to create a balanced life: 9 tips to feel calm, grounded, and motivated, and my personal favorite, How to lead a balanced life. 

No offense to these authors but a lot of these articles out there are just…completely unrealistic.

Self care nonsense. “Make more time for..work, personal life, family, creativity, vacation, exercise, eating right…” 

I’m just curious, who out there is really living a balanced life?  

Does anyone work a 40 hour work week, eat perfectly balanced, nutrition dense, and well portioned meals every day… three times a day? Does anyone work out as much they should? Get up for the daily quiet time everyday, and spend ample amounts of quality time with their spouses, family, friends?

I’m not sure how attainable balance is. 

There is so much of our lives that are completely out of our control. Sure I’d like to have work-life balance; however, there may be a weekend where I’m attending a conference and I start my week earlier than usual. In that moment, for the sake of balance, should I refuse to fly on a Sunday? When I get a call from a friend who needs to grab coffee, should I turn them down because it’s my bedtime and it’s essential that I get my eight hours of sleep?  

I agree with some of the premises behind balance. I certainly want to be more effective in my career, more disciplined physically and spiritually, and truly I want to protect my mental health and find serenity and calm.

What sane person doesn’t want these things?

When we read the articles detailing how to lead a balanced life, we are really being advised to:  

Put yourself first. Above all else. Take care of yourself, and if there’s time, and you’re calm, grounded, and able, then you can help others.    

And while I can certainly agree that it’s important to take care of ourselves, I think our culture promotes ‘self-care’ at the expense of “others-care.” 

Here are a few truths I learned “Following” (my word for 2019!) Jesus in 2019:

  1. Be at war with personal vice. If you are serious about following Jesus, your personal vices have seriously got to go. 
  2. Jesus loved a whole lot of people on his journey. Following in his footsteps will often put us in front of needy people. They demanded much of Jesus, and he held nothing back. A requirement of following Jesus is providing space, resources, time, and help to those people he puts in our path. We love because he first loved us.
  3. There is nothing greater in life than getting to be a Jesus follower. It’s worth everything. Even balance.    

So this year, I’m abandoning the world-hijacked word of balance that feels more like a cloak for selfishness and less of an encouragement for a disciplined life.

Instead, I want Rhythm. 

Rhythm means habits. Seasons of growth, work, rest, play, adventure. Rhythm means listening for the beat, tuning the ear to hear, and singing the tune. Rhythm is the acceptance of all that is outside of my control, and finding joy in the one thing that is: Dancing to the beat. Finding the Rhythm.

I haven’t studied it extensively yet, but God set patterns in scripture for us to find. Sabbath rest, one day a week. High days of celebration. Low days of lament, fasting, and repentance. Communion. Early morning prayer, and worship. And those are only the external ones. There are also patterns for discovering truth like the design patterns in scripture. Careful reading of scripture reveals core truths about Jesus if we know to look for the patterns. Nature itself points us to rhythm. Seasons of growth, bloom, harvest, death, and decay. 

So this year, in 2020, I am hoping to find a little rhythm. 

May the God of grace and peace grant you grace and peace in 2020. May the year draw you closer to Him, his son, and may it find you dancing. Hopefully, I’ll meet you on the dance floor.

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