Balance: Knowing God. Managing a family. Being involved
in church. Working for a company/organization. Making time
All of these activities require a broad understanding of
diverse but critical components, an intense focus on the
specifics at hand, and an acute ability to prioritize and
act in appropriate ways.
Much of the world describes this as balance. Other
words might be more appropriate—integration or rhythm, for
Many people work from an incorrect definition of balance,
a hierarchical view that involves ranking priorities: God
first, then family, church, work, and leisure. While some
areas of our life, like God and family, are most important
to us, a hierarchical view forces people to segment their
lives and focus on one aspect at a time. A better
understanding of balance is the ability to continually
recognize and simultaneously juggle the multidimensional
assignments and opportunities of life.
An assignment is something that we have no control
over or that we cannot say "no" to without violating a
scriptural command or principle. However, we can choose to
accept or reject opportunities.
Ways to tell the difference between assignments and
opportunities include prayer, meditation with God, Bible
study, paying attention to life's circumstances, and
examining how a new opportunity will impact other
Sticking to assignments often means accepting God's
direction for our lives over selfish desires. Rather than
shifting blame when we are out of balance, it is helpful to
assess our current problems and what we've done about them.
It's a lifestyle change to move from burnout to balance, and
you have to count the cost.
Balance is not a static issue. It can change as
circumstances change. This includes various seasons of life
(e.g., marriage, new job, first child, first home, etc.).
The ability to recognize our state of balance or
imbalance is crucial. People don't always know when they're
out of balance—it's not instinctive or inherent. In fact,
juggling isn't a skill people are born with either—it's an
art that is learned.
The five dimensions of life that every follower of Christ
is responsible for juggling are family, community,
church, work, and self.
While we're called to be accountable to other believers,
what balance looks like in our lives is different than
others' lives—it is intensely personal and something for
which we alone must answer.
Inside certain biblical boundaries, we are left to figure
many things out on our own. Without a dynamic, growing
relationship with Christ, we run the risk of falling victim
to legalism or a non-Spirit-led self-sufficiency where we
fool ourselves into thinking we have everything figured out
and under control.
Companies that offer bonuses, stock options, prize trips,
and pizza parties sometimes are compensating for the
imbalance they demand—for work that is meaningless or
working relationships that force the person to be less than
he or she can be. Even in much-touted people-companies and
organizations, workers can feel overwhelmed and out of
Creating a work environment that promotes balanced living
requires that companies place a strong emphasis on character
and integrity, and that they treat people with respect and
care for them as individuals.
Creating a home environment that promotes balanced living
requires the marriage as the foundation of the family, and a
clearly spelled out—even scheduled—understanding of each
family's unique assignments and opportunities.
It might be impossible to integrate our lives through
balance (which assumes the possibility of being in control),
but we can live rhythmically—being flexible to the ebb and
flow of how our assignments intersect each other. "The
interesting thing between the managing of our time in our
culture by schedule, as opposed to the ancient way of
rhythm, is that you can destroy a schedule but you can't
[destroy] a rhythm."—Eugene Peterson
The only balance you can maintain is to love God, then
love your neighbor more than yourself. In this sense, then,
balance is defined as having a right relationship with
God, as you tackle the assignments he has given you.