Did you know that balance is a key capability for a hockey player? A friend of mine, a design engineer, once invented a device to measure the balance of aspiring young players to help identify those who were likely to excel at the professional level.
What about life balance? Can you measure it? The lines between ministry and family can easily blur during this time of year. How can you keep that blurring in check? Here are a few thoughts.
Life balance isn’t in the Bible
That’s right. You won’t find the term “life balance” in Scripture. You will find “balance,” used to mean a scale on which you weigh products being bought and sold. The scale assures a fair transaction.
Life balance is biblical
You will find out-of-balance lives in the Bible, plus practices to get back into balance. The Apostle Paul was prone to live an out-of-balance life, yet he told the Thessalonians to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (4:11). He also told Timothy to pray for “all people…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:2).
Life does get out of balance, especially during busy seasons of ministry. Mark’s gospel makes clear that this was Jesus’ frequent experience too. What did Jesus do to restore balance? At least three things.
Jesus “withdrew” from the busyness of his ministry life…to a mountain or a lake, that last time to a garden. Sometimes people followed him:
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. (6:30–33)
If circumstances demanded it, and these did, Jesus would delay his withdrawal. But he always got back to it.
Jesus got tired, so he made time to rest, which is a whole topic unto itself. If you want to explore it this Christmas season, try Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God. It’s a valuable, restful read.
Jesus spent time with his Father. That’s where he found refreshment and renewal. That’s where we’ll find it too. But if you’re like me, you pray to little. As we withdraw and rest this Christmas season, let’s get in the habit of praying more.
Solitude is practice that my wife and I find helpful in our quest for life balance. We withdraw, rest, pray and listen. How about you? What practices help you stay in balance?