The Myth Of Balance

BalanceThere is a popular ideal among Christians these days. It is the ideal of the so-called balanced lifestyle.

It posits that one should have a healthy balance between work, family, church and recreation.

A certain amount of time should be allocated to each one of these areas of our lives and we are told we should exercise the discipline to maintain that balance.

If you have to work a 60 hour week, stay up all night to finish a project, or spend an excessive or unplanned amount of time in one or more of these lifestyle boxes, you have fallen out of balance and lost your spiritual center.

The problem I have with the ideal of a balanced lifestyle is not that I don’t think it sounds good; it’s that I don’t see it in the Bible, and I certainly don’t see it in Jesus’ lifestyle.

One day Jesus is teaching in the synagogue. He heals a guy and the religious leaders begin to grumble and talk about what they might do to Jesus. When He’s done at the synagogue, Jesus goes off and spends all night in prayer. (Luke 6:6-13)

Another time, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law. The word spreads and before too long all the sick of Capernaum are lined up at the door. Jesus spends the evening healing and casting out demons–a full day in anyone’s book. But the next day, before dawn, Jesus is already gone off to a secluded place to pray. By the time Jesus’ disciples find Him to tell him the crowds are looking for Him, He’s already spent enough time in prayer to know that it’s time to leave to go the next city. (Mark 1:30-39).

Another time, Jesus is trying to get to the house of a synagogue official to pray for his daughter who is dying. The official and his crew are probably in a panic trying to hurry Jesus along to get to his house before his daughter dies. The crowd is pushing in on Jesus and He stops to question a woman suffering from a hymorrage. In the meantime, word comes that the synagogue official’s daughter has died. Jesus takes the time to heal the woman with the hemorrhage and then continues on his journey to the synagogue official’s house.

Life is far too random and contains too many variables to rationally conclude a predictable, balanced, stress-free lifestyle can be maintained for any length of time without elevating balance over obedience to God. If Jesus’ goal was a balanced lifestyle He could have put off praying all night and He could have ignored the woman with the hemorrhage, but He didn’t do what balance dictated but what He saw the Father doing.

If you had “balance” as one of your 2013 resolutions, I would encourage you to rethink it. Instead of seeking balance, seek His will. GS