Is Balance a Bad Word?
by Steph Beth Nickel
How do you feel about the word balance?
When I was in Bible College (approximately a million years ago), I thought the word was synonymous with compromise.
If you “balanced” your spiritual life with your other responsibilities, weren’t you denying the scriptural mandate to do everything as if doing it for the Lord?
It took time, but I realized balance is not a bad word. It doesn’t necessarily mean compromise. Plus, it doesn’t mean that you believe God is more interested in certain aspects of your life than in others.
For example, we are faced with the challenge of balancing how we spend out time and what we focus on every. single. day.
Do I stop and pray for those in the path of hurricanes such as Fiona, which recently affected friends in both Bermuda and the Atlantic provinces of Canada or do I forge ahead, crossing off items from my never-ending To-Do List?
The answer should be BOTH.
As I pray, I can ask God if He wants me to become more personally involved.
If the answer is yes, then I may have to set aside items on my list that are not of high priority.
I must find the right balance.
When I hear about things that are important to me, things that fire me up, I can be tempted to change course, to take up a banner that is not mine to carry, to get distracted from the call of God on my life. I can—and often do—become unbalanced.
I have to ask myself some questions when I’m tempted to change course, something that happens far more frequently than you might imagine.
These questions might also help you if you’re trying to balance your priorities and pursuits.
- What are my current obligations? Are there any I could consider setting aside? Which are non-negotiable?
- If a new opportunity comes my way, do I have room in my schedule and the energy to take on something more or will I have to set aside something I’m currently working on?
- Do I say yes to tasks because I feel God has brought these opportunities into my life or do I say yes because I have a hard time saying no to people—especially if the opportunity intrigues me and is something I have the skill set to accomplish?
- On the other hand, do I wear blinders and miss opportunities that the Lord brings my way because I’m so focused on sticking to my current To-Do List?
- Do I take on things because I’m “a fixer” who genuinely cares about coming alongside others? Still, there is only so much I’m responsible for, and it’s important to prayerfully discern God’s priorities before jumping in and trying to “fix” something He hasn’t called me to fix.
As a woman of a certain age (61), I’ve finally had to admit that I can’t pursue every shiny object or take up every cause that is important to me.
I foresee that I will always be eclectically interested and eclectically involved. However, I am prayerfully trying to focus my energies on accomplishing the tasks that God has clearly given me and leaving the rest up to others.
Have I found the perfect balance? Not by a long shot, but I’m getting closer.
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
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or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.