I’m saying goodbye to balance.
There, I’ve finally said it. I should have said it long ago.
For years I have imagined what it would be like to live and lead in “balance”. I’ve dreamed about feelings of tranquility, accomplishment and special connection with God if all the compartments of my life were in perfect alignment and equilibrium.
I have read extensively about balance, relentlessly pursued balance and I have encouraged others to find balance. But, I’ve found that balance is ever elusive. I’ve doubled down, tried to juggle life more efficiently and mustered more discipline – only to fall short again and again.
So, after reflecting on my failure to achieve balance for more than a few brief moments at a time, I have come to believe that the problem isn’t me – it’s balance.
Let me share just two reasons why I have come to this conclusion:
First, I do believe balance is essential. Balance is essential for gymnastics, unicycling, tightrope walking, financial statements, diets and many other things. However, in our increasingly complex, ever more chaotic and rapidly changing world, I don’t think balance is possible in leadership. The ground is shifting too quickly for anyone – particularly Christian leaders – to find enduring balance.
Second, I’m having some significant doubts that balance is even biblical. When I look at the life of Christ, I don’t see him frantically juggling his commitments to achieve balance. He doesn’t seem to pursue balance in order to achieve a tranquil feeling of accomplishment or to connect more deeply with God.
Instead, Jesus lived out a radical life of submission, surrender and abandon to the will of the Father. He also lived in constant communion with Father and Spirit – even in, especially in, the busyness and messiness of his daily life and leadership. Jesus was “all in” and “connected” all the time and he called his followers to be the same.
The first disciples weren’t pursuing balance when they left their nets to follow Jesus. Jesus wasn’t advocating for balance when he called his disciples to “…deny yourselves and pick up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Furthermore, I don’t see John the Baptist, Paul or any other servant-leader in Scripture living out or preaching balance.
In saying goodbye to balance I am not diminishing the importance of self-care, family and peer relationships, healthy boundaries, limiting commitments, stewarding physical health, time management, fun or Sabbath. I know that each one is critically important. Each one needs to be a core priority and part of a sustainable rhythm in my life and leadership.
In fact, the life of Christ provides a profound example of each of these priorities lived out in a regular rhythm of engagement in activity followed by a period of withdrawal to restore. Instead of a focus on balance, Jesus incorporated sustainable rhythms that would provide for and protect a different kind of life. It’s this life for which we are created. This kind of life is far superior to what we might imagine a life with perfect balance would be like.
As I move on from balance I am seeking a Christ-centered life where he is central to all I am and all I do. I am also recognizing that Christ is present, interested and desiring to be in the center of all I do – especially in the busyness, intensity, imbalances and messiness of daily life and leadership.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
To The Point,
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