I read a blog post this week on Balance, and thought it was a good basic encouragement. I liked that she exhorted her readers, specifically young mothers, to work against the excesses they are prone to. That was solid counsel, as we should all make efforts to work together with God to better bear the image of Christ, and she also reminded that balance does not mean perfection, to which I say "Amen". But it did cause me to think about whether a Balanced Life is an inherently biblical concept.
The concept of Balance, defined as "A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions" as a goal, or a measure of spirituality, concerns me a little, just as seeking Health, Financial Security, or Education as a goal concerns me. I think it is, well, just slightly...off. The Lord hasn't seemed too concerned with those particulars in my life, but gives me what I need of each, as I need them, often not in consultation with me or with regard to my personal preference. He has that authority. I am bought and paid for. And with that authority He calls me to follow Him wherever, however, and into whatever He leads; whether that includes my definition of Balance is up to Him.
My job is simply to follow Christ.
Balance can be an idol as much as anything else. I saw an exhortation toward the Balanced Life that used 1 Corinthians 14:40 "But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner." That certainly sounds compelling, except that the context for the entire chapter is the exercising of the gift of tongues in the assembly, not a call to doing everything in equal measure. There are things the Lord would have us do and we dare not shy away from fear, external or internal, that our lives may be "unbalanced". So what if we are? An "unbalanced" follower of Christ may get called a zealot; today the term might be Jesus Freak (or maybe that was yesterday's term). Either way, I suspect that anyone who sincerely desires to serve and obey God's written word will be labeled this by somebody. Noah would not have been called balanced, neither would have the Apostles nor those in the first century church. Believers in countries where following Christ is illegal die daily for their "imbalance", but our call to do as we are commanded does not change. The Lord demands and deserves our devotion and we live in a world that finds that disturbing.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
for good works, which God prepared beforehand
so that we would walk in them.
As I think about it, I have found that there have been many times when God has called me to be extremely out of Balance to obey what He wants of me. I simply cannot do everything, nor can I do it simultaneously, so a large assignment requires a large change in what I can spend my limited time doing. In addition, the Lord orchestrates the adjustments, tests, and trials of life and only the light ones fit neatly into the family calendar. They almost always either cause or require a lack of Balance that is ordained. Some examples of people whose life should not be balanced are: the new mother, the pastor of a church in crisis, a student needing to complete coursework for graduation, the new or old believer convicted of sin and needing to make sweeping changes in lifestyle, the sick or the family of the sick, the grieving, the newly married.
However, as He is perfect, He does not ask us to disobey one command in order to obey another; He does not contradict Himself. There are things which we are always called to, and I can assess, to a degree, whether or not I am living in obedience to Him by whether or not I am attending to those. I may be called to a task or ministry for Him for a lifetime or a season, but it will never be at the expense of my relationship with the Lord, my spouse, my children or those I fellowship with. Now that is not to say that our relationship might not be altered, but He who works in me also works in my loved ones while I, and they, pursue whatever other specific calls He gives us.
As I am in the beginning stages of a new season of Imbalance right now in planning and opening Wise Acres Market, I am encouraged to know that He counts as righteousness my believing and obeying Him, not the Balance that may or may not be seen in the use of my time, the tidiness of my home or my datebook. :)