“Balance” is a Stressful Word

Like many other people, I took a few days off work after Christmas to spend time with friends and family. The break was marvelous. Taking time to travel, read, relax, and reconnect with people close to you is incredibly important and very rewarding.

Sadly, breaks are called “breaks” for a reason, and eventually the real world roars back like a Katy Perry song. After days away from email and voicemail, the days following a vacation can be brutal. That happened to me this week as I feel like I’m losing a cruel game of perpetual catchup.

Everyone is so busy. Our culture is so hectic. We’re all tired. Because of that, words like “margin” and “balance” have been increasingly popular lately. Everyone seems to be desperate for shortcuts and help to simplify their lives. There’s probably an app for that.

And yet, everyone is also making New Years resolutions where most of those people are pressuring themselves to do more. I’ve had a few people ask if I’ve made any resolutions, and I almost feel guilty when I say no. Of course I want to be a better person and I have a mental list of things I want to improve on, but is it also ok for me to just admit that I’m exhausted?

I love my wife, and I’m sad to say that it is increasingly hard for us to find time together. I have a job where the work is never done, and I have a personality that always wants me to do more. It’s important to me that I do my job to the best of my ability, and that desire really only increases when you work for a ministry. When you believe in what you do, it’s really hard to say no–especially when you have to say no to yourself.

After a bit of thinking and reading tonight, I stumbled across this quote from an article in Relevant:

When we settle for balance, we only end up with regrets, disappointing others and ourselves. Instead, we seek the courage to make decisions that reflect our pre-determined values, and in living out those values we become more productive, motivated and valuable employees, and at the end of the day, an example that our co-workers and families can be proud of.

It looks like I’m not the only one who feels like balance is impossible. When you balance, something always comes up short. You have to say no, and you have to decide what to say no to. And that is hard.

“Balance” in itself is a stressful word, isn’t it? It sounds like something is about to break with one wrong move. That’s not the kind of life I want to live. balance

We all know what is most important in our lives. We just have to seek the courage to make the right decisions based on our values.

I value my faith, and I value my wife. Those are the “right” answers, but I also mean it. It’s just hard to remember.

Recently I read through 1 Thessalonians, and the end of chapter 3 stuck out to me. Paul writes, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy.”

It seems that we can ask God to make our love increase (and even overflow) in the areas that matter, and He will give us the strength to do it. I never really thought about that before, but I can ask God to help me love the right things. I want my love for my wife to increase when the rest of my life tries to pull me elsewhere. Since I believe that desire aligns with God’s heart, I believe He will honor that and strengthen my heart.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. What do you need to say no to? Is your New Years resolution really worth it? What do you love that you need help loving more?

Let’s stop balancing. That word is exhausting.

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