The other day during my workout, I was doing a balance posture. That’s where you put your body in some contorted state, usually on one leg, and try to maintain that position for a minute or so. Doesn’t sound like much of a workout, does it. But if you’ve ever tried this at home, you know it ain’t easy.
Great balance involves more muscles than you think. Certainly, all the muscles of your core: your abs, your back, your glutes, your hamstrings and your quads. And also, the muscles of your lower legs, ankles and feet. And every toe. And your arms—both of them. And, believe it or not, your eyes. Cuz, if you shift your focus for even a millisecond—say, if a child gallops through the room looking for a stray Barbie shoe—you will teeter and totter, struggling to stay upright. It totally messes with your chi.
A balance posture done right is a fantastic way to build muscle strength and flexibility—both signs of physical health. Sure, starting a balance posture in a strong position is vital. But the real strength comes when you shift, grunt, hold, shift, flex, grunt and adjust to stay-put without tumbling over, and then move gracefully from one posture to the next.
Maintaining a balanced life is no different. I cannot tell you how many times I successfully achieve balance in an area, only to find myself weeks or months later struggling to maintain it. Why? Because balance is not a destination. It’s an art. It’s a journey. It’s a dance. It’s a Yoga balance posture. It’s whatever metaphor you want it to be involving constant change and growth and progress.
Life involves constant change, so balance must follow.
The meals you planned and cooked so diligently last month may be uninteresting to you and your family this month.
Children grow and mature –and sometimes regress–requiring more or less time and effort.
Children get sick, sometimes one at a time, and sometimes all at the same time. Sometimes you get sick because you’ve been caring for your sick children.
Football season turns into basketball season—and you need to look at the schedule and decide if your kids will still take Tae Kwon Do and dance lessons on Tuesdays or if it works better to change nights or drop lessons altogether.
You look at your maturing 7th-grader and assess whether it’s more beneficial to her to attend youth group or stay home so she can finish homework and eat dinner with the family.
Sometimes you start accumulating too much stuff: clothes, toys, mail, kitchen utensils, blog subscriptions…and you find you are spending an obscene amount of time managing your stuff.
Your e-mail might get hacked, causing you to have to spend 6 hours on the computer to stop the hacking.
Your cell phone provider may be incompetent and unable to figure out why the new feature you added to your family-talk plan won’t go through on their system, which in turn causes you to spend an extra 8 hours on the phone in one week trying to resolve the issue because they’ve had to delete your account and add you back into the system three times (!!!) even though you’ve been a customer of this particular cell phone provider since the invention of cell phones, and every time you call the cell phone provider, you have to start from the beginning and explain the entire situation to a new customer service representative!
This may happen the very same week your e-mail gets hacked and your children get sick. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
And then you question yourself for losing your balance. Because you started out strong and steady. You had your day, your week, your life well-planned, with lots of flexibility built in.
I’m sensing a shift in my life: A shift away from spending every kid-less minute behind a computer screen creating blog posts. A shift toward more face-to-face ministry. Recently, I’ve developed some new friendships that are evolving into mentoring opportunities for me. In the upcoming year, I have more speaking and teaching opportunities. Lately, I’m sensing that because of the amount of time I spend in isolation behind the wheel of my car and behind the screen of a computer, I am depleted in the area of life-giving female friendships. On top of all of that, I’m sadly counting down the months (9 ½) before my baby starts full-day kindergarten—a reality that’s causing me to pause. To set aside every non-essential activity, in order to cherish every second with my sweet Elliana before this season ends.
None of these face-to-face/relational/speaking/teaching/mentoring things will magically appear on my schedule. I won’t be able to add ten new things to my week and still write the same number of blog posts. Not without a fight, anyway. Not without shifting, grunting, holding, shifting, flexing, grunting and adjusting to stay-put without tumbling over.
For me, this is when knowing God and seeking His voice becomes vital. Once again, I will have to look at everything on my plate and see what I can let go and what I can set aside temporarily. I will have to examine how much time I waste on things that won’t matter next week, let alone, in eternity. I will have to ask myself again, “What will I prayerfully neglect for the sake of balance?”
Balance is harder than it looks. The real strength and flexibility comes in maintaining the balance while I gracefully shift from one posture to the next.