A Balanced Life

Tight-ropes and see-saws

» Posted on 19 Nov 2013 • A Balanced Life

​I found $20 the other day. I just opened my car door in a public parking space, and there it was. I love that.

But money’s like that. For all the value we place on it, it’s still just paper that we can print more of, and can be found lying around like a piece of trash. What is NOT like that is time. I’ve never found time lying around on the street. It’s not something people give away in the lottery. But I know what it’s like to spend time badly and have no way of earning it back. When time’s gone it’s gone. And when our time is up, it’s up!

It’s not to say that I don’t want more money. I’m not in danger of being overpaid. But I am in danger of being over-committed. I’m a pastor and contrary to popular opinion (my own view before becoming one myself), pastors are not generally suffering from a lack of things to do. I’m also a father of three, a husband, someone who needs time to rest, who enjoys exercise, and loves to learn...and has a psychotic paranoia of boredom.

I’m one other thing – I think I’m average. I think feeling time poor is true of most of us. We feel like we’re constantly short of time; that there’s never enough for the things we would like to do, and the things we need to do.

Balancing our lives

We would prefer to have more time for the children, for our spouses, for ourselves. We long for what is commonly known as having balance in our lives.

But for all that yearning, what does balance look like? How do we get it, and when do we know we’ve got it?

I tend to picture someone walking a tight rope between two buildings. One miss-step, and it’s a fun free-fall to a messy end. For some reason, this image makes me tense. It doesn’t help me determine what the next right step is, and fills me with dread that maybe I’ve already taken it and am in the free-fall the comes before the end. So, it’s not a healthy image of balance for life.

For one thing, it’s ignorant of reality. Life is not a constant. It’s not like a high-tension wire strung between two buildings. Life is always in motion. There are times when work life is hugely demanding, and times when the demands lessen. There are times when family life is the focus, and times when it doesn’t need so much of our attention.

Rather than life balance being a tight-rope, I see it as a see-saw. Balance is not found in keeping the see-saw static, but in keeping it moving by giving gravity a kick-start.

  • Give it a kick-start– it’s not just the weight of the other person that moves the see-saw, we also kick off from the ground. So don’t wait for life to hand you an opportunity for a date with your spouse – give it a kick-start and put it in the diary. Make sure important stuff is locked in. It does require some of our energy.
  • Move with gravity – much of life is out of our control, and adjusting becomes very important. If work has eased off, grab the opportunity to go home early and hang with the family. Work pressure will return, but until it does, make the most of the reprieve if you can.