Striking The Balance

"Lead a balanced life." That's what you hear, over and over, from so many sources.

Today, I had reason to pause and wonder if this really is the best advice.

Whenever I think of trying to balance my life, the mental image that comes to mind is of myself on a unicycle--my head is back, I've got a long metal pole protruding upward from my mouth, two more sticking upright from my hands, and on top of these three poles are precious china plates that represent all the many facets of my life--being a wife; a mother; a friend; time for studying the Bible; my hobbies; my ministry; my duties. The sheer stress of trying to keep all these plates from falling down on top of me in an enormous symphony of shattering porcelain is overwhelming. No wonder I get so little sleep--if I fell asleep, everything might come crashing down!

This image often came to me last winter.

Today, God impressed a new point of view on me.

While balance is important in nature, and something that God designed into it--a state of being we refer to as "homeostasis--coming back to normal"--it is not something that occurs constantly. On a graph, homeostasis could be a straight line running horizontally across the middle, while the actual state of something would be a zigzaggy line that would cross over that center point fairly frequently on a trail of hills and valleys.

This is much like the balancing act I described above--the plates seem to change position all the time, shifting here and there, and I never really feel like everything is completely balanced.

What about this view of balance? The type of balance God calls us to may not be to constantly be trying to keep upright on a unicycle while juggling our many responsibilites. What if real balance is more of a state of being full-out, pedal-to-the-floor on-fire for the things He has given us a passion for?

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15, 16)

This does not sound like the admonition of a God who wants us to be performing a balancing act all our lives!

Notice the word "act" in that phrase. It is an act, isn't it? Who ever really leads a perfectly balanced life? Yet we pretend we do, don't we?

For so long, I have feared the commitment required by this verse. Although I already hold many views that some would consider "radical," I have not come to this point willingly--I have fought God every step of the way on it. Oh, my foolish pride! Now, I see Him calling me ever onward--ever closer to the edge, that wonderful and awesome place where my faith is completely in Him; where I am no longer grasping to take back and control the parts of my life I have half-heartedly handed over before.

Where I am full-out His--and completely at rest. This, I can see now, is true balance. Not trying to stay in the middle of a socially acceptable norm. But living on the edge--the edge He has called me to.

Those who remain in the comfortable boundaries of social acceptability look at those on the edge with suspicion, fear, hurt, mistrust--all because they do not understand what would possess someone to live their lives there. But for those who go there willingly, they know the reason--because only here is there peace. And at the same time, it is the greatest adventure anyone can ever have.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

I stand here, God, ready to put down my poles and my plates, ready to get off this crazy cycle, and move closer to that edge. I fear it--I fear the reprisals, the relationships that may be strained with those who do not understand. I know it is going to happen, for it has happened before, with myself on both the giving and receiving end. But I also know that there is no fear in love, because perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18), and that You are Love (1 John 4:8). So I trust that you will drive the fear out of me as I go to this deeper place in you. I thank you that you are not finished with me yet .

I look forward to this new adventure in You with both excitement and nervousness, like a mother expecting her first child. I pray that you would increase my faith, so that I may be bold, not looking back at the things I am leaving behind, but gently encouraging others to join me in seeking out their own deeper places in You.

I claim the rest in Your above-mentioned promise. Show me how to be at rest. For too long, I have been Martha--now I want to choose the better way that Mary chose. I want to sit at the feet of Jesus, and not be so worried about all the preparations that need to be done. Not be so BUSY.

I want the true balance that Jesus offers.

I want to live on the edge.