Summary: In order to get balance into your life: 1. You must discover your purpose. 2. You must establish your priorities. 3. You must make your plan.
I receive somewhere between 25 and 50 e-mails a day — sometimes more. Faxes come into the office. There is a pile of mail at our home and the church every day. I hate to think of how many times the phone rings — and I even carry a cell phone to make sure I can always be reached. The answering machine catches any calls I may have missed. I listen to the radio while I drive, to catch up on news and hear what is going on in the world. The television reminds me of all the things I need, what I should buy, how I should look and what I should do. We live in a culture which is overstimulated with messages and demands. How do we sort through all these and find balance in our lives? How do you handle the pressure of what the boss is telling you to do, what your spouse is asking you to do, what the kids want you to do, what the school is requiring of you, what the church is calling for you to do, the expectations of friends, extended family, and community?
There are several approaches. Some people try to do it all. When someone asks them to do something, they try to do it even if they don’t have time or don’t want to do it. They are people pleasers. They cannot say, “No.” Sometimes people try to do it all because they flourish on a crammed calendar. The more they have to do, the better they like it.
I remember one time I became concerned about a young mother in another church I served. I thought the church was asking more than it should from her and she was doing too much. As much as I hated to lose her excellent help, I relieved her of one of the committees she was on. The next month I learned that she accepted the presidency of the local PTO. She was not happy unless she had more than her share of responsibility and work. And she was the kind of amazing person who could do a lot and do it well. Some people even thrive on chaos — the more the better. Their days are a swirl of overwhelming activity from beginning to end.
Still other people handle it by withdrawing from everything. Maybe they have been burned out by people and activities, and now they just say “No” to everything. They never join anything, or if they were involved they quit everything they used to do. It’s the only way they know how to handle it. Others withdraw by retreating into a world of fantasy. They enter a false world where they do not have to be involved with other people on a real level. They sit for hours in front of the television, read countless books or watch an endless string of movies. They retreat into the chat rooms of the internet with its pretend relationships. They withdraw into the imaginary world of internet pornography where they do not have to perform or meet anyone’s expectations, and they can imagine that these women are delighted to meet their needs for love and acceptance. Fantasy becomes preferable to reality. Others become sullen and non-communicative in their withdrawal from life.
But neither hyper-activity nor withdrawal is the answer to feeling good about life and adjusting to its realities. There must be balance. We were not meant to live like this. What happens when a tire is out of balance on your car? One tire out of balance by just a few ounces can shake a whole car. What happens when you have inner ear problems and lose your sense of balance. Your whole world becomes disoriented. It is the same when your life is unbalanced. There must be a balance between home, work, rest and fun. There has to be a balance between the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual part of you.
That balance will look different for each person, because we all have such different God-given personality make-ups. I know people who cannot stand quiet and lack of contact with other people. Inactivity drives them wild. For others too much busyness and contact with other people absolutely drains them of energy. Balance will not be the same for every person, but there are some principles that apply to all of us.
The first thing you have to do, if you are going to have balance in your life is: You have to discover your PURPOSE. What is your purpose in this world? This is the core question of our lives. If you have not thought seriously about this, you have not taken life seriously. Many of the problems in people’s lives would be settled if they understood their purpose in life and lived it out. The Bible says, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8). If it is true that we belong to the Lord, then we have the obligation to live for the Lord. As the Word says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our lives are not our own. They do not belong to us. We belong to God.