Two kids were arguing over cookies. The third was at gymnastics. Her bag was sprawled out on the floor. Husband just completed his masters. She is getting ready to enter into a new community project. This young neighbor, leader and friend said, “I can pick your brain…How do you balance it?”
Before meeting her at the coffee shop, I had led a Bible study on the end of Romans 11 — “Everything is from God, through God, for God and to His glory.” It’s all His. That is the calibration of the “life scale.” All His — from, though, for and to.
We talked for a bit and I threw out a few quips about how our family has tried to balance three decades in ministry, schools, sports, vacations, lawns and life on the Rutledge.
I ordered my coffee and headed to my continuing study of Romans. Romans 12 starts, “Therefore…” In other words, “Now that you understand, know, comprehend what was just shared, here is the next step…”
With all that was said at the end of verse 11, we now have the opportunity “by God’s mercy, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.”
As I read, I’m reflecting back to my simple discussion of balance. Again to properly calibrate the scale, it’s “All His” on one side and “Living Sacrifice” on the other.
With this targeted reality, where do we even get the concept of a balanced life? We get that picture from everyone else. “We could move out to the country so I can have horses.” “I cannot engage with my neighbor.” “Avoid the inner promptings to love or care because it might be awkward.” In other words, “conform to the pattern of this world”… the second verse of Romans 12.
So “How do you?” It starts at the end of Romans 12.2. It starts by knowing “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” The will of God may be complicated but there are a few priorities that can help us find balance in life. The famous NFL football coach, Vince Lombardi, would speak of God, family and football. He would tell his players that they are to love God, care for their family and “Give everything else to the Green Bay Packers.”
It’s not only clear from Vince. The Bible also make it clear that the base to a balance life is your relationship with God. It’s the foundation. You start to discover balance by having a regular relationship with your Creator.
The Bible’s greatest commandment says that you are to love God and love people. “People” starts with your family and your family starts with your marriage. Today, Vince would have said, “God, Marriage, Family, and Football.” If you are married, your primary earthly relationship is your spouse. Many, many people get out of balance because they lose this priority. They will blame “needy kids” or a “busy schedule” but the reality is they’ve lost this primary focus.
Then your kids. Young kids won’t fall out of priority because they cry or get into trouble. Older kids will quietly fade out of priority and into everything else.
With God, marriage and family properly prioritized, you can totally give everything else to your calling and community (note that I say “calling and community.” I believe that wherever you are is where you are called. It really doesn’t matter where you are or why you are there, you are there for a reason.)
So, balance? I am not sure it is the right question. There may be periods of balance, yes. For the most part, though, life in Christ is laying your life down for others.
That is not balanced, but if you have your priorities right, you will find it “good, perfect and pleasing.”