Friday, June 5, 2009


Ever wonder why Americans are so out of balance?

We take everything to the extreme. If something tastes good, we eat as much of it as we can, as often as we can. We eat even when food doesn't taste good or we're not hungry. If we want to lose weight, we find some diet that starves us, we knuckle down and stick to it until the unwanted pounds fall off and we can get back to indulgence. How have we missed the wisdom of elder cultures that have discovered good health in balance?

Actually, our tendency toward excess is being exported around the world today until countries, which used to understand balance, are becoming more and more overworked, overfed and overstressed just like us.

Let's step back. Take a breath. And think a moment.

Balance makes me think of a tight rope walker. He's got to keep his feet in line. One step too far to the right or the left and BOOM, he hits the crash mat below.

Life isn't that restrictive--Thank the Lord! But take too many steps too far to one side or the other and balance is lost. When we lose balance we lose right perspective and good health--spiritual and physical.

Nature demonstrates balance. The earth needs water. Too little water and life dies. But too much water and life dies as well. It's natural. We understand that if you over water a plant it will die. And we understand that if you forget to water it for too long it will die. We have to regulate our watering schedule for our plants.

How about us? Do we make the effort to keep ourselves in balance? Our health depends on it as well. We may indulge in a piece of cheese cake for a special occasion and be just fine. But if we had cheese cake every night our bodies would take the toll. N'est ce pas?

Is it possible to be too spiritual? Of course, if we thought we had to read the Bible eight hours every day and when we were not reading we could do nothing but preach to our neighbors, we'd be out of balance. And probably not appreciated by those neighbors.

On the other hand, we Americans probably tend to the opposite extreme more often. We're so busy, caught up with so many important tasks (often ministry related), that we rarely have time to give attention to the Word, Prayer or Meditation. Hard to be like Christ when you don't know Him.

It must be possible to make Him our priority and still get day to day stuff done. If we decide that God is our first priority, we set a certain amount of time for His presence and His word each day. Then if our schedules get out of hand and we miss that time one day, we'll get back to it the next--no big deal. But if we wait until we get all our tasks accomplished, we'll never have time for Him.

Balance is healthy in every aspect of life. Balance includes a large dose of grace and readjustment. Invariably we'll get off that line of balance. At that point, we just forgive ourselves, as Christ does, and get back to what we know is right. This holds true in spiritual disciplines, diet or any other aspect in life.

Don't forget balance when it comes to other people too. Allow them to get off to one side or the other. Forgive them. Encourage in a positive way, a way that doesn't judge, to move back to center.

Let's don't get stressed-out about it. Just remember moderation and balance. And always allow yourself room to readjust.


  1. I like the way that you stress balance. There is a lot of good common sense in this post. Have a great day!

  2. Balance for pastors after a Sunday of ministry! Here is a humorous look from Bonhoeffer: A recent post talks about Bonhoeffer and "winding down" on Sundays.