Redefining Balance

A few weeks ago was the Autumnal Equinox, and I happened to be at yoga that night when I had a DUH moment.

On the Equinox, daylight and darkness are nearly equal. By God’s design, the Universe doesn’t achieve balance for a season or a year or a lifetime — just on that one day.

Do you know what this means?!

Balance isn’t a lifestyle.

If God chooses to maintain balance for a mere 24 hours, why do WE work so hard to live an entire lifestyle of balance? Wouldn’t it be healthier to find contentment in the lopsided reality of the world around us?

I personally have a hard time seeing beyond the chaos I’m in right now. It’s always going to be this way! I whine. But it’s not always going to be this way. Yes, maybe life is a little lopsided right now, but in just a little while the world will tilt into balance, and I’ll find relief until it tilts out of balance again.

It’s a rhythm I can count on when times are desperate and I need a little hope.

Balance is a signal of change, not an example of permanence.

When we hit the Equinox, we can’t hang on to those long, wandering days anymore. Fall brings back a natural rhythm to our lives, and we need to leave the carefree days behind us. But then, just as we’re despairing that Winter will never end, the Spring Equinox tilts us back into those carefree wandering days of summer again.

When I feel overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m doing too much. And I’m trying to do too much because I want to hang on to everything. But the momentary balance of Equinox encourages me to let go of something for a season so I can embrace whatever the new season has for me.

And based on my experience, those things I let go of usually pop up again in a season yet to come.

For example, my kids are older and more independent now. They have new and different needs than they did as toddlers and younger elementary school aged, but their independence affords me my own independence in a way I haven’t experienced since before I had kids. My reality has new challenges, but it’s tilting in a new direction.

Balance ushers in the {new} New Year.

I’ve always thought of Fall as the real New Year. My kids are back in school, my clients are back from their summer time off, and I start setting goals and routines into place for the coming season, both personally and professionally.

Things that are stressing me out

Not too long ago I had to make a list of Things That Are Stressing Me Out Right Now. My brain was filled with worry and conflicting priorities, so I wrote it all down in hopes that the piece of paper would carry my worries away.

Unfortunately, my paper was not a magical problem solver, but at least I was able to see clearly that I was hanging on to too much and that maybe it’s time to make a change.

If you read Galatians 5:22-23 in The Message, the narrative describes how living God’s way develops a “willingness to stick with things,” and that “we find ourselves involved in loyal commitments.” But in the previous verses, we read about the horrible consequences of trying to get our own way all the time — like “small-minded and lopsided pursuits.”

This irony resonates with me — the more I try to hang on to things, the more flakey I become. But when I sit down and remind myself of who I am, where I’m going, and what I need to shed to get there, I become more resolute in the Mission God’s called me to.

Abundant life is found in the full tilt.

And finally, I leave you with the idea that perhaps God didn’t intend for us to be “in balance” because he wants us to lean full tilt into him for everything. Paul says in Ephesians 1:

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

Jesus wants us to feel abundantly free — not just barely free and hanging on for dear life — so he provided everything we could possibly need as we tilt into him.

What are your thoughts on balance?

(This is an edited re-post that originally appeared on my business blog.)

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