Reflections on Balance

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein

When I was a very young child (a baby), I couldn’t walk at first. I didn’t have the strength required to stand up and to move forward. When I first started to test out walking, I fell often as I struggled to maintain my balance. I don’t remember this personally, but I can surmise this to be the case given the struggles I remember my own children having when they initially attempted their first steps.

Over time, walking became easier. Walking eventually turned into running, skipping, and hopping. Then I learned to balance on two wheels as I rode a bicycle for the first time without training wheels at the age of four. My ability to balance was becoming stronger. I remember doing pretty well on the frozen ponds of Wheaton, IL as I balanced on the thin blades of my first pair of ice skates.

Balancing has been a fact of life for my entire life. As I grew older, physical balance continued to develop and grow on the gym floors, athletic fields, and outdoor venues. But I learned that balance also has a time component and a focus component. For example, I often find myself trying to balance my schedule. After all, I can’t do everything at the same time. I must learn to prioritize. I must learn to say “No”, so I can say “Yes”. This is also the same in my areas of focus. What gets focused on gets done. If I spread out my focus too broadly nothing gets done.

Just this week, I had something in my life happen that threw things off balance. I felt like I had been heading in a good direction in this area before an imbalanced, outside force came in and disrupted things. While many of us want to discover the “zen spot” where everything is balanced, I think it’s important to remember that there will always be outside forces which require us to make adjustments to rediscover that balance point.

Is balance worth pursuing? Or is balance – a balanced life, a balanced checkbook, a balanced appointment calendar, etc. – a waste of time and effort?

These are interesting questions. As a disciplined person, I’ve come to depend on balance in my life. It helps me stay the course. Balance keeps me on the right path (at least that’s what I like to think). I probably need to make sure I’m not so self-reliant on my ability to create balance in my life though.

When outside forces or events come in and disrupt my balance, I have often been reminded of the importance of trusting in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to “Trust the Lord with all our hearts. Lean not on our own understanding. Acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight (paraphrased).” Perhaps restated Proverbs 3:5-6 might read, “Rely solely on God for balance in your life. He’s there for you even when life seems out of whack.”

Where do you find balance in your life? What areas seem balanced right now? Where do you need God’s help right now to reclaim balance?

A few weeks ago, my Mom fell and broke her hip. She is 73 years old, and she suffers from Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Over the past few years, we have seen a decline in her ability to balance physically. She has been using a cane more regularly the past year or two. She is currently using a walker as she relearns to walk with her repaired hip. Mom’s physical balance more than likely will not get a lot better on this side of heaven. Having said this, I feel blessed to say that even as parts of Mom’s mind begin to disappear, she finds balance in the the Lord. A month or so ago, while we were in Minneapolis celebrating my Grandpa Miller’s life, Mom could be heard singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. God is faithful even when the rest of life feels out of balance. Thanks for this reminder, Mom!