Ready, Set, Balance?

Many of us struggle with balancing family, careers, and ministries. We struggle with hearing the voice of God and fulfilling the call we feel we have on our lives. How do we really know what we should be doing, and if it’s God’s timing?

For years, I’ve asked similar questions trying to balance what I felt were my primary vocations in life. A stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and wife, pursuing a writing career. But just when I’d get my “plates” spinning and balancing on the pole of “life,” one “plate” would demand more of my attention, then another and another, and before I knew it I’d be running around trying to keep the plates spinning.

After years of unsuccessful balancing and too many broken plates, I’ve concluded true balance is impossible for most people. While some are successful at this balancing act, for the average person, once we start spinning those plates, it’s impossible to keep them going long before they come crashing down. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once.

For many of us part of our problem is that we’re trying to balance things we shouldn’t. After our plates fall, we scale back but continue with our little side-show life which now resembles more of a juggling act with several balls in the air as we desperately grasp for the other. While others around us can easily see the problem, from our perspective it’s hard to see which “ball” we should drop and let roll away. Maybe it takes all of the balls dropping before we can see which ones we should include in our life’s routine.

So is balance an illusion or is it possible to have peace while juggling all the responsibilities and callings on our life?

Yes…and no. Balance implies that all things are equal, evenly weighed in our lives and given the same attention at the same time. But is that what Christ taught? Should things be equal, in balance? Jesus seemed to have one focus in his life. To share the good news. But if we look closer, we see that when it was time to minister, Jesus ministered and when it was time to rest, he rested. He knew the true secret to balancing life involved setting priorities.

Instead of spinning plates or juggling balls, we need to look at the various responsibilities of our lives like wearing different hats. No balance involved there. You simply put the family hat on your head, secure it so it won’t fall off, and it’s family time. Time for you to focus on being mom or dad, grandpa or auntie. Instead of thinking about getting to your inbox or client, focus on movie and pizza night or a day at the park with the kids. Then when it’s time to work, switch hats.

Many of us will be eager to exchange our plates for hats. Some will have a closet of hats. Others only a few. Some will be trading hats every hour, others every day. Some hats will be more appealing, and our hand will gravitate to the one that fits most comfortably on our head, but all need to be worn to find that “balance.” To taste the sweetness of “having it all.” Then there are others who will continue to spin plates and juggle balls, their lives resembling a three ring circus.

Is this a full proof formula? No, just something I’ve learned along the way. Something that would work for me if I switched hats more often and stayed out of the “ring.”

2 Responses to Ready, Set, Balance?
  1. Beth
    August 19, 2009 | 10:28 am

    So So True, Gina! Thank you for this “timely” post, as I needed to hear it very much this morning 🙂

  2. Gina
    August 27, 2009 | 8:09 am

    Beth, you’re welcome! I write ’em as I live ’em!