The Virtue of Imbalance

One of my friends told us about his daughter’s basketball coach. The coach kept the girls busy morning and night, even over the holidays. The coach told the kids, “You have to balance sports, school, church, and sleep.”

He omitted family.

Even so, are sports, school, church, sleep, and family equals to be balanced? I’ve been told to balance life’s demands, balance work and family, balance my emotions, and balance my checkbook.

Today, I say… Forget about it. Balance is not your friend.  I hereby set you free from balancing life’s demands. You’ll be trapped.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)?

By his word FIRST, Jesus delivered us from the blandness of balance. Life is to be about IMBALANCE. We tilt toward God first, family second. Everything else comes down the line. Instead of thinking balance, think priorities — a predetermined imbalance.

1. A predetermined imbalance puts God in his rightful place. The idea of holding God in balance with any other person or priority is just plain silly. He is above all.

  • Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9, 10, NKJV).
  • For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV). Amen (especially the first part).

2. A predetermined imbalance gives you permission to say no, even to legitimate and pressing needs. Jesus said no when he turned his back on a clamoring crowd that he might spend time alone with God (Matt 1:35-37). It was a holy imbalance that made the Twelve summon the multitude and say, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.” (Acts 6:2, NKJV). Their NO grew out of a God-ordained imbalance toward the calling of God on their lives. Others might have resented it, but God was pleased.

We live in a culture in which people can’t take no for an answer without stomping off in a drama-queenly snit. So good luck with that. Trying to please everybody is the death of a thousand cuts.

No is a complete sentence. Practice saying it: No.

3. A predetermined imbalance helps you put first things first and keep them there. Hobbies, sports, entertainment, socializing, worship, service, Scripture, prayer, leisure, marriage, dating, parenting, caring for elderly family members, ministry involvement, keeping the home, car repairs, sleep, fitness, exercise, shopping, cooking, stewardship, education, training, margin… These things are not equals. Some are essential, some are luxuries, some are desires, some are optional. A mature person differentiates.

There is no way, holy or otherwise, to  balance the hordes of life’s demands. We shouldn’t try. Tilt toward the big stuff. Husbands love your wives, and wives respect your husbands. Do not provoke your children to wrath. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8, NKJV). First things first. Squeeze in the rest.

Have you ever felt like a plate-spinner in a circus? Watch the video and see what balance feels like:

I hereby give you permission to let a few plates fall. It’s okay. Honest. Life will go on. Devote your energy to the important plates, and let the other ones go. God knows. He’s got plans you’re not aware of.

Priorities, not balance, is the message of Scripture.

Life is like filling a dishwasher: put the big things in first, and then squeeze in everything else.

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