My little girl is enrolled in a gymnastics class and I love going to watch her practice. The other night, as she was learning how to maneuver on the balance beam, I thought to myself, “Man!, If I tried those stunts, I would surely fall and bust my gluteus maximus!”
Balance…For years it has been my personal mantra. I’ve always tried to achieve proper balance in many different facets of life…work, family, hobbies, etc… But it seems like no matter how hard I’ve tried to live a balanced life, at times, one area or another has gotten slightly out of whack. Why? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m an “all or nothing” kind of person. Or, maybe not.
Here’s a question for you–don’t answer it immediately (to quote James Brown, “Just let it cook for a while”): Is trying to live a balanced life always a good thing?
A while back I read a thought-provoking book on the subject of non-linear leadership, entitled, “Unleashing The Power Of Rubber Bands.” The author, Nancy Ortberg, compared life and leadership to a rubber band: “If a rubber band has too much tension, it will pop; and if it doesn’t have enough tension, it can’t do its job.” In other words, people, like rubber bands, need the element of tension to function correctly.
I don’t know about you, but when there is tension in my life, my natural response is to try and alleviate it. I’m always looking to restore proper balance as quickly as possible. On the surface, it seems like a logical, normal, response. Right? But, the older I get, the more I wonder if that’s always the best approach.
Is it possible that the tension of being slightly unbalanced is an important aspect of life–one that God uses to shape and refine us? After all, if we were perfectly balanced, at all times, we would never get stretched like the rubber band. We would fail to learn, grow, and achieve goals beyond our own self-imposed limits. And taking it one step further, if we were perfectly balanced, we wouldn’t see our need for God.
In the 1984 movie, “The Karate Kid”, Mr. Miyagi instructed his protege, Daniel, in this way: “Danielson–In life, walk on road. Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape. Karate, same way. Either you karate do, “yes” or karate do, “no”. You karate do, “guess so”, then get squish just like grape. Understand?”
I try my best to be a well-balanced individual. But the truth is, I sometimes hide behind the word “balance”. I use it as an excuse to be “middle-of-the-road”, or “luke warm” as it says in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Am I suggesting that we stop striving to live a balanced life? Absolutely not! However, I am suggesting that balance may not always be the most important thing. Maybe what we all need is a little “unbalance” to help create positive tension in our lives; tension that will motivate us to greatness, and ultimately to Christlikeness.
Think About It,