Saturday, September 20, 2008


I've been thinking a bit lately on how to keep my life balanced. I like to be in Scripture alot during the course of a day (not to say I'm in it everyday like that). Of course we can't just be in Scripture, that's not what God's word calls us to do. We're to be meditating on it in the midst of our doing, our living. How I live out the truth of God's word in Jesus is what matters, not merely what I know about it. The kind of knowing in Scripture that God wants for us is both relational and active- to God and others in accord with God's revealed will in Jesus for us in this world.

Politics, the national and international scene I believe are matters that should concern us all. Sports, interests we have- all have their place. More important are our relationships with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and how we live out the faith in Jesus, in the world so as to fulfill God's calling for us. Of course we need to keep all things in mind in relation to the Jesus Creed.

I do think what is best for us in the matter of balance always differs from person to person, and differs from season to season. I do find myself as I get older wanting to slow down and do what I do better, rather than thinking I would like to do x amount of things, while knowing there's likely no way I'll get all of that done.

How about you? How do you look at balance and how it pertains in your life?


Crowm said...

This somewhat applies to the "Second Wind" post for me Ted. Because of a lack of balance and a struggle to say "no", I find myself exhausted at times. I also know of others doing many good things but haven't slowed down until something physical slowed them down (heart attack etc.).

Balance is something we all need. Thanks for the reminder. BTW, Go Spartans...Beat the Irish!

Have a great weekend!

Every Square Inch said...

Ted - I tend not to focus on balance - I tend to think in terms of truth or falsehoods.

I realize there's a notion of moderation but perhaps I don't think much of balance because it sometimes convey the notion of striking a middle ground between two opposing positions.

Would we pursue a balance between love and hatred? Or faith and unbelief? I know that's not what you mean but I just wanted to put my 2 cents in

Odysseus said...

I'm not so sure I want balance. To me, the NT is not about balance but about complete self-giving. Jesus seemed to want all that we have. St Paul wrote that we should be living sacrifices. How can we be a sacrifice and seek balance? To me, the Gospel compels us to completely empty ourselves for God and neighbor. The balance comes when others do the same. In other words, if I am emptying myself for others, they are 'filling me up' by emptying themselves to me. God is working through community to bring balance and diversity. It is only there that balance can truly be achieved.

Peace be with you.


PS: ESI, I like your point. To me it just emphsises the one I am making.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I'm rooting for the Spartans as well. I think my Buckeyes won.

I think to be led by the Spirit is key here. I think we have to get out of the notion that we need to do this or that. Reminds me of what Jesus did both before and during his ministry. Though we don't have much on before, we can be sure he did well in what he did, noted as the carpenter.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I understand your point. While writing this post I was thinking that there is probably or possibly no Scriptural term for balance.

I'm thinking in terms of what we should do in life. Of course I'm not thinking at all in terms of good and evil. How can anyone strike a middle ground between those? Completely foreign to me, also!

But I was thinking in terms of different responsibilities that we have.

Too many ministers have lost their families because they were too busy with their ministry. True also of seminarians.

And a hobby or something recreational can begin to take too much of one's time. As Paul said, those who use the things of this world, must not become engrossed in them, because this present order is passing away. (1 Cor 7).

Hopefully I've explained myself better. I'm sure I could have worded my post better.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think you're right in that God's working in community and by the Spirit helps bring in balance.

I guess my thinking here can be nebulous because balance is different for everyone. For some this will involve much more reading. For others more active ministry. Much depends on our differing gifts and call.

Ted M. Gossard said...

To ESI and OD,
Thanks for challenging me here.

I really do think it's hard to negotiate what to do with our time, and it varies depending on many factors, for us all. We have certain responsibilities and also opportunities as well as things we can enjoy.

So I'm just trying to think that through a little.

But I do think you're point is well taken, that perhaps "balance" is not that helpful a word, not in the way at least I was thinking of it.

Rachel Mc said...

Ted, balance is everything! I haven't been able to find my "balance" since I went back to school, August 24th. It seems my life has been one long whosh....I haven't had time to read your blog, keep up with scripture reading or house work. However, I feel I am finding my balance finally. It always takes me time to get a schedule going and get comfortable with it. I read everyones posts on this and can't relate to ESI and Odsseus. I can't possible think of emptying myself so someone else can fill me..I am just treading water. But the curious thing is I feel like I am supposed to be in this chaos right now, and I feel very connected to Christ because my personal spiritual routine has been upset but I am learning to constantly be connected to Christ in thought...

Ted M. Gossard said...

I'd like to add to this that I think routine as in "Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice." (Psalm 55:17) is Scriptural. To be in the habit to do certain things is not a bad thing, necessarily.

Routine in what we do suggests to me, balance in not letting ourselves be taken up with things not helpful to our calling (and calling is multi-faceted, taking in family responsibilities, as well).

That there are certain things I need to do or that help me keep my balance, so to speak, in my walk with the Lord (not what I mean of "balance" here, of course), and some things may throw me off course in the way of the Lord. Of course that can involve underlying issues that I need to address before God or with others.

There are certainly times to get away and rest, as well as work hard- as we see from Jesus.

So I'm not sure what I was trying to get at on this post is completely foreign to Scripture or to life. Of course Scripture speaks to life. I'm soon in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and will listen to them with your thoughts in mind.

Just some more thinking, out loud.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, and I like your thought here. Our routines are definitely different in different seasons. Sometimes hard to figure out how to negotiate them before the Lord. Certainly different for you now!

Certainly the last thing we need, and what we most certainly don't find in Scripture, is a list of what we're to do during a day and how much time should be spent at each. It will differ for us all.

Thanks for your last thought, as well!

Will pray for you, as I remember.

Odysseus said...

What if we see all of life as 'ministry'? That is, I don't there is an ounce of difference between our 'spiritual' life and our 'natural' life. This dualism is a thief. When we accept it, we start thinking that one is better than the other or more important than the other. This leads to all of the things you have hinted at, Ted. People spending too much time with church and not enough time with family (or visa versa). However, God is God over all things. All things are sacred and need to be seen as such. Going to church and serving there is just as sacred as working in our gardens or going to the store or working at our jobs or going to school.

With that stated, however, I will say that we can be 'side-tracked' into less important things. We DO need to 'make time' for all sorts of things in our lives and we have to 'balance' between work and play and whatever.

Peace to you.


Anonymous said...

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

“There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves” Frank Herbert

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” Thomas Merton

“I balanced all, brought all to mind, the years to come seemed waste of breath, a waste of breath the years behind, in balance with this life, this death.” William Butler Yeats

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” William Arthur Ward

“How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves” Thomas Kempis

there are moments in this life that God gives us a sense of balance, and in those little moments, all we have time for is to look around in surprise and thankfulness...and maybe a quick cry of woopeeee! nAnCy

Ted M. Gossard said...

I certainly agree that all of life is ministry and that most dualisms are wrong, sacred and secular being among them. My thoughts on balance had nothing at all to do with that! I really think I've been misunderstood here.

At the same time, probably there's a better more Scriptural way to explain it; that I don't doubt.

Thanks again for the challenges. Can sharpen us, and it has done so I think here with me, and it certainly has made me think (between you, and ESI).

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your quotes and words on "balance". Keeping one's balance by walking by faith and by the Spirit come to mind as I think on this more.

Anonymous said...

"...balance by walking by faith and by the Spirit..."