by Glenn on August 19, 2014

think of balance as
a verb rather than a noun
striving, not a state

I hear people say, and I’m sure I’ve said it, too, “I need to find balance.”

I’ve come to believe that balance is not something we find, it’s something we do. It’s not a life achievement but a life skill. We don’t find balance. We balance. This is a part of life.

Balance is a bit like happiness in that it cannot be directly pursued. It’s the byproduct of something else. For me, happiness comes when I’m not looking for it. I’m engaged in meaningful activities and pursuits and connecting with people for whom there is care and concern, then I am happy. I may not even be aware of it in the moment. I realize on reflection that I was happy.

Same with balance. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to live a completely balanced life at all times. Few of the realities of our life, internal or external, are static weights that may be placed in such a way that we achieve balance. Those internal and external realities of life are in flux, shifting. They throw us off balance.

There are areas of life that ask for increased attention from time to time or for a season—the extra load at work, the new life commitment, the volunteer assignment, the pain you feel in your body. We choose to give time and energy to these things because we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.

But meeting those demands means neglecting other things—for me, relationships, devotions, reading, writing, listening, exercising. These are essentials for my well-being.

This is life: balancing demands and neglects.

I give up the search for balance. Instead, I realize that one of the things I need to do, fairly constantly, is balance.