Balance

bike rideYesterday I watched a father teaching his little boy to ride a bike without training wheels. The father was running behind the little guy, ready to steady and catch him if need be. After a few falls that young cyclist found his balance, wobbling precariously but moving forward on two wheels. Talk about a rite of passage. Later that day I took off on a bike ride of my own and realized that I still wobble when I ride. 

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bike. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving forward.” And in my experience even with forward motion maintaining your balance requires constant subtle and sometimes not-so subtle shifting of your weight.

“Living a balanced life” is a popular seminar topic for clergy and I assume that it is for other professions as well. I attended a few of those seminars in my younger days, always returning with a renewed commitment to find and live into the perfect balance. Do I even need to tell you how well that worked out for me?

The myth is that life-balance is static, as if it were some perfect formula that we should be able to follow each day. But like the road conditions under a cyclist’s wheels, life is ever-changing. And like cycling, a balanced life requires both forward movement and constant subtle and not-so-subtle shifting of priorities.

Sure, there are guidelines to be followed, many of them based on the ancient wisdom of scripture. My denomination (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) encourages us to consider life through the lens of The Wholeness Wheel, attending to the social, emotion, physical, financial, vocational, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of life. That’s helpful stuff, but we set ourselves up for failure if we think we can evenly divide our lives and calendars into segments and attend equally to each.

Instead, perhaps balance in life is like balance on a bike. You can “feel” it when you find it, and if you don’t attend to it the road rash can be painful. But it’s also helpful to know that running right behind us is the Father, ready to catch and steady us along the way.

Want to read more on life balance? Check out this excellent blog by Michael Hyatt which stirred my thinking for this week’s blog.

What have you learned about life balance that might be helpful for the rest of us? Share your wisdom and leave a comment.

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