The desire for a balanced life is a common pursuit in our world. The struggle for most is that life is so busy that we don't know how a healthy balance is achieved. It is my personal belief that the word “busy” is just contributing to the reality of increasing stress and negativity in today’s society. How often do we hear statements like, “I am just too busy.” “If only I wasn’t so busy.” “How did today get so busy?” A couple years ago I made a pact with a friend that we were going to veto the word busy and instead choose to declare, “I have a full life.” This change in perspective also helped me to see that life isn’t about achieving the “right” balance, but about achieving a more fulfilling life. This can happen through a simple paradigm shift.
Jeff Olson, author of “Your Life in Rhythm” shares that the goal should be to find a more natural way to live. In this case, living rhythmically leads to a healthier life verses the stress caused by pursing a life of balance. He goes on to remind us that our entire world moves in rhythms. Seasons change. Our bodies even function according to rhythms. Olson states, “If we shift our time-management and life-management paradigms from balance to rhythm, we can bring our lives into harmony with the rhythms of the natural world and resolve the unnecessary guilt we feel over trying, but failing, to keep everything in balance.”
Embracing this idea means you embrace the reality that there are times in life where you are working on something significant that will leave less free time in your day. For example, prior to launching the “Seeing Color” blog it took a significant amount of work beforehand including some extra time away from our families, hobbies, and so forth, but we knew it would be followed by a time of more rest enjoying the fruit of our labor.
Another important example are matters that require taking time to serve others outside of your family and work life? When pursuing balance it is easy to accept that in order to achieve balance there really isn’t much time for extending yourself past your own personal sphere of daily responsibilities. But what if accepting a life of rhythm embraces our responsibilities beyond our most pressing circumstances to seeing the pressing circumstances around us. Jeff Olson goes on to say, “churchgoing people seem especially keen on maintaining a balanced life. But in reading the Bible cover to cover, I found no instruction to balance my life. Moreover, Jesus’ life does not seem to have been balanced at all. He says to take up our crosses and lose our lives. Sacrifice and balance don’t blend well. If anything, Jesus encourages radical lives, not balanced ones.”
On my way home from a meeting to cook dinner for my family, I stop to run an errand. Instead of rushing pass people I notice a homeless man in need outside the store. I choose to consider how I can help this man today. I had to stop at the store today because tomorrow my husband is mentoring a youth which he does on a weekly basis. Although we have our kids at home, they get to witness us prioritize serving others in need in our life of unbalance. We have found a rhythm that is making our lives more full, not more busy.
In all honestly, we all have 24 hours in a day. Our life is really a reflection of what we prioritize to do in that 24 hours. I ask myself every day how am I stewarding all that God has given me to make the world a better place. I can look at the choices I am making to do so, and each one requires some level of sacrifice. However, as Olson so excellently states, “rhythm honors excellence and the sacrifice required for achievements while also providing time for renewal.” So I ask you, “What does your 24 hours reflect?” And I encourage you to start seeing life as full, not busy. In my experience “busy” people are often too busy to see people, to notice their beauty, their struggle, and the differences that we can all learn from.
“I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
…’I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
Find your rhythm my friend and join me in living a full life leaving our footprint of positive change on this world.