November 18, 2013
Is balance the objective? I have often gone through the process of self-evaluation and personal goal planning. In such sessions, one usually evaluates his or her efforts in the various roles of life, like: how am I doing as a father/parent; as a member/minister in my church; in my vocational role; as a witness to my neighbors; as a steward of my finances and possessions? The results and goals that come out of this type of evaluation normally lead us to plan for a greater balance in our lives. In other words, we realize we are “lopsided” or that we don’t really act upon or give attention to those core values we have stated in our life. They are “ideals,” and therefore, not real priorities. In the balance dialogue, we draw our life like a giant pie chart and try to make every area have an equal amount of effort so as to appear proportional. We immediately think of better time management skills, and also compartmentalize the different areas of the pie chart into “spiritual” and “non spiritual” activities. Is that really the objective?
Concerning this topic, John Ortberg suggests: “The quest for balance lacks the notion that life is to be given to something bigger than ourselves. It lacks the call to sacrifice and self-denial—the wild, risky, costly, adventurous abandon of following Jesus.” Imagine a “time management consultant” discussing with hungry, neglected children what they need. Or, how about this statement to the Apostle Paul:
“Paul, if you look at this pie chart, I think you’ll agree with me that your spiritual life is going pretty well. But vocationally, your tent-making has seriously fallen off. This has led to some downsizing in your financial portfolio. Let’s take a look at the time log I asked you to keep since our last meeting.”
The crux of the problem with managing and balancing your life is that only it seeks to control the external pressures of life. But the real need is to deal with the heart and our attitude towards those external issues — to order our hearts and examine our devotion to the Lord so that we might better accomplish whatever we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Colossians 3:17). God wants us to do whatever it is we do during our every waking moment for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24). Does allowing God to order my heart affect my desires? Absolutely. Does it affect my resulting actions? Certainly. God wants your heart and your mind so that He can have your strength and time in devotion to Him.
Ask God to rule your heart and mind. Take some time to really listen to God. He made you for a purpose and redeemed you to be where He wants you doing what He desires. Purpose to live every moment in fulfillment of His actions through you to those around you.