There's a lot of talk in our world about "balance." It's the idea that if we just keep all things in perspective, and more importantly, in proportion, then our lives must be "good." If we have too much or too little of this or that, then our lives are out of balance and must be "bad."
We talk about this in all sorts of ways. We talk, for example, about the "work-life" balance, as though we must efficiently budget our hours between working at the office and working at the house. We talk about seasons, about sometimes having more and sometimes having less, and how this tends to "balance" itself out in the end. We talk about closing one door and opening another, or closing a door and opening a window, because it is this type of balance between opened and closed that permits fresh air to flow through our lives. Sometimes, we even kidnap the Eastern idea of yin and yang.
We talk about achieving balance with the various elements of our lives, and we talk about achieving balance within ourselves. Yoga, pilates, and other various such forms of exercise are all about "finding our balance" and "bringing ourselves back to center." As if center is the absolute best place we could be.
It is where we want to be. Center. Center stage. Right in the middle of it all. And to do this, we have to keep everything else balanced around us.
Ever feel like you have a thousand plates spinning in the air? Welcome to "balance."
But there is good news. You don't have to live this way! You don't have to live your life seeking "balance." And in fact, you shouldn't.
This message comes as very much counter-cultural, but balance was never the idea that God had in mind. God never intended your world to hold everything together in perfect measure. He never imagined that you were supposed to be the center of it all, that things were supposed to be weighed out according to keeping you centered. You weren't meant to be centered.
You were meant to be stretched.
There are several significant, unavoidable problems with our idea of balance. There is a logical problem - balance prohibits its own claimed accomplishments. That is, balance can never give you what it says you get out of the deal. With balance, your life can never be "good."
There is a creational, or scientific, problem with balance - it is simply not the testimony of the creation. There is nothing in creation that exists in perfect balance with anything else - not time, not seasons, not planets, not plants, not animals. Nothing. The world that we live in was not created in balance.
There is a Scriptural problem with balance - it's not God's design for us. God never says, "Make sure your lives are in perfect balance." He never says, "This is how you must balance the elements in your life." He never says, "Then, when your life is balanced, all things will go well with you." Nothing in God's Scripture is held in perfect balance. It's not His testimony.
Over the course of this week, over the next four days, I want to look at each of these problems individually and flesh out some of the argument on why we are wasting our time with balance, why balance will never get us to "good," and how we ought to be managing our lives differently, with an eye on the one idea that resolves these three problems.
What is that idea?