Everyone has their own idea of what it means to be “in balance.” Some people like to go with the flow, live spontaneously and take whatever life gives them. These people tend to be amiable, relaxed, and easy to get along with, though their lack of planning may sometimes get them into trouble. On the other end of the scale, you have the sort of people who run their lives (or homes) like a marine barracks, who schedule every moment and stick rigorously to a set of rules or disciplines. Of course, most of us are somewhere in-between—and most of us have tried different styles at different points in our lives.
Because despite how different our answers can be, we’re all responding to the same problem. We all want to live happy, healthy, productive lives. The curious thing is that there’s no one point along that scale that scale which I’ve ever seen lead to all those positive things consistently across different lives and circumstances. Of course, balance is important, but I’ve come to understand that the key to balance is not located anywhere along the sliding scale of discipline to flow.
Once, I had a client who religiously watched every bite she ate. She was a vegetarian, and even though she had a good diet, her health was suffering. So I was rather uneasy when my testing indicated that she needed to go out and eat a big, juicy hamburger. As expected, she was furious when I told her that, but in the end, she tried it anyway, and almost immediately felt much better. Now, I believe she is primarily vegetarian, but allows herself occasional exceptions. My point is, the problem wasn’t really with her habits, per se, but that she was allowing those habits to run her life.
Think of Jesus addressing the religious leaders who rebuked Him for healing on the sabbath. He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” I think the same is true for all of the practical aspects of living. Balance is usually characterized by temperance and moderation in all things. But if our lives are to have any real meaning, then there should be some foundation on which our sense of balance is built. A concept radical enough to provide us with the context to determine what is and is not “balanced,” and therefore itself above the concept of balance. This, I believe, is the role of love. Not an aspect of balance, but the reason why it should be as it is.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd