In various sports, there’s the concept of short game versus the long game. For example, the short game in basketball could be the shots close to the basket in contrast to the longer distance, 3 point shots. Additionally, a coach has to keep in mind the immediate events (short game) happening, while being aware of having the resources necessary for the end of the game (long game).
I think the same holds true for our walk with God – both the short and long games. The long game could be our life in eternity with God & the short game could be our time here on earth. The short game could be the immediate gratification of desires and the long game could be the death of our flesh so that we have spiritual results. I think that both the short & long games are important. The best way to navigate the balance between these is to stay
One of my children was doing some cooking & attempting to make omelettes. This child enjoys garlic, so they put 1/4 cup of chopped garlic in the omelette & proceeded to eat it. For almost a week after this adventure, this person continued to reek of garlic, despite showers, baths & long hours in a swimming pool. It was a good lesson on the principle of moderation.
Using moderation is good in lots of applications. Here are some specific areas for daily living
Correction & Confrontation: when we need to have a sharp conversation, we would be wise to blend some sincere & gentle words into the discussion
Work & Rest: our personalities tend toward one extreme or the other, so we would be wise to build in some balance with our schedules & planning
Or not! At the end of last ski season, I was ripping a run down the mountain, accidentally flipped, landed on my head & got a concussion. The months since this event have been an “adventure” that I wouldn’t recommend. One of the challenges from this adventure is some balance issues & thankfully, this is getting better.
Seems like we don’t recognize problems with balance until we get out of balance. And if we are honest with ourselves, we tend to go for the extremes rather than cultivate moderation.
Balance is essential in the entirety of our lives. We need balance in how we manage our time, balance with our eating & exercise disciplines, balance in our relationships & solitude, balance between the Word & the Spirit, . . . .
Balance is good & necessary to mature into the people God has made us to be 🙂
When I was learning to snowboard, I would ride in the middle, flat space of my board. This seemed easier & took less work than riding on one of the edges. But whenever I did that, I would inevitably catch an edge & get smashed into the mountain – lots of pain, weeping & gnashing of teeth. I quickly learned that riding the flat part of my board required less balance but was more risky. After some troublesome injuries I decided to quit riding the middle of my board & just stick the edges even though it was more work to stay balanced.
This lesson rings true for me in my daily living as well. When I get lazy & try to do life in ways that are comfy & convenient, I often run into some challenges that could be avoided if I had done the work to live balanced. It helps me to keep keep my edge in life when I do the extra work, intentionally lean into Jesus & trust walk with the Holy Spirit – Gal 5:16 🙂
One of my kids is very steady & generally unflappable. They don’t freak out easily & I love that they are so level. The other side is that they can also be stubborn & resistant to change. I’ll totally give you that not all change is good. But being hostile to change can prevent a person from growing, learning & maturation.
Let’s be people who get the good stuff out of being faithful & steady. But let’s also be people who can learn, adapt & grow! Seems to me that we become moribund & zombie-ish when we refuse to learn & change. If we are perpetually changing, however, we risk the danger of not being committed, the lack of roots & absence of fruit 🙂
One of my children made breakfast yesterday & decided to try their hand at omelettes. This child likes garlic & so they decided to really “pour” it on & you can project for yourself the outcome of the garlic omelette experiment. More than 24 hours later, they still have garlic pouring out of their pores, even after a few hours of swimming yesterday afternoon. While I like garlic, along with lots of other spices, our omelette experiment has reminded me of the importance of balance.
We all have things that we REALLY enjoy (parties, snowboarding, traveling, conversations, friendship, workingout, eating, cooking, etc). But let’s remember that the possiblity always exists that we can overdose on a good thing 🙂
It seems that I can be kind of intense & while this can be really great, such intensity can also be hurtful. But yesterday was a small victory for balance. I had a semi-full day w some spkg responsibilities in the morning & I’m doing a short-term modified eating scheme. I’m also trying to get back into a more consistent workout routine. In the past, I would’ve worked out killer hard & then survive the evening with a partly obliterated body & virtually worthless to my family.
Yesterday was different – when i worked out, I didn’t beat myself to shreds. I was helpful & constructive with my family & I was even able to pray with a good friend. Hooray for balance!!
I get asked the question alot about balancing family, travel, ministry, church, work, etc. and I think its a GREAT question that I also frequently ask. I’m comfortable to share my thoughts on the balance topic, with the foundational understanding that I don’t see myself in any way as an expert on the subject, nor would I even pretend to be all-knowing on this really important question. With that being said, here are some of my thoughts:
for me, balance is often a moment by moment & decision by decision activity
being flexible is essential for balance
focusing on what is most essential helps me to keep my balance
balance sometimes means that I have to re-shuffle schedules, plans & activities (with this re-shuffling, its important not to get cranky about a change of plans)
for me, margin is essential for balance – when I fill time & energy to the maximum, I find it hard to concentrate & make good choices
balance requires wisdom – a gift that God gives to us when we ask Him with faith
Balance – a very good goal that requires agility, wisdom & nimble choices 🙂