One of the catchiest words in the parenting world is “balance.” We’re to constantly seek balance in our lives. Whether it’s between our role at home and at work, or between our call as spouse or parent. Balance your personal relationships and your family time! Balance your ministry engagement and your social life.
That’s not to speak of the regular balance we seek in our day-to-day lives as well. How do we balance our kid’s nutrition with actually getting them to eat… anything? Or our desire to relax with our need to exercise? How do we balance rest with family trips, and school activities with church activities, and spending one-on-one time with our kids with allowing them to spend time with peers?
Are you tired yet, just reading these lists? Are you tired, trying to find balance in your life?
If you are, you might be surprised at this reality: How often does that Bible talk about seeking balance?
Not once does the Bible commend balance, or encourage us to seek it. The word ‘balance’ isn’t even in the Bible, outside of talking about scales or measurements! In short, balance isn’t a principle for life that the Bible commends.
So why do we spend so much time (and energy) seeking it?
As parents, it’s time to get off the balance wagon! God doesn’t call us to balance. Instead of balance, the Bible invites us to use a different measurement tool to decide how to spend our time: Faithfulness.
Consider John 1:14, a description of Jesus. It says he came, “full of grace and truth.” We can see in Jesus’ life that grace and truth were not balanced – he didn’t carefully live 50% full of grace and 50% full of truth. Even though these two character traits seem often at odds with one another, we don’t find Jesus trading off between grace and truth, as in, “Oh, here’s a moment to be gracious – after this I’ll be full of truth!” Instead, Jesus always lived out both realities entirely. He was faithful in his call to be filled with grace, and faithful in his call to be filled with truth.
Instead of balance, the Bible invites us to use a different measurement tool to decide how to spend our time: Faithfulness.
This changes the way we think about our roles and our time. We’re not called to balance being a parent and a spouse – we’re called to be a fully-faithful spouse and a fully-faithful parent. It’s not a give and a take – not a one at the sake of the other, but a ‘both.’ A ‘together.’
In your life, what would it look like if you stopped asking the question, “How can I balance my life,” and started asking the question, “How can I live faithfully?” There is freedom in this question, because the areas we’re called to invest in are areas to which God has called us. And if God has called us to be a spouse, and if God has called us to be a parent, then being faithful in both areas cannot conflict. Faithfulness to God’s call in one area of our life will not result in a lack of faithfulness in another area – that’s simply not how God works.
So, as you consider what faithfulness will look like in your life as a parent, remember: it won’t conflict with faithfulness as a church-member. It won’t conflict with faithfulness as a spouse. It won’t conflict with faithfulness as a follower of Christ. And where it seems like it might, you will need to go back and carefully consider what that faithfulness looks like.
God calls us to be faithful in all things – not balanced.