· By Grace Snively
What does BALANCE mean?
Balance to me has always meant equal. When I balance my checkbook, I want my statement to equal my ledger. Back in my school days, I remember balancing math equations. Don’t ask me how to do it now, but all I remember is that the numbers on each side of the equal sign had to be the same. When I think of balance, I think of the scale with two sides. You must have equal weight on each side for the scale to be “balanced.”
I often hear people talking about “finding balance” in their life. When I began wanting to find balance in my life, I started by making a list of all of the roles I have in life: wife, mom, teacher, student, writer, reader, runner, etc. Next, I looked at my 24 hour day, or even my 7 day week, to make sure I was paying equal amounts of time to each area of my life. If you have ever tried this approach, you will know it doesn’t work this way. I have tried many times, and failed, at trying to equally divide my time amongst all of the roles in my life.
Balance may mean equal to my checkbook, but balance does not mean equal to my life. Balance, to me, describes the well-known concept that I should be filling up more than I am pouring out; making more deposits than withdrawals. I know we have heard these terms before, but they truly have meaning. I am by no means a pro at this, and I am constantly in self-reflection in thinking about this concept. For example, if my son has had a difficult morning, and I have poured most of my energy into him before lunch time, I need to refuel. So, I might take a nap during his morning nap. Yes, the laundry needs done and the toys need picked up. But, let’s be honest, those toys are coming right back out when he wakes up, and maybe while he plays, I can play too (which really means folding laundry.)
I may spend eight hours of my day teaching, four hours of my evening being a mom - dinner, dishes, baths, playing, bedtime story, etc. and now half of my day is gone. My husband and I may only get thirty minutes of an adult conversation, and I may only get ten minutes of quiet in the shower, but those forty minutes before I close my eyes to rest, can refuel me. Think about it; a tank of gas can give us hours of driving, but it only takes a few minutes to fuel up.
Not everyday has to include our time divided equally, down to the minute, to be considered a “balanced” life. What we do need, everyday, is to fill up what we have poured out. Find the small things that refuel you; reading a devotional, taking a walk, listening to a podcast, eating a snack, etc. Take a few minutes and refuel, you’ve more than earned it!