I am a firm believer that it’s impossible to balance your life. You should balance your tires and your checkbook but not your life. You can’t balance is your life. It sounds great but it’s not realistic and causes people to feel guilty because they can’t. Someone said that “balance is the ability to neglect all things equally.” I like that definition.
Rather than trying to find balance in your life, it’s wiser to take a rhythmic approach to life. My friend Bruce Miller wrote a book called, “Your Life in Rhythm” and he says: “A rhythmic approach to life offers less guilt and more peace, less stress and more fulfillment, less despair and more hope.” He’s right. When we reject balance we free ourselves from impossible expectations. When we embrace rhythm, we set ourselves free to live in harmony with the rest of our lives.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Solomon wrote: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Solomon is referring to rhythms not balance.
There are two types of life rhythms that we need to be aware of. The first is “Chronos” rhythms. The Greek word “Chronos” refers to regular cycles such as clock and calendar times. They are predictable and measurable. The school year and holiday schedule are “chromos” rhythms. It might get busy but the school calendar and holiday schedule are predictable. On the other hand “Kairos” rhythms experienced, nonrecurring and it not predictable, but these rhythms still flow. “Kairos” rhythms can be quality time such as having a friend over or unexpected event such as dealing with an accident on the way to work.
Miller writes: “We all live in the same world, structured by five fundamental “chromos” cycles: solar, seasonal, lunar, sabbatical, rotational, [year, quarter, month, week, day]. We also live in “kairos” seasons: unique times such as the birth of a child, the college years, rehabilitation after an injury, or retirement. We ride the waves of life as they come” (Bruce Miller, Your Life in Rhythm, 39).
Satisfied people learn to enjoy the natural rhythms of life as they come. If you are a mother who is raising your kids, don’t beat yourself up for not going to the gym like you did before you had kids. Enjoy being a mother and release the expectation that you will be able to work out like you used to. In time your kids will start going to school and you will have more time to work out. Fathers need to be content spending time watching their kid’s activities without lamenting all that they used to get done on a Saturday. This is a life rhythm that needs to be recognized and embraced. Your yard will never look as good as the retired couple next to your home.
They are in a different season of life and have more time to invest on their property. Your life already has rhythms, get in sync with them so you can find contentment and even prosper. Enjoy your kids while they are young. Enjoy visiting the grandkids and stop wishing your kids were young again.
That time has passed and now you have a new rhythm that should be embraced. People who are in sync with their life rhythms are happier, healthier, and feel more prepared to face life’s challenges regardless of where they came from or what they are.
By John Braland, the Lead Pastor at Freshwater Community Church.