Do you hear people talk all the time about “finding balance” or figuring out their “work/life balance?”
Me too! And I was once one of those people who used to talk all the time about balance. But something I read long ago (like when Price and I were going through premarital counseling close to ten years ago) talked about balance vs. rhythm. It stuck with me, and as more and more time has passed (and the busier life seems to become, even when I try to declutter) I realize that there is so much to think about when comparing balance and rhythm.
When I think of balance, I think of a scale. I’m actually taken back to 9th grade Physical Science. Mrs. Sorey’s class. When she had an actual scale in the room and we tried to get both sides to weigh exactly the same thing. In order to get both sides the exact same, there was so much trial and error. “Let’s add this 10 gram piece. Nope, too much. Ok let’s take it off and add this 8 gram piece. Ok closer! How about trying this 6 gram piece instead. Nope, not yet… Ok replace the 6 gram piece with a 5 gram piece. PERFECT!” Finally! Five hours later!
But just as the balance was perfect, something as little as the AC cutting on could throw off the balance. Removing just one teeny piece for either side would throw off the balance. Basically ANYTHING except for complete sameness would throw off the balance.
So think about it… Why in the WORLD would anyone want balance in their lives? Sameness is honestly just nonexistent in this life. And if it was existent, how boring would that be?! Ha! I mean, if the smallest little thing can throw off balance, what’s the point? Just when you find it, it’s gone. Juuuust when you think you’re to a spot where you’ve figured out “the best balance,” literally anything could sweep in and throw the balance off.
So what if we tried rhythm instead? Rhythm is a series of ups and downs. Higher, lower. Higher, lower. I think about two types of waves. The first being a squiggly line on a page. Up some, down, some, up some, down some. To me, the curves are almost like cradles. And the cradles keep life from either hitting the fan or falling to pieces on the floor. I like this picture of rhythm!
I also think about an ocean wave. The steady crashes. The rest that the sound of the water’s ups and downs provides. The rhythm.
When I apply the concept of rhythm to my life, it makes SO much more sense. Life is filled with ups and downs. (As it should be!) As scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time and season for everything under heaven. Laughter AND crying. Plenty AND want. Comfort AND pain. Good AND bad. And I think it’s ok to really take in whatever season of life you’re in. (I once heard at a marriage conference, “don’t rush your season.” That, too, has stuck with me!) I know that I learn so much from the good times and the bad times. If I am always trying to achieve balance, I’d be doing whatever I could to bring my bad back to good, possibly missing whatever it is that I’m supposed to be learning during the bad season! When balance is the goal, there is never rest. There’s always tweaking and moving. Never rest.
This takes me back to the cradle. Cradles make me think of rest, which we all need!
It’s OKAY for a season of life to suck a little bit. Or even a lot. God’s probably trying to teach some really cool lesson if you’ll just trust in him! Just rest in Him, dive into the scripture, and try to uncover some new truth that your “balanced” life might have been missing. For me, this method is so much more fulfilling than trying to always stay the same in the balance. I’m willing to bet it’d be the same for you!
SO. I say all of this to say… The Christmas season is a CRAZY time. Parties, family stuff, church stuff, time at home, time at work, school stuff, time visiting, time by yourself, time shopping, time cooking… I mean, what doesn’t throw itself at you during the holidays?! Amiright? Add the raw emotion of a recent loss or huge change, and your balance is just completely nonexistent. But rhythm? It’s there. It’s totally there. 🙂 Just embrace the crazy and search for truth in every day.
Christmas is a beautiful, wild, emotional season. I know this Christmas will be especially hard for some. It’ll be especially joyful for others! But may I please encourage you to be present and seek joy during this season? “Don’t rush your season.” This season is centered on the TRUTH that Jesus came to save the world. So even though this season isn’t a balanced season, it’s part of a beautiful rhythm that can be fully enjoyed (even on those difficult days) if you just allow it! 🙂