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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Myth of a Balanced Life

Sandra D. Bricker was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years. She is now a best-selling, award-winning author of laugh-out-loud fiction for the inspirational market. As an ovarian cancer survivor, she gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure. Her latest novel, Book #3 of 4 in the Another Emma Rae Creation series for Abingdon Press, is Always the Designer, Never the Bride. Sandie invites every reader to click the FOLLOW button on her newly-redesigned BLOG and contribute to the ongoing conversations.

For the last few months, Novel Rocket laid out the red carpet to me and allowed me to feature one of the devos from the line of devotionals for women on-the-go that I put together for Summerside Press. It was a wonderful way to uplift readers while introducing them to these wonderful books. As those weekly features came to an end, I was invited to permanently join the Novel Rocket team. I couldn't be happier about it! Starting this weekend, I'll join you here a couple of times per month. As a regular feature on the third Sunday of each month, I'll bring you a special Bible study that I write for my church, CedarCreek, and their daily Bible study program called Living It Out (LIO). Each study is taken from the pastor's Sunday sermon, attempting to bring clarity and further explanation, or just to bless you in a deeper way as you strive to "live out" the teachings of the Bible. If you're interested in a deeper look at what you read here, please feel free to SIGN UP for daily emailed studies to be sent to your inbox, or check out the audio versions for a quick Bible pick-me-up each day. I'm so proud and pleased to be an official member of the Novel Rocket team, and I hope to bless, uplift, minister and/or entertain you whenever we come together! --Sandie


On to The Myth of a Balanced Life:

The contemporary world view of finding balance is not the same one that Jesus represented in His daily walk. Today’s idea of achieving symmetrical life balance is a myth.

The dictionary’s definition of balance: to arrange, adjust, or proportion the parts symmetrically.
Countless studies, polls, research grants, and psychological reports have centered around the need for the average American to find optimum balance for their lives. But is this type of balance really an achievable (or desirable) goal?

Judging by today’s standards, Jesus didn’t lead a balanced life at all. He worked long hours, skipped a lot of meals, regarded His goals with a large degree of tunnel vision. He even removed Himself from His daily routine for more than a month, focusing on one thing and one thing only. Not exactly balanced, right?

In your busy life, what are the things you make time for, no matter what the cost? Sleep, even if it’s not as much as you’d like. “Bio breaks,” as they’re sometimes called, are pretty non-negotiable. A couple of meals each day, even on-the-go, are a requirement for everyone. Your spouse and kids are a required priority. Unfortunately, activities such as key relationships, leisure time and daily prayer often take a back seat for long periods when our lives are at full throttle, and we often perceive that as failure.

In John 4, Jesus set a good picture-type for us about setting priorities in our lives. When asked about stopping to eat in verse 34, He stated, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”

Everything else took a secondary position to following the call of God on His life and fulfilling His purpose; yet He still made time for the other things. Jesus showed us throughout His life here on earth that true “balance” comes from knowing what is central, and building everything else around it.

It’s no wonder that the contemporary vision about building symmetric lives has created a world filled with defeated and harried participants. With Jesus as our Teacher, however, we can see that this idea that evenly measured distribution should be chased (and can be eventually attained) by every human being…is a MYTH.

8 comments:

Elaine Stock said...

Sandra, thanks for this lovely devotional. What a pressure-release! As an American, it really is too easy to get pulled into a ridiculous amount of directions & then to actually feel guilty for not accomplishing everything during every second of the day. I'm signing up for that Bible study you offer. You're right. It's absolutely necessary to focus on the way Jesus handled His life while on earth, in the human sense.

Praise God about your surviving ovarian cancer. My mother died of it just short of one month past her 46th birthday--during Mother's Day weekend. The other day I'd Tweeted for women to get screened. I'm glad you're passing the message on too. May you be blessed with much health.

Author Sandra D. Bricker said...

Thanks, Elaine. Screening is indeed important ... but until we develop an effective diagnostic tool, it's kind of a roll of the dice. It hurts my heart to say so, but it's true.

Your note really lifted me up. Thank you for coming by! --Sandie

Beth K. Vogt said...

Sandra,
Thanks for such a freeing perspective on balance.
As Elaine said, this devo is a pressure-release. Some days it feels like I'm trying to balance both ends of a seesaw -- never quite getting the thing to balance.
Well, duh. Of course I'm not. I'm setting myself up for failure.
Maybe I need to stop focusing on the ends of the seesaw and remember what's at the center.

Elaine Stock said...

Beth--what a fantastic visual you just gave me: picturing Jesus in the center of that tottering seesaw. Wow. Thanks.

Gina Holmes said...

Welcome aboard Sandie!

Ane Mulligan said...

Sandie, this devotion will be a balm to so many who strive for what they've heard is attainable. I'm so glad you wrote it. And we're delighted to have you on the team. :)

Debra E. Marvin said...

Agreed. Teeter Totter
And the closer you are to center the less motion and effort it takes.

Jim Rubart said...

Cannot comment. Must get back to my manuscript.