the shape of leadership

The Myth of Balance

Learning to embrace life’s seasons

David Lindell on December 3, 2018

If you are in leadership in any church or ministry organization, regardless of size, you have experienced the strain of obligations pulling you in multiple directions at once.

You have people to care for, projects to finish, content to create, problems to solve, events to plan, positions to fill, reports to write, vision to cast, leaders to develop ... and that’s just what you need to get done today. You also have a date with your spouse, a parent-teacher conference, your son’s football game, a pet to take to the vet — oh, and the faucet is leaking.

At times, it can seem like the call of ministry and the needs of your family are at odds.

Many will tell you that the issue is balance, a tranquility-inducing buzzword that so many of us pursue. If only we could achieve more balance, things wouldn’t be this hard. If only we could keep everything in its proper place.

Yet, the quest for balance often leads to more frustration. Frustration comes in the form of the unexpected and inconvenient realities of life. Just when you felt like things were starting to arrive at your preferred equilibrium, something comes along and shakes it all up. So, instead of balance breeding peace, it ends up producing resentment.

Why don’t they understand that I need my space? Why am I always the one they call? When can I meet my needs? People expect too much. It’s not fair!

Life is full of seasons, and every season holds both opportunities and challenges.

It’s not that balance shoulders all the blame for this slow burn toward disillusionment, but when balance is the guide and the goal, it inevitably brings the opposite of the peace we expect. There are just too many opportunities for the scales to get out of whack. So, if balance isn’t the lens we should be looking through, what is?

Throughout Scripture, God reminds us to look at life through the lens of seasons — times He appoints for a particular purpose.

We should choose our words by the season. “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23, ESV). God’s provision comes in just the right season. “You give them their food in due season” (Psalm 145:15, ESV). The fulfillment of God’s plan happens through the progression of the seasons. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, ESV).

In fact, the writer of Ecclesiastes says that everything in your life will fall into a specific season, an appointed time. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Whatever is happening in your life right now is a season. If you are pursuing a degree, that’s a season. If you have two kids in diapers, that’s a season. If you have three teenagers under one roof, that’s a season. If you are starting a new ministry, that’s a season. If you are training up new team members, that’s a season.

Life is full of seasons, and every season holds both opportunities and challenges. Instead of metering out your time and compartmentalizing your priorities, recognize that seasons come, and seasons go.

So, if things are crazy and it’s hard to catch your breath, recognize it’s just a season. Accept the challenge, seize the opportunity, and enjoy the ride. 

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 edition of Influence magazine.


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