Why balance is overrated

balancingI have used the phrase, more than once, “I just need to find the right balance in my life.” Whether it be with work and home, dreams and reality, me-time and mommy-time, I have defaulted back to this phrase.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t ever find myself striving for balance. I love extremes. It’s how I’m wired…I guess. If I’m going to play, I’m gonna go all out!

The definition of balance changes from person to person. It’s personal. It’s all about how you look at it and what your capacity is. Am I wrong? (Feel free to disagree in the comments. I love a healthy debate.)

I have been thinking about this so much since having a dream the other night encompassing my fear, doubt and excitement with life in my current circumstances.

I was standing on a plank no bigger than my two feet. It was supported by a metal pole and held by someone I didn’t recognize and couldn’t see from my estimated view of 200 feet in the air.

The fear was so real. I had the bitter taste in my mouth. Recalling it now makes me grateful it was a dream.

Just when I was swaying, trying to get my balance, a friend who was sitting on a wall behind me, reached her hand out and said, “Here. Take my hand. I’ll pull you back on the wall.” I glanced down and felt queasy trying to focus on the ground below.

“I can’t.” I answered. “I have to do this! I just need to get my balance.”

The thought of sitting back on that wall made me wilt. Thinking about it now, I know that’s the place I was before taking this wild leap of faith. I know the friend represents all of the relationships I cherish from the position that I left.

Change is hard and I’m pretty confident this dream was about the big life change I have made in my career. However, it could pertain to several areas of my life right now.

I have some critics who want to see me fail. Those who accost me at every turn with why something won’t work. If only they knew how much that fuels my determination. (I guess now maybe they do?) The great thing about critics is they demand that I be on my game. Their sarcasm and thoughtless remarks provoke my creativity. Don’t get me wrong, I get discouraged and introspective when criticism is presented in any way other than constructive.

I also have incredible support from people who love me and want to see me succeed. Those who speak truth into my heart and mind. When I get seemingly too close to the edge, they offer me a hang glider instead of negotiations.

So now the choice is mine. Who will I allow to influence my future? Who will I give access to my decisions? Who do I listen to?

Here is what I know…my Heavenly Father knows my name. He beckons me with His unrelenting pursuit of my heart. Though everything around me changes, He remains. My Constant…my Deliverer…my Redeemer. He cares about the decisions affecting my life. He cares about my pursuits. When I focus on this truth, the naysayers fall silent and their opinion has even less no bearing on my present and future.

Can you relate to my failed attempts at reaching that perfect balance? When did you discover that it doesn’t exist?

Resources worth sharing:
followAndy is unwrapping a series called “Follow” from North Point Community Church. It has given great insight into the things I consistently read, say and do. He made a statement in the most recent message that has been on repeat in my thoughts and prayers as I make a valiant effort to integrate it into my daily life. “When our faith intersects with His faithfulness, everything changes.” 

Here’s a great post by the beautiful, talented and wildly successful, Joy Phenix Joy Phenix
about “Life Blending” instead of “Life Balance.”
“So often, we mentally put our commitments on an invisible teeter-totter, hoping to distribute our obligations evenly. The theory is that balance brings calmness.  The thinking is if we distribute our work evenly, then we’ll be less tired, less stressed, less guilty about our choices, and happier.  The problem is, life isn’t even.” read more…

(credit for balancing photo at top of page goes to google)

Facing the Monster

I was walking through the mall shopping for October birthday gifts when I passed by Starbucks and thought, “No, I don’t need an iced chai with soy!” However, like so many times before, I found myself standing in line with several others wondering why this place held such power over me. As I was debating with my inner monologue, I felt someone walk up behind me. Though small, I knew they were there. Doesn’t seem odd, does it? After all, I’m in line at one of the biggest coffee stores on the planet.

I turned and with a smile acknowledged the young lady standing behind me. I turned back around squeezing my eyes tightly shut and pushing down the lump in my throat. She broke away from the line and went to the condiment bar, taking three splenda though she had yet to order a drink. She stood uncomfortably close to me now.

One by one she tore the tops of the little yellow packets and poured them down her throat.
I was uneasy. People were looking at her strangely. I don’t know if it was because of her emaciated appearance or the fact that she was swallowing artificial sweetener by the pack? I knew all too well what she was doing.

She grabbed a fat-free milk and sparkling water from the cold case. I finished paying for my drink and began walking to the other side of the counter. Everything inside me said, “Say something you idiot! Tell her that she’s going to die! Tell her what she’s doing isn’t worth it!!! TELL HER!!!” (I feel rather certain that she’s heard that before.)

The young man behind the register said, “Miss. Miss! You’re $2.20 short.”
“What?” she replied. As if not to understand.
“You’re short. You owe two more dollars and twenty cents.” He said.
She began scrounging and asking if she could put something back.

“I will pay the difference.” I said.
It just came out! What was I to do?
It was the only way I could reach out to her in a way that made sense.
It was the only way to show this stranger the love she so desperately longed for.
(I don’t tell you this so you’ll think I’m wonderful. I was a thief for much of my younger years, stealing things that I can never repay. This was a small penance for years of wrongdoing.)

Her reactions were slow. I honestly don’t know how she was holding herself up.
Her head had to be difficult to support as it was disproportionately large in comparison to her starved body. She could not have weighed more than 80 lbs. and looked to be about 5’6.

As we both turned from the counter our eyes met. “Thank you ma’am. That is very kind of you.” She said in almost a whisper.
There was so much I wanted to say. Knowing it wouldn’t matter and that she couldn’t receive it, I smiled and said, “You are so welcome.” I held her stare.
Her eyes had no light. It was like staring into a dark abyss. The life that was once there had long since departed. She was dying a slow, self-inflicted death.

We walked separate ways and I said a quick prayer. “God…I don’t know her story, or even her name, but you do. You are all-knowing. If by some chance she felt hope in the few moments we shared, please multiply it and speak truth into her weary soul. Please surround her with people who seek to understand and promote healing rather than judgement and shame. Thank you for allowing me to escape the same fate….thank you for saving me from myself again and again. Thank you…

Maybe you know someone who is starving themselves or eating themselves to death or are somewhere in-between. Maybe that person is you? It’s hard isn’t it? It feels as if there is nothing you can do. This is not the part where I tell you to “just pray about it.” It doesn’t feel like enough, does it?

My prayers during the tumultuous years in the prime of my self-destruction mainly consisted of phrases like, “God please help me. Please, please, help me.” “God, if you’re out there, show me what I mean to you. Show me that I’m not worthless and damaged.” Truth is, I didn’t know how to live life. I almost lost everything because of it. Until I learned the importance of speaking truth into my own heart and mind, my behavior would could not change.

Sometimes all people need is kindness. Sometimes a smile will do. Other times it’s $2.20 while expecting nothing in return. We must be the change. We must. Saying the right words isn’t enough and most of the time what we think are the right words, aren’t “right” at all.

Want to make an eternal difference? Take notice of the unnoticeable and spread hope.

If you want to read an incredible story about healing and hope or want more information about eating disorders from someone who survived, visit my friend Emily Wierenga at her personal site and her blog Chasing Silhouettes.

Related Posts:
It’s time to step off the Scale
Wrestling demons
Does this make me look fat?
One Word: Enough
Pardon me while I compare my insides to your outsides
Just like that, a Mother is born
I’m a hypocrite