Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Me + ? - ? = Balance

Math was a subject that I definitely enjoyed in school.  This could be attributed to the fact that it was a relatively easy subject for me.  Until geometry.  Oh how I loathed geometry.  I still remember meeting the teacher for extra help.  I felt like I was treading water in that class and didn't like that one little bit.  He suggested "why don't you tell me what part you are having difficulty with and then we can work on that".  Now I felt like a dear in headlights.  What part?  Are you kidding me?  My mind was racing trying to identify a part...how could I pick just one?  I finally blurted out - EVERYTHING.

Geometry puzzled me because there wasn't just one solution.  It wasn't a + b = c.  They gave you the start and finish and wanted you to fill in all of the steps in between.  But there wasn't just one way to do that.  How could this be classified as math?  For me, math was solving problems and there was only one correct answer to that problem.  I remember watching 3 students write their proofs on the board for a particular problem.  All of them were different and all of them were correct.  I was lost.  I battled with geometry the entire year long.

I think the process of achieving balance can be likened to geometry.  We know the starting place.  We know the goal - balance.  The uncertainty is the steps of how to get from start to finish and the fact that what works for person A doesn't necessarily apply to person B.  This is why I totally concur with Promises comment on the last post Balance - it is a good thing, and it is hard to determine what that really is at times.

I don't presume to have the solution.  That would be both arrogant and foolish on my part.  I just simply want to share some of the things I've learned and applied in my own life.  Maybe it will be entertaining.  Maybe it will be helpful.  Hopefully it will spur on some good conversation.  We'll see...

Think about this - if you stand on a balance beam and something or someone starts to pull at you from one side you will most definitely fall off unless there is something or someone else helping to offset that initial force.  Makes sense, right?  That means that you need to find what I'll term as the 'offset'.

The application of this can sometimes be easy.  At one time I had way too many pairs of shoes in my closet.  There was no way I was going to overflow to a closet in another room so Simms suggested that when I buy a new pair of shoes, a pair that is in my closet is purged and the storage space remains manageable.

Unfortunately, the things that cause stress (unbalance) in our lives are not always so easily managed.

The week after Christmas 2010 my Mom was admitted to the SICU with pneumonia and sepsis.  Meanwhile my Dad continued to battle cancer - something he's been battling since 1998.  It was what I would suggest qualified as a 'family crisis'.  Promises and I jumped in with both feet - so did our families.  They're part of our lives so they really didn't have much of a choice.  It was overwhelming.  We were living in survival mode but there really didn't seem to be any other option given the circumstances.  Thankfully the extreme nature of that schedule didn't stay long term but in the midst of it there were things - normal parts of our life - that we couldn't attend to.  We quickly realized that we needed to ask for help.  We desperately needed to regain balance.  Without it I would have surely crashed and burned.

And people reached out to provide it.  Their prayers, cards, emails, helping care for my nephews or pick up my boys from a school program, and the provision of dinners for our families for two weeks helped to offset what was demanding a large percentage of our time and energy - our parents and their care.

I also need to add that I spent a lot of time with my Father - talking to Him, crying, reading, worshiping.  This always helps me.  He is part of my life every day.  I truly believe that He alone can always bring balance to our lives but I would like to submit that sometimes the solution He leads us to may require the participation of others.  This definitely stretches me...I am way more comfortable trying to handle stuff on my own - or just me and God.  More about that in another post.

Thoughts?  Do you like standard solutions?  Maybe you prefer to discover new solutions and discover unchartered paths?  Where are you at now?


  1. That was great stuff. I think the crummy part for me...is when the mind and spirit are seeking and finding balance, but the body isn't cooperating. I want the kind of balance where all three are working together. :)

  2. Very true Tiffany...if the body doesn't cooperate it's not going to happen.

    I'm facing that in some areas right now (food, exercise, etc.) and I've actually asked myself - is this my body or my will? Maybe what I'm defining as my body is really representing my will. I'm not saying this is what you meant but it just got me thinking...

  3. Tiffany and TCC,
    I totally agree with the body thing. I'm fighting body issues that are beyond my control or will right now. Which affects my spirit, but more my mind.

    I've been thinking about balance lately as well. And I'm struggling with how to achieve a sense of balance (for me) in the midst of circumstances that I can not control.

    Here is a question... is balance more about control? Controlling your self, your situations, etc?

  4. Hmmm...loving this...

    I think we'd like to think it's about control. That is probably where our comfort level lies. But there is only so much that we have control over - which I know you both are thoroughly aware of.

    I think when we are knocked 'off-balance' by things that are out of our control, our natural reaction is to try to get control of it. But sometimes we just can't. Sometimes our lives are being impacted by circumstances beyond our control. So, then what?

    Specifically to me, in the last four months I definitely talked / cried / whined to God about my hurts, frustrations, tiredness, etc. and then I chose to roll with the punches...making choices about the things that were important to me. One of the most important things I did was to determine what I could thank Him for each and every day.

    So...do we need to make a paradigm shift in our thinking of what balance is and how to maintain it in our lives?