A balanced life is a good thing, right? Balance leads to safety and security. A balanced life is predictable, productive, and leads to prosperity. Right? Well, that is what we are told.In the previous installment of this series, I stated that Belief is much better than Balance. None of history’s great achievers we might look at – whether it is Thomas Edison or Marie Curie or Beethoven – led a balanced life, not the kind that today’s proponents of balance advocate for.I believe that belief is the great engine of meaningful accomplishment. It fuels passion and provides focus and confidence.
However, belief also happens to be dangerous. Because people act upon what they believe, those who live out their beliefs with the most passion, focus and confidence become the biggest influencers and agents of change in the world.
Depending upon the government, or the company, or the PTA committee, or the family… change can be viewed as a real threat by those who profit from, or derive their power from, the status quo. It stands to reason, then, that belief is the reason some people are murdered and martyred. People are persecuted more often for what they believe than what they know. Beliefs are understood to be that powerful, and dangerous.
Belief also causes some people to be branded as crazy. Applying your beliefs can certainly look crazy to onlookers. And it can often look and feel way out of balance. Heck, it often is way out of balance. But again, balance isn’t the point. The passionate pursuit of purpose, powered by what you believe, is the point.
The perfect example of someone who lived his beliefs with passion and confidence, someone considered dangerous to some and crazy to others, someone who lived a life completely out of balance, is a guy named Yeshua, the person the Western world has to come to know as Jesus. He was all about belief, not about balance. In his article “Tyranny of the Urgent”, author Charles Hummel writes about the out-of-balance life of Jesus:
“His life was never feverish; He had time for people. He could spend hours talking to one person, such as the Samaritan women at the well. … When His brothers wanted Him to go to Judea, He replied, “My time has not yet come”” (John 7:6). “On another occasion the demand of the ill and maimed caused Him to miss supper and to work so late that His family thought He was beside Himself (Mark 3:21). One day after a strenuous teaching session, Jesus and His disciples went out in a boat. Even a storm didn’t awaken Him (Mark 4:37-38). What a picture of exhaustion.”
If we revisit the balance wheel that was shown in Part 1 and then consider what we have heard or read about the man named Jesus, see can see that balance was not his priority. Yet, his life was not lacking in purpose, certainly not in passion, and he certainly engaged in the activities that he deemed to be priorities … to him and no one else. His purpose, passions and priorities drove his day-to-day activities.
In The Discipline and Culture of the Spiritual Life, A.E. Whiteham observes:
“Here in this Man is adequate purpose…inward rest, that gives an air of leisure to His crowded life: above all there is in this Man a secret and a power of dealing with the waste-products of life, the waste of pain, disappointment, enmity, death — turning to divine uses the abuses of man, transforming arid places of pain to fruitfulness, triumphing at last in death and making a short life of thirty years or so, abruptly cut off, to be a ‘finished’ life. We cannot admire the poise and beauty of this human life, and then ignore the things that made it.”
Here is a man who knew his priorities and poured himself, his time and energy, into those things. If Jesus’ life purpose was in some way wrapped up in staying balanced, he failed. Being that he still stands as history’s most famous, admired and talked-about figure nearly two millennia after his life ended, we know that he was not a failure. We know that his objective was clearly bigger and more important than achieving balance.
Speaking of wrapping up, this series concludes in Part 8 with the biggest reason of all as to why we should not spend time and energy working toward balance in life.