Thinking about balance

There’s a lake near our house where many types of waterfowl gather in the summer.  In the winter, there’s an area of water that remains open, and the ducks huddle around this open water in order to survive.  This time of year, although we are on the brink of spring, the ice has not yet melted, so the geese and ducks still linger near that spot.

This image is one I often go back to when I find myself having had too little time to breathe and be still, too frequently.  The ducks are a picture for me of what it looks like to stay centered in the midst of unbalance and to take time to be filled up with the life-giving water of Jesus, in the midst of life’s challenges and responsibilities, knowing that my livelihood depends on it.  

I’d be the first one to encourage others to take this time, yet I also know that it rarely comes without having to say “no” to something.  These days, those things to say no to are usually good in and of themselves, but as difficult as it may seem to find and take time to tend to our heart, it is crucial that we do.

I’ve said before that seasons ebb and flow, and phases come and go, but there will always be multiple demands and responsibilities to juggle and finding the perfect work-life balance is a bit like trying to outsmart the process of aging: the target is always moving.  So, for me, the question has shifted from, “When or how will I find the right balance?” to, “What do I need in order to stay centered?”

For me, one of the necessities is time for quiet, when my creative juices can flow without being forced, when my schedule doesn’t feel like stuffing sausage into casing.  There are times when these moments are few and far between, and when what is going into my bucket doesn’t match what is going out.  In those times, we have to do what we have to do.  

But as our patience and compassion for others and sense of calm starts to wane, the invitation is to pause at the river of God’s love in order to be filled to the measure with the fullness of God (Eph 3:19).  As you do, perhaps you will think about the ducks, and how staying near the water isn’t only for when they have nothing else to do but rather a life-giving necessity.