The older I get the more I realize how unbalanced parts of my life have been. What I mean is, from the time I was a small boy, I have never done anything in a half-hearted way. No matter what, I have either been all in, or not in at all. In some seasons of life this has served me well, and at other times it has caused me to jump into catastrophic situations that could have been avoided. Fortunately, the gains have out weighed the losses, but it has not always been a pleasant ride for me or those who go with me. Living an unbalanced life is not the best way to go.
One example that comes to mind was the time I had done research on the stock market and decided to take $5,000 from my teacher’s retirement and invest it on a “call” of December crude oil. I knew the market was going to go up in the cold weather so this was a sure thing in my mind. The stock broker I used over the phone, Ginny, was happy to place my order. The next day she called me to say my $5,000 was now $7,850 as I had made a gain of $3,100 over night, minus her $250 commission. Without thinking, I told her to reinvest it, and began making plans for what I would do with all the money I was about to make.
I was giddy with excitement, and even thought about taking an early retirement. I had it all figured out. I would simply sit at my computer, watch my assets grow, and be a day trader on the market. This was the easiest money I had ever made, and I wondered why so many people I knew were not doing it. Naturally my next step was to jump into penny stocks, so I began to research them. I picked a few that seem promising, based on what I knew of the economy, and by using the Scott Trade platform, I built a small portfolio of stocks with about $50 invested. To my great joy, within a few weeks my $50 was turned into over $500.
I am sure you have already figured out that my unbalanced, ignorant enthusiasm soon went into in a radical nose dive. I became obsessed with market conditions, and had to check my stocks all day long. I could hardly keep my mind on teaching, could not sleep, and reading my Bible was almost impossible. Oh, I prayed alright! “Lord, what stock should I pick now?” “Lord, give me the stock symbol for the next big jumper”. I even prayed with Ginny over the phone, so God would give her the wisdom to know what commodity to pick next. Yes, I was a full-blown Christian nut case, dragging God with me, and wanting Him to bless something He had never called me to do.
What was the outcome? My spiritual life went down the toilet, and so did my finances. Down, down, down went the market, and with it my money was gone as well. Ginny and Scott Trade all made their commissions, and I finally pulled out when I had $500 left in my account. When the check came in the mail, I heard the Lord say, “And there is My tithe on the $5000 you pulled from your retirement”. That Sunday I put the Lords tithe in the offering, apologized for wasting what He had trusted me to hold, and fought to move past the urge to give it one more try. What is in my account since that time? I own 40 shares of penny stock worth a grand total of 8 cents! A grim reminder of what can happen when we have an unbalanced approach and go into something God has not intended for our life.
What about you? Where are the places that may be a bit unbalanced in your life? You know what I am talking about. They are the things that rule your decision making, because they always happen. It might be emotionalism that over rules your common sense. It could be work, or time management, relationships or selfish ambition. It might be refusing to serve where you know there is a need, or serving in a place of need, but doing it with a bad attitude. Perhaps it is the endless desire to be recognized, or the need to always be right. Whatever is out of balance in your life, whatever rules your emotions and brings your actions to a place of excess, that thing must be surrendered to God.
The point is, balanced people are healthy because they have learned how to live life with enthusiasm and passion, but they are not blinded to the consequences of the uncontrolled areas still present in them. They have counted the cost of personal decisions, and never sugar-coat the mistakes they have made. These are people who consider honesty an absolute necessity, and they stay focused on what is most important, no matter what distraction or criticism may come. Their life is influenced by what is biblically right and true, rather than the misguided, emotional responses of others. People in this place are on their way to a very fruitful, peace-filled, and godly life.
So the question is, what kind of person are you? What kind of atmosphere do you create when you interact with those around you? Do you unlock divine possibilities, peace and anticipation for the goodness of God? Or, do you unleash apprehension and concern because you bring some answers, but people are always left wondering what kind of mess you will also bring with you? The one living a balanced life deposits nothing but blessing, and the rich presence of God. The unbalanced life deposits a mixed bag of uncertainty, and answers that must be pick out of the confused, emotional rubble that has been left behind.
Evaluate your life on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 means there’s a major problem because people are unsure what you will leave behind. 10 means your are perfectly balance and others know when you come you always leave a blessing. Evaluate each of the following:
1. healthy personal relationships ________
2. good time management ________
3. emotional stability in every situation ________
4. godly character under stress or rejection ________
5. clear spiritual insight of Scripture ________
6. walk in humility when I am falsely accused ________
7. no need for recognition & validation ________
8. the peace of God is on me ________
9. the presence of God comes with me ________
10. people feel safe under my care ________
Put your total score here: _____________ (100 is a mature well balanced life.)
If you dare, go ask 10 people from different backgrounds, who know you, to anonymously and honestly evaluate you using the same chart. How closely their total score reflects yours, will tell you a great deal about how well balanced you actually are.