new balance

by Kristen

I’m emerging from a cocooning season. It’s been a long season, and—not surprisingly—it’s a slow emergence. What I’m processing now is an insight gleaned from the safety and solitude of my cocoon: my sense of balance was skewed.

I thought in boxes. So that’s how I understood balance. I needed to arrange the boxes with the fewest gaps and the most ergonomic shape so they wouldn’t fall. It was a perpetual cross of Tetris and Jenga. Fit this here. Pull that out there. Flip and move. Don’t let it tip. Family, work, friends, church, “free” time . . . maybe God could slip in the in-between spaces that formed when I didn’t rotate and slide deftly enough.

Shockingly I was perpetually unbalanced—I wasn’t very good at my own game.

I knew “achieving balance” wasn’t God’s rhetoric. He’s big picture, holistic, not compartmentalized. But I couldn’t visualize holistic in my frenetic, scattered world, and I struggled to find solid examples within the church.

I started to dissect my understanding of balance and holism. If I threw away my boxes, if I banished the image of Tetris pieces falling willy-nilly onto Lady Justice’s scales, what did that leave? I still had all the same categories, but now they were uncontained. I had a swirling conglomeration of roles, relationships and responsibilities. I had chaos.

But what if my scale was a top? If God was the stem—the axis—and I was the body encircling the stem, then I could stay upright. Balance came not from compartmentalizing but from accurately orienting myself toward the motion of God. All facets of me could move at once in the same direction by His energy, not mine.

Truth be told, my tendency is still to lean out, to fight the pull toward God. I’m too adept at fragmentary thinking, and a fragmented top doesn’t spin very well or very long. But it’s an image that’s allowing intentionality as I un-cocoon.

It’s putting a new spin on balancing life in God instead of balancing life and God.


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