Doing The Right Thing is Balance

Why is it so hard to find balance? 

Using the scale below, picture putting an item on one side and seeing the scale waver back and forth, as you put something on the other side to balance it.

Now one side is too low. Add more to the other side.

Keep going back and forth, adding more and more items just to even out the loads. 

Bronze Balance Beam Scale c. 63 B.C.- 330 A.D.

Bronze Balance Beam Scale c. 63 B.C.- 330 A.D.

Trying to create balance in this life is similarly maddening. Put the scale on a boat rocked by a fitful ocean of changing circumstances, and you’ll tear your hair out trying to balance the scales.

God has shown me recently that I try and balance out the scales with eating and exercise. If I overeat (which happens often) I think exercise will balance out the scale and leave me with a healthy body. After exercising, I may be sweaty, but I’m still unsatisfied. The scale is not even. I try this over and over again and never reach a steady point of stillness.

Weight of Glory

A friend asked me to pray for a few things in her life, including important things like her job, being a mom, managing time, and relationships with others. When I prayed for her, I saw a vision of a scale with all those concerns piled up on one side, and the other side heavily anchored to the ground. It's possible the other side was the glory that 2 Corinthians 4:17 mentions: "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

With that heavy of a weight on one side, we won't be able to budge the scale with any of of our own works. That would be like trying to pile feathers up to balance out an anvil.

100 Pounds of cotton

I recently read in “The Warmth of Other Suns” that while African Americans were enslaved in America, the “gold standard” for cotton picking was 100 pounds, which earned a meager $.50. As the narrator relates, “It was like picking 100 pounds of feathers, 100 pounds of lint dust. One of the most backbreaking forms of labor ever known...It took some 70 bolls to make a single pound of cotton, which meant picking 7000 bolls a day to reach 100 pounds." The pickers could barely stand up straight at the end of the 12-hour day from all the stooping. 

I wouldn't last a day. 

But on an infinitely smaller scale, that’s how I can operate emotionally. It doesn’t matter how much I exercise, how well I eat, or what good things I add to my life, all my good works feel like feathers in a bag.

Do What Is Right

None of us does what is right all the time, and we will never "measure up" in this life. If nothing else, the scale is there to show us that we need a Savior. But when Jesus paid our many debts for us on the cross, He delivered us out of slavery to sin, out of the expectation to juggle everything well at all times.  

God does not call us to work hard so we can earn our keep. He does not tell us to be "well-balanced." He tells us to do what is right. 

Because He sets us free, we are called to set others free. As God's people, we are to care less about balance and to be more concerned with treating others justly.

"'You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:36

Instead of trying to balance out overeating and overexercising, I can do what is right in the moment. I can repent when I fail, and I can pray for help to do the hard thing. I can look at the rest of my bowl of delicious Pad Thai, stop and say, “I’m satisfied.” I can go a few days without doing intervals and still feel justified. Jesus is the only one who fulfills the law, and it’s only through Him I can feel whole and balanced. 

"A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” Proverbs 16:11

It's all His. The just balance of how we measure our life is His. The weights of responsibility are His. It's only through Jesus that we find balance and can do what is right. 

Reflect and Respond

Are you trying to create balance? How does this make you feel? Do you ever succeed?

How can you find justice in the Lord?