Some thoughts on a balanced lifestyle by John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted pp. 194ff:

… balance is not the Holy Grail.  A balanced lifestyle is not an adequate goal to which to devote our lives.  The problem with that goal is not that it is too difficult, but that it is too slight.  Balance is not the most helpful paradigm for an ideal life.

The quest for balance can contribute to a tendency to compartmentalize our faith.  Often a balanced lifestyle is pictured as a pie chart with life divided into seven or eight slices, one labeled “financial,” another “vocational,” and so on, with one slice reserved for “spiritual.”  This paradigm encourages us to think of matters such as finances or work as “non-spiritual activities.”  It blinds us to the fact that God is intensely interested in our every moment and activity.

… What does it mean to tell someone with a terminal disease or a street person or a single mother with a physically challenged child that she needs “more balance”?

Balance tends to carry with it the notion that we are trying to make our lives more manageable, more convenient, more pleasant.  After all, we ultimately decide for ourselves what balance looks like.

Balance is a largely middle-class pursuit.  It lacks the notion that my life is to be given to something bigger than myself.  It lacks the call to sacrifice and self-denial- the wild, risky, costly, adventurous abandon of following Jesus. 



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10 responses to “

  1. hey I had to tell ya everytime we watch Tommy Boy (isn’t to often!) Mojo and I think of you cause it takes place in Cyahoga Falls *spelling?* and when we drive by and see the signs on the ohio turnpike to visit my parents, he laughs now and says I know I know that is where Jesse used to live *L*

  2. great thoughts Jesse.  sounds a lot like the pondering I’ve been doing.

  3. JESSE!  Ok, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to post (according to Jesse’s Rules of Xanga Engagement) on your site or my own….but either way, it’s great to hear from you!  I was so excited to see your site connected with the rest of the crew and to catch up with you through the blogs.  What a great thing to be back “in community” with some Forgers 🙂 I’m looking forward to catching up with you!  Your family is BEAUTIFUL!  The house is pretty cozy too!!

  4. haha–Jundosanim is the Korean Word for youth pastor….Jundo (Chun-Doe) for short.  I lived in NY…hence, my AOL address was always JundoNY.  I no longer use that screenname, but when my old youth alums started to Xanga….Jundony remained.  My current email is Feel free to add me to you contact list 🙂 

  5. A prof kept calling me a “sticky person” and I didn’t know the context, so I was getting a bit miffed……hence, the book.  I think I am more “connector” than anything else.  How bout you?

  6. So instead of a balanced life, I think we should call it a “permeated life”.  Permeated with God in every aspect.

  7. Jesse… the risk of adding yet another comment to the post… What an exceptional suprise and delight to catch up! You’re a grown up now and quite good at it–yet still fun! We’ll have to keep in touch about any conferences that we might overlap. <> when we’re both still at our respective institutions. It will be good to compare notes about how we’re “just now getting to the good stuff” won’t it? As they say in the south….”ya’ll stay blessed, now”

  8. Hmmm….seemed to erase the phrase “in 10-15 years” when we’re both still….

  9. Ahh, I’ve read that, and in some ways know that it has effected my worldview. I don’t need balance as much as I need integration. I don’t need balance as much as I need consistency. These are what I see in Jesus, Paul, Mother Teresa, Jim Elliot, MLK jr, and so many others that I respect. Their faith was a part of everything they did…”whether eating or drinking or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 cor 10:31)
    I am struggling with the idea you left me with the other day of “not having to prove myself.” I’ve begun to examine my actions in light of that comment, and it is unsettling. Not so much that I want to get back into ministry so that people won’t think that I’m a failure… that’s not the struggle. But, being a middle child, the son of an absentee-alcoholic-father, and a “Greene” (you’d have to have met my family to get the full effect of that last on) So much of what I do is to prove myself. I owe both my brothers money and it has become an issue, so in order to prove to them that I am not the person they think I am I chose to distance myself from them until I could hand them the money I owed them in full. Childish, maybe.. but you don’t know my brothers. I work hard at Home Depot, not because I’m suppose to because that is what they are paying me to do… but to prove that I’m more of an asset to my department then… him. It’s funny, I’m not sure that this idea of proving oneself isn’t more integrated into my life than my faith! YIKES.
    Hmmm, thanks for the challenge.

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