Developing balance is an ongoing pursuit in the life and heart of every spiritual leader.
In fact, it’s been a quest in my life and ministry for over thirty years. I definitely have not arrived, but here are a few guidelines that I have tried to practice in balancing my schedule.
1. Be Watchful
An Olympian on the balance beam exercises every muscle to maintain equilibrium. As spiritual leaders, we need a similar level of sensitivity to imbalance and a commitment to keeping our lives centered on Christ.
As the circumstances around us shift, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in adjusting our balance.
2. Be Hopeful
I am always busy, but there are some seasons of the year when just looking at my schedule is exhausting. It is in these busy and stressed times that we especially must maintain a spirit that says, “God is able!”
Too often, we topple ourselves by our own lack of faith in God. Without hope, a busy schedule makes us feel reduced to robotical actions and fruitless agendas. But with hope in God, we remember that our Spirit-led activities are an investment—in our families and in God’s kingdom.
3. Live by Priorities
Without priorities, we can do little more than spin our wheels. We may have our time filled and our energy invested at full-throttle, but we aren’t really covering ground.
Take time to write out your God-given priorities and roles—including your walk with God, your family, your health, your spirit toward others, and your ministry. These priorities must be the anchor point of your scheduling choices. As Dr. Richard Swenson said in his book Balance, “Placing our lives in a stable, balanced orbit around our core priorities is the first step in achieving a balanced life.”
4. Plan Around Your Priorities
Every day, as I go before the Lord in prayer, I pray through each of my core priorities and roles—and then I plan my day around those vital responsibilities.
5. Allow Margin in Your Schedule
This is a tough one for me, and I’m still learning it. But I have found that scheduling “wiggle room” in my day and week helps to free my spirit and my mind to respond to “unscheduled” promptings of the Holy Spirit.
6. Develop a Team of Co-laborers
You may not believe this, but there are people around you who would love to help you do what you are doing! Here’s the reason you overlook them: they are waiting to be developed.
As you serve, take time to pull others alongside you and train them. The investment is not only eternally rewarding—it provides you co-laborers in the Lord.
7. Look to Simplify
Occasionally step back to observe your life and workflow with an outside perspective. Where do you get bogged down? What meaningless activities have cluttered your schedule? In what ways could you streamline a system or process?
In a world where “more” equals “better,” it is vital that we are continually pursuing balance and resisting escalation. More commitments, more possessions, more responsibilities, more paperwork—it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are more effective.
Without a doubt, balance is one of the toughest challenges of life. At just the moment you believe you’ve attained it, an outside circumstance tips you off balance.
In the end, balance is really a matter of walking in the Spirit and relying on His strength to be sufficient in our weakness!