What does the balanced life mean?

I remember a friend in my previous university asked a question to another friend when we were in a Christian student gathering about a balance in life. The question was how to balance spiritual activities and secular activities. Spiritual activities he meant were like going to Sunday service, joining the Christian student gathering, attending the bible study, praying, etc, while secular activities were such as studying, travelling, and kinds of things. I was thinking at that time, there should not be two kinds of activities, every activity should be spiritual. But, my thinking stopped there. I did not know how to explain myself of my own thought.

This thought again came back to my mind several days ago, when a friend in a morning Sunday service was asking a question about a balanced life. His question was about how to balance our activities? If we have more activities, doesn’t it mean that our relationship with God becomes squeezed? This question is based on the understanding that the relationship with God is one part of the balance. Therefore, we should reduce other activities to make sure that relationship with God takes more space in the balance.

To make this understanding simpler, if I have five activities, let say, the relationship with God, as one of the activities, will take 1/5 of the space in the balance. Let’s imagine that the balance is like a cake to make it easier to think. But if we have a hundred activities, the space/part for ‘the relationship with God’ will be smaller, 1/100, isn’t it? So, it seems that to have a better relationship with God means that we have to reduce other activities and give more space for ‘relationship with God’ activity. This understanding will inevitably controversial. People will ask which activities should be reduced. How many activities are ideal that we should have? Should I skip doing exercise so that more space for ‘the relationship with God’? But then they will ask, how important the health in this case? There will be more and more questions. Some people even argue that the balanced life is not a good idea in Christian Life.

That understanding about a balanced life, as I explained before, is quite different with what I understand. I imagine that a balanced life is not like a cake, but like a wheel which has an axle and wheelspokes. It does not matter how many wheelspokes that the wheel has, the thing is that the axle should strong enough to hold the wheelspokes. Using that illustration, the axle or center of the wheel is the relationship with God, while the wheelspokes are our activities. No matter how many activities that we have, it is not the issue, but the real issue is how strong the axle to hold the wheelspokes, meaning how strong our relationship with God to hold our activities. One more important thing to see through this illustration is without the axle, there is no balance among the wheelspokes at all. Simply, wheelspokes without the axle is just nothing; it is not a balance at all. So that, without strong relationship with God, there won’t be a balance in our activities.

From this illustration, I can argue that there are no spiritual activities and secular activities in Christian Life. All activities should be spiritual because they should support the center/axle, which is the relationship with God. Therefore, make sure that all activities that you pursue can make the center stronger, make the relationship with God stronger, so that it can hold and balance your activities.

I realise that illustration always has limitation in explaining something. I know that the illustration of wheel having an axle and wheelspokes is not a perfect illustration to explain a balanced life, but at least this can give you an idea.

What does the balanced life mean?

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