How do you know if your life is out of balance?
Are you a stressed out mess? Do you long for peace and quiet? Does your life feel like it’s spiraling out of control? I've been there, friend, believe me!
At one time or another, we have all experienced feelings of being out of control. When we aren’t experiencing order, or balance, in our lives, it creates anxiety, panic, confusion, and a sense of feeling helpless.
This happens for one of four reasons:
We have allowed some area of our life (or person) to take more of our energy, time, resources, and emotions than should be allowed, creating an imbalance;
We have allowed our priorities to become misaligned, causing us to veer off course;
We have too high of expectations for ourselves and others for the present circumstances.
We are double minded. We're not sure what we're supposed to be doing so we do it all.
I like to think of a balanced life as a car. A car travels down the road efficiently and smoothly when all four tires are in balance and aligned, moving in the right direction. When one tire gets out of balance, it wobbles and causes vibrations in the steering wheel, which shakes and shimmies. If a tire gets out of alignment, the car wants to veer to the right or the left. Instead of running straight ahead, the driver has to apply pressure on the steering wheel to keep it moving straight ahead. Both tire troubles cause the car to not be able to run efficiently or smoothly or productively as it did when everything was in proper alignment and balance. Uneven pressure on the treads causes uneven wear and excess heat that shortens the life of the tire, not to mention that it makes driving less enjoyable. And, if the problems aren’t corrected, the tire wears down prematurely, and you’ll eventually be in for some not-so-good vibrations. It can be costly to ignore the symptoms of an unbalanced or unaligned tire.
Our lives operate in the same way.
When our life is in balance and we are properly aligned in our priorities, we move down the right path on course. Everything seems good; we might even describe our lives as joy-filled! But when something in life gets out of balance -- a tire that drains too much time, energy, emotion, or money out of us -- or, our priorities get out of alignment due to selfishness or circumstances -- then our lives start to vibrate and the pressure is on! We feel the heat and our smooth ride is not so smooth anymore. Our lives fill with stress, anxiety, worry, anger, discontentment, and exhaustion. If we ignore the symptoms, we are in for some hard times and a less enjoyable life -- possibly even premature death! Yes, imbalance and misalignment takes a hefty toll on our health, our relationships, and the quality of our life. It is a downward spiral.
How do you know if your life is out of balance?
I’ve listed some symptoms of an imbalanced life below. Take a look at them and see if any of these resonate with you! Another way to tell is the condition of your relationships.
The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feels familiar - even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll on your healthy, your relationships, your moods, or your circumstances. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of imbalance.
Inability to concentrate
Seeing only the negative
Anxious or racing thoughts
Depression or general unhappiness
Anxiety and agitation
Moodiness, irritability, or anger
Loneliness and isolation
Other mental or emotional health problems
Aches and pains
Diarrhea or constipation
Chest pain, rapid heart rate
Loss of sex drive
Frequent colds or flu
Eating more or less
Sleeping too much or too little
Withdrawing from others
Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
Sadly, for some of us, these symptoms are everyday and ordinary. Some of us are so used to being under constant stress and pressure that we don’t even know what life can look like when everything works as it should. What in the world is a balanced life?
If this describes you, it’s time to get to work on putting your life back into balance and proper alignment. We’ll work through this together over the next few months. But for now, remember you were made to rejoice in all things (Phil 4:4). The only way I know to do that is to keep your eyes focused on Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit’s power to work in your life -- daily asking Him to unveil anything that is out of balance or incorrectly prioritized and then taking steps to fix it.
I would love to hear from you about some of the ways you are dealing with imbalance or misaligned priorities. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, a great life is only as great as its relationships!
P.S. If you are in the Sacramento area and would like to do a more detailed approach to Finding Balance in a workshop setting, click HERE. A two-session workshop begins for men, women, college kids, high schoolers, anyone...Wednesday nights 7:00-8:30 pm beginning August 2 and 9 at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, CA.
P.S.S. Check out previous Life Is Relationships issues. Click here to visit our blog.
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