Consistent Balance

Read: Genesis 2:1-3 and Mark 6:30-32

Recently I have started a new habit of eating instant oatmeal for breakfast. For a long time I went without eating any breakfast until several people reminded me how breakfast get’s your day off to a good healthy start. I have enjoyed the daily challenge of trying to mix just the right amount of oatmeal, with just the right amount of milk, and just the right amount of time in the microwave. This morning’s had a perfectly consistent balance and it was delicious!

It made me think about the rest of our lives. It also made me think about the two scripture passeges in today’s Bible readings. God rested after creation (Genesis 2) and Jesus knew the importance of he and his disciples getting away for some time of rest and renewal (Mark 6). How well are we balancing our physical, spiritual, mental, and relational parts of life? It reminded me of a recent illustration I ran across about “hurry sickness.”

“Half a century ago, an upholsterer from San Francisco made a curious discovery. He was called to a cardiologist’s office to reupholster some chairs in the waiting room. When he looked at the furniture, he wondered immediately what was wrong with the patients. Only the front edge of the seats and the first few inches of the armrests were worn out. “People don’t wear out chairs this way,” he said.

Five years later, in 1959, Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman began to put the pieces together. They had noticed an odd pattern shared by many of their cardiac patients, a pattern that centered on a “chronic sense of time urgency.” Patients showed irritability at being made to wait in line, had difficulty relaxing, and were anxious over delays. Obsessed with not wasting a moment, they spoke quickly, interrupted often, hurried those around them, and were forever rushing. Hence the waiting room chairs: the patients sat on the edge of their seats, nervously fidgeting at the arms of the chairs as they watched time tick by.

The cardiologists called the new disease “hurry sickness.” According to Friedman, hurry sickness “arises from an insatiable desire to accomplish too much or take part in too many events in the amount of time available.” The hurry-sick person is unable to acknowledge that he can do only a finite number of things. “As a consequence, he never ceases trying to ‘stuff’ more and more events in his constantly shrinking reserves of time.”
(David W. Henderson, Tranquility; Baker Books, page 131)

Keeping a consistent balance in our lives is so very important. Jesus would encourage us to do that. Whether it is church attendance, serving others, exercising, spending an evening out with friends, or doing something you really enjoy, we must find time for all of it. When the right mix is found life is wonderful to enjoy. Just like my oatmeal this morning.

Make it Personal: Take a moment this week to think about the balance in your life. What needs more time and exposure and what needs less? If Christ, Church, and God’s call and purpose for your life has got pushed aside I would encourage you to add some more of that. If health and exercise have taken a back seat, I encourage you to add some more of that. If work, stress, worrying, and going around like the Energizer bunny define you of late, then take time to rest, relax, and enjoy one of your hobbies. God gave us the example of balance, Jesus showed us that example, and now it is up to us.

Have a well-balanced week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church