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The Illusion of Balance

Have you ever felt the pressure to live a ‘balanced’ life?

To find the right family / work balance or the right balance between study, friends, family and health.

I have tried for many years to find this illusive ‘balance’ and to be honest it always escapes my grasp. It seems like such a great idea and I have strived to live a balanced life, yet I feel like life is more like a juggling act (and one where I drop the balls more than I would like to admit).

When I was a child and would go to the playground I loved the see-saw! One of my favourite things to do was to try and see if my sister and I could make it balance. We always failed miserably because she was 18 months older than me so I always ended up sitting up in the air while she was sitting in the dirt!

When I think about balance I picture a see-saw and trying to get everything to sit nice and neatly in a straight line, without anything hanging in the air or dropping in the dirt.

I always want to give my family my attention, but I don’t want to let the ball drop at work. I want to be there for my friends whenever they need me but I also want to have the space to do what recharges me (which for me is having some alone time with a book – and all the introverts said YES!!). I am also studying so where on earth does that fit into this balance?

What if we are striving for the wrong thing? What if balance doesn’t actually exist?

{BALANCE IS AN ILLUSION} It sounds great in theory but in reality it never really works. I’ve found that it never works because in order for us to achieve ‘balance’ everything in our life must be equally weighted at the same time. My sister and I could never get the see-saw to balance because each end of the see-saw was holding a different weight! I don’t know about you but not everything in my life holds the same weight at the same time. In different seasons different areas of my life hold more weight and some hold less. For example, my family may be going through a tough time and in that season my family will need more of my time and attention. In exam seasons my study will hold more weight. When my friends are struggling they hold more weight in my life than the time that I would usually spend reading and being alone!

{Life isn’t a balancing act} When we release ourselves from the pressure of ‘balance’ we free ourselves to flow with each season. To give attention to what is needed at that time, to go with the ups and downs of life and be okay with needing to change our priorities as the seasons change.

However while we flow with the seasons and free ourselves from the pressure of ‘balance’ we must know our non-negotiables – for me they are GOD and FAMILY. God and family will hold the most weight in every season and in every situation.

What are you non-negotiables? Knowing what will always hold the most weight in your world will help you to make the hard choices when everything feels like it’s up in the air. Your non-negotiables will keep you focused on why you are doing what you are doing.

Can I encourage you to stop chasing after balance because balance is an illusion. Instead, chase after your dreams knowing that every season is going to look different. Stick with your non-negotiables and navigate each season as it comes. Remember, always be kind to yourself, you’re doing a lot better than you think!


Elise Heerde is a wife, mother, teacher and writer from Melbourne who loves Jesus and passionately shares about the grace, hope and love that He offers to all. She deeply desires to see the broken made whole, the captives set free and the lost brought home. You can find her instagram account here @her.anchor

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