When God takes you down a path you never knew you wanted, to lead you to things you never knew you needed.
I’ve heard some people say that the idea of finding balance in life is a myth.
That, for lack of better terms, and also because I’m a 90 year old woman at heart – is malarky.
The myth, is our understanding of balance.
More often than not, we seek this perfect blend of factors that will yield us peace, happiness, and contentment by attempting to manipulate our scales.
You put this amount of work hours here, and I’ll put this amount of work hours there. I’ll manage this task, while you manage these. You spend this amount of money on me, and I’ll reward you with this amount of affection. I’ll watch our children these days but you watch them on these days. The scales tip, first one way, then then the other, and suddenly…balance. Steady. Even. Still.
That form of balance is a myth. I’ll grant you that. But that is not balance. That’s bartering at best, manipulation at worst.
Finding balance in life is not about a scale. Balance, is about finding stability in perpetual motion. Balance is not a resting point. Balance, is physics and aerodynamics. Balance, is movement.
I once heard someone compare balance to riding a unicycle. In order to stay upright while riding a unicycle, you must purposefully shift your weight forward to the point of almost falling, and then pedal furiously. The balance comes from forward motion.
I’ve experienced this form of balance in my yoga practice. In standing balance poses, you first assume that the goal is to perfectly still the body. This is not only untrue, but impossible. Balance is achieved by your muscles constantly constricting and contracting. You sway one way and then counter by swaying ever so slightly in the opposite direction. Your larger muscles start to tire, forcing your smaller, weaker muscles to take over. You move, adjust, look forward, and find your balance.
We’ve decided to homeschool/unschool our children, and have pulled our oldest out of kindergarten at his winter break.
move, adjust, look forward
This decision is the first step in a string of steps leading us towards a certain goal. It’s the first tilt of our collective bodies to lean forward and free fall a bit, before we can start pedaling.
I am not happy, living the conventional life. The life where we strive towards the made-up version of balance. The version where you go to work at a conventional job and I work or don’t work and we send our children off to school and we are all just points, radiating from a common center. We trade obligations for obligations in the search for balance. You need to do this because I did this. We shift things from our scale back to their scale and vice versa.
I do not want to live like that.
We’ve seemed to boil life down to work and school. I don’t understand why we have taken life, with all it’s grand opportunities, diversity, and expanse of time, and boiled it down to two of the most mundane and lifeless qualities, but there you have it. I think we are afraid to live outside of those boundaries, though. I think it hurts our heads and scares us witless to imagine that there might be more.
It scares me to live like there’s not.
I don’t believe my kids were born to become little test-takers. And I know sure as the sun rises that I wasn’t made to just be someone’s employee. We are not defined by those things, yet…how easy is it to find ourselves slipping them on as identifies?
I was made with life and breath and imagination and curiosity and capabilities and interests and passion. I was formed in the hands of an infinite creator. I bear his image. I am his living blueprint.
The balance I seek, comes from moving forward, together. From millions of tiny, micro adjustments. From head high, eyes on the horizon, feet pedaling, forward motion.
Right now, there are two major themes playing out in the life of our family. One, my husband and I have big dreams and passions. And two, we desperately desire to end the madness that is the compartmentalization of our lives. We don’t want to make time for “his dreams” just to have to try and make room for “my dreams.” We want to find a way to combine the best of each of us – of each of our hopes and dreams – and form it into one big dream. One big, wonderful, family adventure. For all of us.
My husband and I seek to live untethered to ideas and institutions that dictate a prescribed way of thinking. We want to educate our kids in a way that helps them find their full, God-given, fearfully and wonderfully made, human potential. We want to include them on our journey, not view them as something to deal with along the way. We want to seek hard after the passions and interests that were placed deep within our innermost being. They were not put there as a passing fancy or afterthought. That is us. That is who we are. That is who we were created to be.
For us, this first meant that we had to ask ourselves: “Why are we here? What are our passions? Our gifts and talents? What do we want to do with our one, wild and precious life?”
Then, we had to filter all that through our capitol “P” purpose. We can get really hung up on searching for our purpose when, if you know Christ, then you already know your purpose. He tells us – know him, love others. That’s it. That is why we are here.
The good news is we can fulfill that purpose anywhere.
As my husband and I have taken a hard look at our purpose, our passions, and our life as it currently stands, however, we realize we’ve inverted the paradigm. We focus on work and school and money and our house – all things that are fine in and of themselves – and spend a fraction of the time on the things that matter. The things that make our hearts beat fast and our brains come alive with thoughts and questions and ideas.
We know our purpose. We know our passions. So why do we spend all our time on things that aren’t it?
We want to make audacious requests, like: “God, will you grant us an adventure? Will you allow us to do it together, as a husband and wife team, along with our children?”
Mike and I have had many discussions on how to unite our visions. We are, after all, two very different people. But I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the secret to our success will be found in our differences. I know gender roles are a hotbed of debate, and I’m not looking to argue with anyone. I will tell you, though, that we tend to feel insecure when we don’t have a place. When we feel like we don’t have a role. I’ve felt that way for years. Then, one day, I realized that I do have a place. I do have a role. God created woman because he saw that mankind needed her. This wasn’t a criticism on either party – it’s our own insecurities that turn it into a competition of who is better. God saw that man worked better with someone, not alone. And geez ladies, how many of us are desperate not to feel alone?
My role, is to stand with my man. I get the immense honor and privilege of working with him to unite our dreams and integrate our passions and talents in the pursuit of something wonderful. We are a duet, not a solo, and man, can our relationship sing. He’s my Johnny and I’m his June. In life, if not in actual singing abilities.
So we are throwing out all the cultural trappings that say life = school + work, and we are holding fast to the things within us that set us up for something so much more.
It’s funny, because so many of us say that we would love to do “insert that thing here,” but then we tick off a list a mile long of all the barriers. So we eliminate the dreams instead of the barriers. That is not going to work for me. Our plan is to thoughtfully and intentionally destroy the barriers that stand between our family and our dreams. Our dreams and passions are too big, too important to sacrifice on the alter of convenience, convention, or worse yet -fear.
Phase one of this journey is to exit the freeway of public education and draw our children close so that we can work together to grow our God given passions, interests and abilities. We will be brave together. We will experience this adventure together. And we will find our balance through the constant tilt forward, by lifting our gaze and moving our feet, and together moving –onward.