Balance is a highly dynamic process undergoing constant review, feedback, and modification based on the integration of sensory information, motor commands, and resultant movements. Without balance, you fall. When you fall a lot, you are prone to injury. When you are injured time and time again because you cannot maintain balance, you are unable to continue with life's daily tasks. Although being balanced in life is not the goal of life, the concept of balance in your body that allows you to walk on a curb is a good illustration of balance in your entire life.
We could think about the balance between work and family, kids and marriage, mental and physical exercise, or all of the six major areas of life, but this concept jumped out at me as I was studying for another fitness coach certification. How your body maintains balance is illustrative of life and is another wonderful example of how God puts things together, at least in my head.
The body maintains balance by visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive input. Proprioception can be broken down further, but let's define each of these for our purposes. Visual input is important to maintaining balance. When people have incredible standing balance, I will have them close their eyes. Suddenly, balancing on one foot gets hard. If you are going to try it, please be careful and have a plan if you happen to lose your balance so you don't get hurt. Visual input tells your brain that you are still moving, the ground is uneven, and many other cues to maintain your balance. Vestibular input comes from the inner ear. Basically, you have three semi-circle canals with water and hair that sense when you are moving and the position of your head. This system gives input to the brain to help you maintain balance. Proprioception is the cumulative movement input from all your receptors to your central nervous system. Are you following? Visual. Vestibular. Proprioception. How does this relate to life?
You know you are out of life's balance when you can see it. Right? Or maybe you are like 95% of the humans on earth that don't see when you are out of balance because you are in it. However, others who are close to you can usually see it. My wife can see it. My kids, who still live near me, can see it. When I worked with a staff, they could see it. What if you asked two or three very close friends, a spouse, or kids how your life balance looks to them? Why be afraid of the answer? Ask them these three questions:
1. Does my life look out of balance to you?
2. Am I overlooking an important area of life?
3. Am I spending too much time and effort on something and neglecting important things?
The vestibular system is highly activated on a roller coaster. While some people puke after a ride, others who enjoyed it still can feel the dizzying effects of going upside down four times before you end up in a 4G spiral after the ride is over. We use the term "my head is spinning" when we have too much on our plate. The cause of this feeling, among other things, is a high adrenal response to your life. Unlike the rollercoaster, the response doesn't last a few minutes, it is going all day long, and you sense it. If you would listen, your brain tells you to slow down and stop going upside down. You can't continue this way of life. You think you are a stud or "studdette" and can do all things through Christ… However, this pace of life is not God's will for you. You have a hundred ways to convince yourself and others that you need to do… However, your emotions are at the top. You are always ready to overflow. Your vestibular system is telling you that your life is out of balance and you are about to fall. What is your brain telling you about your life?
Proprioception is your central nervous system getting input. It is your body telling you that you are out of balance. You get sick quickly. You are tired all the time. You need immense amounts of caffeine or energy drinks. You are gaining weight, and you know your body is telling you that your way of life isn't working. You chalk it up to aging or some other silly thing and keep pushing. Again, some bring God into this like He is a genie that will heal everything you are doing to your body. That is like believing that God will make you wealthy when you spend frivolously on yourself. If you would listen, your body is telling you you need a change. Our bodies are an excellent gauge of how we are doing in life. What is your body telling you about your life?
Life balance isn't a concept that necessitates we spread everything evenly. Sleeping will always win over fitness when it comes to hours spent. Balance is a concept that we are living how God intended for us to live. We are all built a certain way and have a unique mission we are uniquely equipped to fulfill. Take time at least every month to honestly ask those questions of yourself and ask others the three questions above. You can control how your life is lived. You can bring it into the balance needed. "Just Do It".