Each season brings a different rhythm of life. One of Youth for Christ’s philosophies of ministry is to strive to live a balanced life. This is inspired by Luke 2:52, which says, “Jesus grew in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Each of our staff is asked to model a balanced life, and to encourage it in students. Staff strive to develop a mental, physical, spiritual, and social balance.
At a recent national YFC training class, I heard one teacher make this point: “Living a balanced life is not as much about actual balance as it is about healthy rhythms.”
Hearing this was a light bulb moment for me. I hadn’t understood how I could achieve balance with so many things competing for my attention when, honestly, some things deserve and need a higher amount of attention than others. Living a balanced life really means living with healthy rhythms. The scripture from Luke tells us that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. However, it does not say that he grew in each area equally and at the same time.
My husband and I took a student who just graduated high school out to lunch recently to celebrate. This student was involved in everything at his high school: multiple sports teams, clubs, youth group, and several other activities. He was so busy during his senior year that it was overwhelming and stressful for him. I asked him how his summer was going, and was so pleased when he said he was trying hard not to over-commit himself before starting college. He needs to take a break. He needs healthier rhythms in his life.
Going as hard as you can until you burn out and are forced to take a break is not a healthy rhythm. However, that is the rhythm most of us live in regularly. There are going to be seasons that require more of us, and seasons that are more relaxed. That’s normal. That’s just life. The questions we need to ask ourselves are, “How long have I been living in the same season? Is there rhythm and balance to my life, or is it the same high stress day in and day out?”
I see so many of the students that I work with who are over-committed and stressed. They don’t know how to say no. The hard truth is that they get this behavior from us - the adults who model it to them as normal. It is my goal to model healthy rhythms to my students in the way I live each year, month, week, and even day. I am definitely not perfect at this, but I hope that my efforts will help them grow in the same way as Jesus did.