By Patty Villarreal
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” 3 John 1:2 (ESV)
Merriam-Webster defines balance as “an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements.” Isn’t that a great definition of balance?
I was getting a massage recently. Yes, a massage! As a young adult, it was rare for me to get a massage. But eventually it become a sporadic practice. Now that I have retired, I realize how valuable a regular massage is for my body. Stress is stress, whether in the heat of active social work, or as a retiree as I continue to be active in ministry.
In a recent conversation with the masseuse, we talked about balancing the body. I shared about being an avid water aerobics enthusiast and how I go to the gym just to get in the water to work out in the pool and swim laps. She asked if I do anything else when I go to the gym. I responded, “No, because I love the water.” She continued by stating that I was out of balance, and needed also to use the gym machines to exercise.
She then asked what stretches I practice at home. I shared that I do a series of stretch exercises for the lower half of my body (having had 2 knee replacements within this past year). She determined I was out of balance in failing to stretch the top half. She then showed me stretching exercises for my upper torso. I added her suggestions to my morning stretches. Wow! What a difference it has made!
For those who have gone through the Christian Latina Leadership Institute training, one of the core courses focuses on the balanced life. In fact, the message of a balanced life is threaded throughout the entire three-year training curriculum. When we began the discernment process of what classes to offer in the curriculum, the CLLI leadership were all in agreement that we could not offer a curriculum on leadership without including an emphasis on leaders balancing their lives and responsibilities.
“Perhaps Proverbs 16:11 provides a clear idea of the spiritual intent of living and leading a balanced life: “A just weight and balance are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work.” The proverb tells us that all things are God’s and that He is and must always be the standard by which we measure everything.” https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/RA/k/923/Striving-for-Balance.htm
During this time of the pandemic, leaders were challenged with maintaining a balanced life. We found ourselves even busier with family, work, church, and community responsibilities.
As we begin to return to some sense of normalcy or to a new normal in the world today, let me continue to remind you to focus on a balanced life that includes physical development as well as spiritual development. I often combine both, praying, singing, recalling God’s Word as I’m at the gym, walking, or just enjoying God’s creation as I drive. I know this is not easy but with some determination and practice we can start to implement this in our lives.
Another reminder for CLLI students and graduates to help you maintain balance – form, cultivate, and nurture that personal inner circle of leaders of yours that will hold you accountable because they care for the best in you.
Lastly, don’t forget to rest because this is what God did after working hard during the time of creation. “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” Genesis 2:2-3 ESV.
God and the Bible invite us to have a balanced life. What are the immediate steps that you can follow to implement this balance in your life?
Patty Villarreal LMSW, is the Co-Founder and faculty member of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute, and recently retired after working 43 years as a social worker.