I remember the day clearly. It was early 2006 and a severe winter storm was passing through so I bundled up to go out and shovel the driveway. I don’t mind shovelling snow most days, but this time was different. After I was done, I came inside and suddenly I could hardly breath, my head was pounding and my body hurt from head to toe. It hurt for days.
I finally just admitted that I was out of shape. I talked a with a good friend to devise a health plan including joining a gym, but I just couldn’t see how I could fit into my life. He said, “You have to make it happen.” Eventually Kathy and I both joined a local gym and committed to working out 3 times a week. We also began running trails and eventually even completing the 30km “Around The Bay Race” in Hamilton. (It wasn’t pretty but we crossed the finish line.)
A Clear Sign Your Life Is Out Of Balance
That day out in the storm clearing my driveway and the subsequent pain from it, was a clear indicator that something was wrong. My health was not what it should have been because I had neglected it. A reminder that my life was out of balance.
In Gary Collins book, “Christian Coaching”, Chris McCluskey, founder and president of the Professional Christian Coaching Institute describes a very interesting perspective on life balance.
In the diagram below you see a triangle with the words worship, work and play. Chris suggests that after accounting for utilitarian activities like eating and showering etc most of what we do each day can fall into one of these broadly defined activities.
Worship, is time spent at church, personal spiritual activities like prayer & solitude. It could also include volunteering or simply taking time to soak in a sunset or some other expression of nature that causes us to acknowledge God’s presence.
Work, is what takes up a large amount of our time. Work includes our jobs, paying bills, mowing the lawn or buying groceries. “Like worship, work should require something from us as well as something that we get back. It is satisfying to put in a good day’s work, to know the bills are paid, to see the freshly mowed lawn and to have the pantry stocked.”
Play, according to McCluskey is the final ingredient in a well-balanced life. What you consider play will be different from me but whatever it is, it will require focused time and effort and perhaps an investment of money. Whether playing on a hockey team, enjoying a hobby, reading or exercising, play, like worship and work requires something of us. “True play will always feed your soul.”
Where Do Things Go Wrong?
You’ll notice in the diagram that there is an arrow from one word to the other. This is to illustrate how things get off track. McCluskey says that “Particularly in Western culture, we tend to worship our work. That’s what we sacrifice to make the focus of our lives. It’s where we derive our sense of security and our sense of worth.” We also turn play into work. We often turn play into competition. Winning becomes more important than playing. And when that happens, play stops being play and stops feeding us and fueling us.
I think that’s the main reason I don’t play fantasy sports leagues. There’s one for every major sport. But I never participate because if I did, I’d never be able enjoy another game, just for the sake of the game.
Chris goes on to suggest that we also then play at worship. It’s not a priority perhaps just an after thought. “Consequently our worship doesn’t allow God to fill us. We are starved spiritually.”
“When we worship work, work at our play and play at our worship, we are completely out of balance. Nothing is able to nourish us. Work reaches the point of diminishing returns and play and worship aren’t given the priority they need in order to feed us as only they can.” – Chris McCluskey
Key #4 Live Your Best LIFE Now
“Life balance is not about spending the same amount of time, money and energy on each life area equally. But rather giving each life area the attention it needs.”
In part one of this series, we were encouraged to assess “every” area of our lives. To score them out of 10. To live your best life now, you need to consider your health, your finances, relationships, career, personal development and spiritual life. Success in one area while failing in another is not success, and not your best life. For example, if you are pouring all your energy into your work while ignoring your health, you are not living your best life.
A balanced life:
- Allows us to be present; in the moment, free from distraction
- Allows us to be fully engaged at work
- Allows us to worship while not being preoccupied with work.
- Allows us the freedom to play while not being distracted by things at the office
- Places value on all areas of life
- Is a result of clear values
- Is intentional
- Has a plan for every area of life
So are you living your best LIFE now? Why or why not? What changes would make the biggest difference for you and why? What is stopping you from making those changes?
If you have questions or would like to explore life coaching but you’re not sure where to begin, contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute call. Let’s talk.
Simply fill out the form below and we can arrange a conversation. I look forward to it.