Originally posted by Mike on September 18, 2006
Men, I struggle with balance in my life and I know I am not alone. In a recent session of The Quest for Authentic Manhood we talked about balance in four specific areas of life: righteousness, competitiveness, family relationships and friendships. It’s really easy for us to get so focused on one aspect of our lives that we leave a trail of unmet needs and broken relationships behind us in other areas.
How are you doing in the area of righteousness? I think all of us would agree that it’s a challenge to live a righteous and upright life today. Since sin entered the world, men have struggled in the battle between good and evil and will continue to do so. I have had conversations with men about how tough it is to do the right thing in business when they know their competition is cutting corners in order to make deals work. Doing the right thing sometimes involves costs that seem overbearing and even eat up profit margin. It’s also lonely when you choose a righteous path rather than an easy one that requires you to compromise your integrity. It’s always easier to be pulled down to the level of the worldly than it is to fight the fight of righteousness. But men, it’s imperative that we stay in the battle.
How are you doing in the area of competitiveness? Some of us love competition so much that we compete in everything. God made us so that we want to win. You can’t win if you don’t play, so in order to have a chance to win, we turn everything into a competition. This drive to battle, compete, succeed, or conquer is what inspires men to greatness because we thrive on the rush that comes with challenge, risk and opportunity. We celebrate this warrior’s spirit; but I have seen it get out of control. When a man is so focused on the battle of the day, he can lose sight of other important aspects of life. The warrior spirit is important and essential but it can also cause much harm when it’s the dominant factor in your life. Keeping your warrior spirit in check is, in itself, a worthy challenge.
Men, how are you doing with your family relationships? There are times when I feel like I’m doing alright as son, husband and/or father, but there are also times when I realize I’m not where I should be. With this in mind, there are some cold, hard truths that I have to share with you. Someone else could run your business or play your position on the softball team. Someone else can help your friend with his problem or even do your job at church this week. But you are the only one who can fill your role as your parents’ son, your wife’s husband or your child’s father. If you aren’t doing well in this area of your life, you need to reassess right now and make some changes. Fixing problems now is easier than dealing with the fall-out later.
Men, our final area of concern for the week is friendships. The truth is many of us couldn’t say that we have even one real friendship. We certainly have other guys in our lives that we talk with about football, NASCAR or fishing. But we don’t often have another man that we could talk with about the struggles we might be having with our teenage son, or the fact that our wife’s dedication to a ministry position at church is hurting our marriage. Nor have we given any man opportunity or permission to ask us tough questions about how things are going at work or home. If you aren’t connected with a few other men who enthusiastically celebrate victories and commiserate defeats with you, your life is out of balance. You must find and connect with men who will walk through life with you and sharpen you as iron sharpens iron.
I was personally reminded recently of my need to sometimes stop and take a look around. Survey the landscape and see where I am. Guys forget to do that sometimes. In Psalm 139, David sets a good example for us with this prayer, Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Men, could I challenge you to pray this prayer each day and ask God to help you balance your life?