BALANCE. Gosh that word can be annoying and is totally overused. People use it ALL THE TIME for everything in life. “I need more balance in my diet, fitness program, daily routine, spiritual life, family life, social media use, Pinterest obsession, insert any popular thing right here.” But what does it really mean? Do we just say it because it’s what everyone says when they know big stuff in their lives is out of whack? Jen Hatmaker (who I LOVE and fangirl over more than any normal person should) talks about it in her newest book, For the Love — which you must go read right this second if you haven’t already! She refers to balance as being like a unicorn, something we talk about but no one has actually seen in real life. Right?!?! Balance, puh-LEEZ. Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.
I obsessed over what to call this website/blog/business/whatever this is. But I obsess over everything so no big whoop. Anyway, I went around and around and over it a zillion times and ended up back at this mythical word. Because I can’t think of a better one…and because I believe it’s a great and forgiving goal for every single one of us.
Through my own personal health crisis and series of life events that were crushing and heartbreaking and exhausting and not unique to just me, I realized that there is more to overall health and wellbeing than just exercising and not eating too much food. When you suffer and spend time crawling through the trenches, praying for relief from your health trials, you just want to be better. To be well. To be happy. All you know is that where you are is not where you want to stay. You absolutely cannot stay where you are. Something must be done to be in a better place.
When I emerged from the depths of my own desperation, it was through a team effort of amazing people who fought for me and with me. God placed these beautiful people in my life, all with special gifts of healing, and I came to believe there are three big parts to living a well balanced life. They are all tied together, and I cannot be truly healthy if I don’t keep them all in check.
The first is physical and mechanical balance. Your body must be in good physical alignment in order to function properly, for your nervous system to communicate effectively throughout your body. Your muscles and joints must be used evenly and equally to allow good function and prevent wear and tear. That’s where things such as chiropractic care and regular Pilates practice comes into play. I already had the Pilates knowledge, but it created a fire in me to become a master trainer to educate more people. And I was introduced to the first of several phenomenal chiropractors who educated me about the need for this care. If you have ever experienced chronic pain, the kind of pain that brings tears to your eyes with the slightest movement, then you know what I mean. It is physically painful, but it affects you chemically and emotionally as well. You cannot expect your body to stay in good alignment without active care. It is not conducive to the world we live in. Allowing your nervous system to work properly and training your body to move effectively does wonders for your health, as well as lessens the possibility of injury and persistent pain. I am all for that.
The second is chemical balance, which is where proper nutrition enters the equation. Our bodies are not pieces and parts that can be dealt with individually. I believe that God created the amazing human body, and it is designed for everything to work together to function properly. We need to eat a nutrient dense, whole foods diet so that we get all the nutrients we need to get everything in our bodies working together and for the greater good. Our modern world has screwed this up monumentally. I mean, WOW. The need for speed and convenience has altered the state of our food so much that we can’t even really call it food anymore. Processed, chemically altered, irradiated junk is not going to keep our bodies healthy in the way they are supposed to run. And then we are always so quick to jump on the bandwagon of whatever is deemed as “bad” … fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium, etc. Guess what? We need ALL of those things for our bodies to be healthy. We must change our habits and the way we view food. And we can’t shove food down our throats when we are constantly trying to do more and maintain a ridiculous pace of life, expecting this food to actually “hurry up” and nourish us. It is up to us to take the time to find and prepare truly healthy food, take our time to eat it, and allow our bodies to utilize that food in ways that provide us with real nutrition. A side note of chemical balance also ties in the over abundance of toxins and chemicals in our personal care products which screw things up, too. Our skin is our largest organ, and what we put on it really matters. Skin care, makeup, laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste, you name it. It only takes 26 seconds for those products to get into our bodies and into our bloodstreams. Finding ways to limit your exposure to these as well as detox them from your system is imperative. So basically, whole foods, safer products, and less toxins. We can totally do that, you guys.
And lastly, there is an emotional component. When I have really been at my lowest point, crawling through each minute, I have prayed for joy in my days. Happiness. Light. We all want to be happy, right? And when we’re not, we feel it in our bodies. Fatigue, fear, anxiety, depression, indifference, etc. The list goes on and on. Not dealing with or addressing our emotions can cause just as much physical dis-ease as anything. In addition to the nutritional protocols of gut healing, counseling and communication are hugely helpful. Talking about all of your junk out loud with someone who understands or empathizes with your struggles is incredibly helpful. I’ve spent many an hour in a counselor’s office, and it is crazy hard. Emotionally draining. Unbelievably exhausting. And healing.
I remember desperately trying to figure out what caused all of my problems…always coming up with new theories. Was my chronic pain because I broke my foot and my back became messed up from wearing that boot? Did I have all those miscarriages because I didn’t eat everything organic? Or was I having panic attacks because I wasn’t strong enough to just deal with things? And then one day as I was obsessing over this in my counselor’s office, he asked me, “Does it even matter? Will it change anything?” And I was struck by the answer in my head…NO. It doesn’t really matter. It’s like the age old question about the chicken and the egg. It just is what it is.
I wholeheartedly believe all three of these major life components are tied together. Not just one thing alone can be addressed and “cure” or “fix” us. They are all intertwined, and one may be the root cause of another, or one may be the result of another. Honestly, who cares which one came first as long as we can get to a better place? We may have to tackle them one at a time or with baby steps, and we may have setbacks, but that’s where that silly word comes back into play. Balance. It means we aren’t perfect, but we’re trying. It means we are working towards better and not just staying where we are. It means allowing ourselves a little grace as we work towards a well balanced life. God is more than willing to give us ridiculous amounts of grace, so don’t be so stingy with it when it comes to yourself.
And besides, who doesn’t like the idea of a unicorn? Not anyone I want to hang out with. Unicorns are pretty awesome.