Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance
An edited version of a speech given by:
One of my colleagues said to me
that some good would come from a recent, difficult illness. He suggested that
it is good, on occasion, for everyone to face adversity, especially if it
causes introspection that enables us to openly and honestly assess our lives.
That is what I did.
The night before my surgery, my
doctors talked about the possibility of cancer. When I was left alone, my mind
filled with thoughts of my family and of my life. I realized that I needed to
rearrange some of my priorities to accomplish the things that matter most to
Sometimes we need a personal
crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. Perhaps if
you, too, search your heart and courageously assess the priorities in your
life, you may discover, as I did, that you need a better balance among your
All of us must come to an honest,
open self-examination, an awareness within as to who and what we want to be.
As most of you know, coping
with the complex and diverse challenges of everyday life, while not an easy
task, can upset the balance and harmony we seek. Many good people who care a
great deal are trying very hard to maintain balance, but they sometimes feel
overwhelmed and defeated.
A mother of four small children
said: “There is no balance at all in my life. I am completely consumed in
trying to raise my children. I hardly have time to think of anything else!”
A young father, who felt the
pressure of being the family provider, said: “My new business requires all of
my time. I realize that I am neglecting my family and other responsibilities,
but if I can just get through one more year I will make enough money, and then
things will settle down.”
A high school student said: “We
hear so many contrasting views that it is hard to always know what is right and
what is wrong.”
How often have we heard this
one? “No one knows better than I do how important exercise is, but I just have
no time in my day for exercising.”
A single parent said: “I find
it next to impossible to accomplish all that I need to do to manage my home and
lead my family. In fact, sometimes I think the world expects too much of me.
Regardless of how hard I work, I never will live up to everyone’s
Another mother of four
remarked: “My struggle is between self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of
self-worth versus guilt, depression, and discouragement for not doing
everything I am told we must do to attain heaven.”
We all face these kinds of
struggles from time to time. They are common human experiences. Many people
have heavy demands upon them stemming from parental, family, employment,
church, and civic responsibilities. Keeping everything in balance can be a real
I have a few suggestions that I
hope will be valuable to those of you concerned with balancing life’s demands.
These suggestions are very basic; their concepts can easily be overlooked if
you are not careful. You will need a strong commitment and personal discipline
to incorporate them into your life.
First, think about your life
and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about
where you are going and what you will need to do to get there. Write down the
tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the priorities
most important in the long run (such as God, marriage, family, health) as you
write down your daily schedules.
Second, set short-term goals
that you can reach. Set goals that are well balanced—not too many nor too few,
and not too high nor too low. Write down your attainable goals and work on them
according to their importance. Ponder (and prayer is good, too) in your goal
Third, everyone faces financial
challenges in life. Through wise budgeting, control your real needs and measure
them carefully against your many wants in life. Far too many individuals and
families have incurred too much debt. Be careful of the many attractive offers
to borrow money. It is much easier to borrow money than it is to pay it back.
There are no shortcuts to financial security. There are no get-rich-quick
schemes that work. Perhaps none need the principle of balance in their lives
more than those who are driven toward accumulating “things” in this world.
Do not trust your money to
others without a thorough evaluation of any proposed investment. Many have lost
far too much money by trusting their assets to others. In my judgment, we never
will have balance in our lives unless our finances are securely under control.
Fourth, stay close to your
spouse, children, relatives, and friends. They will help you keep a balance in
your life. In a recent study by the Church, adults in the United States were asked
to identify a time when they were very happy and to describe the experience.
They were also asked to describe a time when they were very unhappy. For most
people, one thing that had made them the most happy or the most sad was their
personal relationships with others. Much less important were their personal
health, employment, money, and other material things. Build relationships with
your family and friends through open and honest communication.
A good marriage and good family
relationships can be maintained through gentle, loving, thoughtful
communication. Remember that often a glance, a wink, a nod, or a touch will say
more than words. A sense of humor and good listening are also vital parts of
Fifth, many people, including
me, have difficulty finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise, and
relaxation. We must schedule time on our daily calendars for these activities
if we are to enjoy a healthy and balanced life. Good physical appearance
enhances our dignity and self-respect.
Sixth, families should spend
time together in learning, playing, and doing things that build relationships.
I realize that other
suggestions could be added to these. However, I believe that when we focus on a
few basic objectives, we are more likely to be able to manage the many demands
that life makes on us.
Remember, too much of anything in life can throw us
off-balance. At the same time, too little of the important things can do the
Often the lack of clear
direction and goals can waste away our time and energy and contribute to
imbalance in our lives. A life that gets out of balance is much like a car tire
that is out of balance. It will make the operation of the car rough and unsafe.
Tires in perfect balance can give a smooth and comfortable ride. So it is with
life. The ride through mortality can be smoother for us when we strive to stay
in balance. With this as our goal, why not eliminate from our lives the things
that clamor for and consume our thoughts, feelings, and energies without
contributing to our reaching that goal?
Just do the very best you can each day. Do the basic things and, before you realize it, your life will
be full of understanding that will confirm to you that you are loved.
person knows this, then life will be full of purpose and meaning, making
balance easier to maintain.
Live every day with joy in your