Living Balance? No thanks, I’ll stick with Order.
A lie flying around in our culture – one that is very prevalent, and common-language for many – is the encouragement to “Live a balanced life.” (or other variations of it.) It’s sneaky in the way that it is extremely mainstream while still flying under the radar. It’s subtle, yet dangerous. I’ll explain.
Living balance is the commonly held idea that — if a person does things in a balanced way, or at least in a way that doesn’t emphasize something too much or too little, that he’ll be living rightly. And thus, by living rightly, he will become happy. If everything in a person’s life is “just right”, and nothing tips the scales one way or the other, the balance they experience will make all things right. — There are many problems with this idea. First, living balance isn’t rooted in anything tangible, ie: what does ‘balance’ even mean? Doing merely what I want to do (balance), even if in a moderate fashion, doesn’t mean that I’m doing what I ought to do (order.) What we ought to be doing, regardless of who we are or what our state in life may be, is to live virtue. Living virtue allows us “not only to do good acts, but to give the best of our self.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1803.) Giving the best of myself is what I ought to do.
The “balance lie” would state that as long as the individual isn’t negating some aspect of his life, or at least not too much, he can do each activity in a balanced fashion. The truth about order is that, I’m called to living a life that is worth the very best. Choosing activities merely because I want to do them, isn’t necessarily pointing me towards that very best. Depending on what activities I’m doing, they may or may not be evil in-and-of-themselves, yet they may not be quite what I ought to be doing. Here, the question must go deeper (again, more than simply what I want to do) and ask the question, do I possess the virtue of temperance? Am I exercising justice? What about fortitude? Am I living prudently? Are my actions pointing towards charity? In attempting, however, to live virtue and do the greatest good, I’m challenged to order those things, along with others in my life, so that ultimately, I’m able to possess the virtues and live as closely to the example set by Christ as possible.
Here’s a video where I explain this idea a bit further. Live order.