The Challenge of Balance

Today we hear a lot about the dangers of cigarettes, too much fat, the wrong kinds of fat, excess sugar, too little sleep, too much sedentary living, etc., etc. We know these behaviors are bad for us! Could it be the cacophony of “nots” pushes us over the edge in the other direction sometimes?

When we discover something good for us, are we tempted to run with it to excess? I met a person recently who firmly believed in the virtues of eating slowly and masticating (chewing) thoroughly. He counted how many times he chewed each bite, and recorded it on a piece of paper along with what that bite contained. If he swallowed it all before he had reached 25 chews, he would exclaim, “Next time I need to chew more slowly!” He was disgusted with himself if he finished a meal in under 2 hours, also.

Certainly, there are many benefits from chewing our food adequately. Most of us today probably rush through our meals too rapidly. When we do, we tend to overeat for sure. But at least two hours per meal, and a written record of each bite–isn’t that a bit much?

As humans we often struggle to find balance in our lives. So often when we discover a good thing, we take it to excess. Even the good things can be overdone. I remember running my first marathon. I had not adequately trained, and though I finished, I could hardly walk without pain for the next few days! I had done too much at one time.

Moderation, according to Webster’s Online Dictionary is “to lessen the intensity or extremeness” of something. Have we lost sight of what it means today? We live in a world filled with excess of both the good and harmful things. 

Healthy living is more than avoiding the harmful things, it is practicing the good things with moderation. To do that we need to “exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely” (Titus 2:2). Now that is a big challenge!