Why Work Life Harmony Is Better than Work Life Balance

When I was in seminary, one of our professors used to discuss how it was dangerous to talk about balancing Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

He didn’t like the word ‘balance’. The idea of balance implies tension. You don’t have tension between Scripture and the Holy Spirit. At least you shouldn’t.

Instead, he says, you find the harmony. Harmony comes when you have more than one note being sung in a way that gives you a fuller experience with the music.

Consider when you hear a single violin. The violin can be wonderful in and of itself, but what about when multiple violins and violas and stringed bases and woodwinds and brass all harmonize.

The sound becomes large and full and breathtaking.

Anytime I see the word balance applied to anything besides walking across something that you don’t want to fall off of, I think of that old Theology of the Holy Spirit professor (Hollis Gause was his name) and his idea of harmony over balance.

Work Life Harmony vs. Work Life Balance

I particularly love the idea as it relates to work life harmony vs. work life balance.

Balance implies holding two things as equal and managing the tension between the two.

I do not see my work as equal to my family. It is a tool. It is something I enjoy. It is something that helps me serve my family.

But if I try to keep the two in balance, it creates tension.

Yet if I work toward harmonizing my work and my life outside of work, then work becomes something that adds fullness, color, and breadth to my whole life.

And the same goes with my family life and outside interests. They all make up the orchestra. The various instruments. The themes and variations. They work together if I let them.

Consider this idea next time you think about work life balance.

How can the various areas of your life harmonize?

How can you release the tension among all of your competing priorities and allow them to work together, serve each other, and create overall growth and joy?

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