Do you remember as a child playing on a seesaw? It always looked like such fun, but in reality, it often didn’t work very well. The problem with a seesaw is that both sides need to have about the same weight. This means that an adult cannot seesaw with a small child because the child does not have enough weight to raise the adult on the other side. On the other hand, when two people in the same approximate weight range get on a seesaw, it’s a blast!
Life has its own version of the seesaw. On one end of the seesaw is purpose. We are here for a reason, and when we discover that reason and begin to live into that purpose, life expands with fulfillment and joy. That purpose doesn’t have to be our job, though it may be. Our purpose may be found in service, in core relationships, or in a certain expression of our gifts or faith. Too many people give up too soon in the hard work of finding purpose in their lives. They reason that purpose is for “gifted” people. They then settle for less and miss out on the joy of making a difference in the lives of people around them.
On the other end of the seesaw is rest. We struggle on this end. For too many people rest seems like a waste of time. We even see time management gurus trying to find hacks that will enable us to get by with less sleep. In our high-speed culture rest is at best seen as a necessary evil, a means to be more effective at our purpose. On of the reasons for this is because we have come to redefine rest in terms of distraction, mindlessly vegetating and calling it restful. I have heard so many people admit to me that they don’t know how to relax. For those people, life becomes a one-sided seesaw, which is not much fun.
I believe we have it all wrong. Rest and purpose are meant to be beautifully balanced, equally vital parts of a full life. When a seesaw works well, there is a rhythm while one person rises into the air smoothly, reaches the height, and comes down gently to enable the other person to enjoy the heights. This is how purpose and rest work at their best. We give our self fully to meaningful pursuits and then wind down and rest. The purpose may seem like the main course, but who wants to live life without ever having dessert?
The challenge is on both sides of the seesaw. We have the opportunity to move from the seesaw of drivenness on one side and distraction on the other, to soul-rewarding purpose balanced by spacious rest and relaxation. These will not come easily because the patterns of the culture around us draw us into their grasps like a strong magnet. The beginning though is a vision for how life is meant to be lived. This vision is of a delightful seesaw balancing purpose and rest.