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Dave Durand tells how to keep your balance in a topsy-turvy working world.
BY Dave Durand
heard you talk about the importance of living a balanced life by doing what you
call “spinning the plates” (juggling faith, finances, physical health, social
contributions and continued education/vocation). Is it possible to have that
kind of focus on yourself and not become self-centered?
it is possible to live a balanced life without being self-centered. If you look
at living a balanced life from the perspective of stewardship it becomes easier
to see that reality.
spinning plates are all gifts that we have received from God and we will be
accountable for the way we manage each one.
you point out, there is also a risk of taking a spinning plate beyond
stewardship and into self-centeredness. It is a real risk but one we must take.
Jesus’ parable of the servants who were left with their master’s talents in
Matthew 25? The servant who buried his talent because of his lack of faith —
his fear — was rebuked. The servant who took the greatest risks with his talent
reaped the greatest return. In the end, his master awarded him the remaining
talents from the unfaithful servant.
I consider your question, I’m reminded of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. During the
’50s, he had one of the most popular television shows in America. He was truly
a celebrity. He faithfully used his gift for preaching and storytelling even
though the risk of pride and vainglory existed.
archbishop openly shared his struggle with this danger but, instead of running
away from his talents, he earnestly ran toward God for protection. He kept the
mission of saving souls ahead of any personal desires.
a similar way, you must not run from the spinning plates that bring you balance
in life. Instead you should keep them all in play with Christ at the center of
an inordinate focus on finances can lead a person to materialism or even a
false god but a Christ-focused approach to finances leads to tithing, charity
and appropriate frugality.
too much interest in physical health can turn into vanity — while a
Christ-focused approach to health leads to more energy and vitality to serve
your family, community and workplace.
a similar way, a secular focus at work turns into a self-congratulatory career
mindset whereas a Christ-centered focus at work becomes a vocation and a means
way of looking at this is to ask what would happen if you neglected any of your
spinning plates. Obviously neglecting any one of them will lead to sickness,
stress and, eventually, personal disaster.
spinning plates are really nothing more than the adult version of parental
advice to children: Brush your teeth, don’t eat too much junk food, save your
pennies, say your prayers, get your homework done, help your neighbor, be there
for the family dinner.
you spin the plates, spin prayerfully. Invite the Blessed Mother and Jesus into
each activity. Recognize that they are both present for all that you do and
honor them as you do it.
Dave Durand is online at