Delighting in Moderation

—Dana

“If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.”
-Epictetus

I’m an extremist.

I live a life that constantly jumps back and forth between two polar opposites of any given spectrum, completely ignoring any and all space in between. All or nothing. Black or white. These are my mottos. For me, there is no middle ground…there are no shades of gray. Actually, let me rephrase that. There is a middle ground, I just can’t seem to find it. There are shades of gray, I just can’t seem to see them. What I’m trying to say is that moderation isn’t exactly my forte. I would like it to be. However, I never really know how to apply “moderation” in my life without turning it into an extreme sport.

As you can probably imagine, the fact that I lack the virtue of moderation makes me the ideal poster child for an unbalanced life. No matter how hard I try to achieve that concept of balance (that magical concept I hear great things about), I inevitably end up tipping the scale to one side or the other. All. Nothing. Black. White.

I think that my extremist behavior all comes down to my perfectionist personality…it has me adhering to a misguided, but nonetheless convincing, belief that if I’m going to bother doing something I might as well go all out and do it perfectly. This means that anything new I introduce to my life has a high probability of turning into an obsession, as I shove all other aspects of my life to the side and pursue my latest undertaking with all I’ve got.

This tends to turn out great for whatever I happen to be pursuing…it gets done and it gets done well. Unfortunately, it’s not so great for any other aspect of my life, as everything outside my latest obsession gets ignored and winds up neglected and in much need of some love.

Besides the fact that it throws everything in my life completely out of whack, another undesirable consequence of my all or nothing mentality is that I inevitably lose interest in my latest obsession and wind up discarding it as quickly as I picked it up. I become burnt out from giving it my all, and make the jump back to the opposite end of the pond where I start to give it nothing instead. It becomes just another forgotten obsession and collects dusts in the corners of my mind.

Moderation. Another word that the Lord gently whispered into my ear this year. After pondering words like “Simple” and “Quiet” in previous blog posts, I have finally arrived at this ten letter word. It’s amazing how something so simple, and yet so profound, can rock the very core of my existence and keep me on my knees…praying to the Lord “how on earth can I correctly apply moderation in my life?” Honestly, with things like…

The Internet.
Food.
Friends.
Alcohol.
Reading.
Church.
Work.
Fun.
Family.
Money.
Over-analyzing.

…how can a girl find balance in all things? I must press on. The Lord will help me find a new norm and a new way to approach life. Without living a life that is only black and white, I anticipate spending my days delighting in moderation and seeing life in many shades of grey. Perhaps, He will send me a few rainbows to enjoy during this process…

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