Equanimity and Temperance: Living a Balanced Christian Life
Welcome back to the "Health for the Spirit, Soul, and Body" blog, dear readers! In our continuous journey to align our lives more closely with Christ, today we explore a vital, yet often overlooked, aspect of Christian living: Equanimity. In the rollercoaster of life, it's easy to find ourselves swaying between spiritual highs and lows. Yet, as Believers, we are called to a life of balance – avoiding the extremes of emotional and spiritual turbulence. In this post, let's look closely understanding and embracing equanimity in our faith walk.
Level-headed Christian Living
In our spiritual journey, it’s crucial to avoid excessive highs and lows. While it’s natural to experience a range of emotions, as Christians, we are encouraged to maintain a stable faith through all seasons. Controlling our thoughts plays a key role in this. While we may not control external events, we can certainly control our reactions and mindset towards them. Our thoughts greatly influence our attitudes, shaping our entire life.
Equanimity and Temperance
Equanimity involves maintaining mental calmness and composure, especially in difficult situations. It’s about being steady and tranquil, irrespective of the storms around us. Temperance, a Biblical principle, relates to self-control and moderation in all aspects of life – from physical indulgences to emotional responses. Both equanimity and temperance encourage a balanced state of mind, fostering faith and trust in God’s plan, and leading to inner peace and emotional stability.
My Story of Equanimity in the ER
During my time at the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, training in Orthopaedic Traumatology, I discovered a profound expression of equanimity, a state essential for functioning during dire emergencies. Particularly during night shifts in the emergency room, the challenges were immense. We often faced major accidents with sometimes 20 to 50 or more casualties arriving at short notice. In these moments, we conducted triage, making critical decisions about who needed immediate treatment, who could wait, and who needed less urgent care. This required me to enter a state of equanimity, where my thoughts and actions remained unaffected by the severity of a person’s condition. This mental composure enabled me to make impartial decisions and function optimally. Each time I embraced this state, I found myself working more efficiently, a testament to the necessity of temperance and calm in the midst of chaos. This experience not only shaped my professional approach but also reinforced my understanding of the Christian virtues of equanimity and temperance, essential in faithfully navigating life’s most challenging moments.
Concepts of Equanimity and Temperance in the Bible
The Bible is rich with teachings on equanimity and temperance. Philippians 4:4 urges us to rejoice in the Lord always, a call to maintain joy and calm irrespective of circumstances. Similarly, Psalms remind us that God is our refuge and strength, encouraging us to find stability in our faith, even amidst turmoil. Isaiah 28:16-17 echoes this sentiment, advocating for a non-hasty, grounded approach in life.
Story of David and the Loss of His Family
In the life of King David, as chronicled in the Bible, there is a compelling episode of equanimity and resilience that resonates deeply with the concept of temperance. This story, found in 1 Samuel 30:1-19, unfolds at Ziklag, where David and his men return to discover that the Amalekites had raided their town, taking their families captive. Initially, David and his men were consumed by grief, with David himself deeply distressed. However, in a remarkable display of equanimity, David sought strength from the Lord, inquiring whether he should pursue the raiders. Receiving an affirmative answer, he led his men in pursuit. Despite the odds and their initial despair, they overtook the Amalekites and successfully recovered everything that was taken, including their families. This episode from David's life exemplifies the virtue of maintaining a steady heart and mind in the face of adversity. David's ability to compose himself, seek divine guidance, and take decisive action under distressing circumstances is a powerful illustration of equanimity, showcasing how faith and temperance can guide us through life's most turbulent times.
Benefits of Equanimity
Inner Peace: Equanimity brings a sense of serenity, helping us stay calm through life’s ups and downs.
Emotional Stability: It enables us to face life's challenges with a steady heart, avoiding extreme reactions.
Enhanced Well-being: Research shows that equanimity supports emotional regulation, contributing to mental health and overall well-being.
Improved Interpersonal Dynamics: A balanced mind improves our interactions and relationships.
Resilience: It fosters the ability to face life’s challenges with clarity and composure.
Ways to Develop Equanimity
Acknowledge Where You’re At: Accept your feelings without judgment.
Pause and Reflect: Before reacting, pause to assess the situation.
Embrace Evenness of Mind: Cultivate a balanced perspective.
Stay Engaged: Maintain involvement and impartiality in life’s discussions and debates.
Recognize Challenges: Acknowledge life’s trials and maintain a balanced emotional response.
Protect Your Balance
Carefully weigh your relationships and interactions. Identify what detracts from your equanimity and what enhances it. Write these down as a conscious step towards a more balanced life. Actively work towards eliminating negative influences and fostering positive ones.
Equanimity is not just a desirable state of mind; it’s a cornerstone of a balanced Christian life. It allows us to navigate life’s tumultuous waves with grace, composure, and unwavering faith. As we strive for this balance, let us remember that our strength lies not in the absence of storms but in our ability to remain steady through them, anchored in our faith in God.
I invite you to reflect on your journey towards equanimity and share your experiences or thoughts in the comments below. How do you maintain a balanced life in faith? Your stories and insights can be a source of encouragement and inspiration for others.
Until our next post, may God bless you with peace, balance, and unwavering faith.