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After doing a little research, I recently replaced my office chair with a balance ball.
I had heard many good things about the posture and health benefits they offered, but I wasn’t sure what to expect that first day when I sat on the balance ball while working on my computer.

It was surprisingly comfortable – until someone came up behind me, startled me and I almost fell off.

It has been a few weeks now, and using the balance ball as my chair has become my new normal.

Not only does it allow me to move a bit while I work, which helps me stay on task, but it also has become quite the conversation starter in the church office.

People who walk by my office and say “hi” now stop, take a few steps back and say, “What are you sitting on?” or “Now that is a cool chair.”

You just never know what kinds of ministry conversations might happen all because a big purple balance ball catches someone’s eyes.

I have learned that you have to have fairly good balance to sit on a balance ball most of the day. It would certainly not be recommended for everyone, but, so far, it has been a good addition to my office.

The ball is more fun to sit on than a regular chair, and it is also a constant reminder of how important balance is in my life and ministry. I can sit on this balance ball for a couple of hours with no problem. If I try to move too quickly, however, I can feel my body and balance wobble a bit.

If I want to change positions, I can’t just spin my chair around like I used to; I actually have to stand up and move now. These seem like minor adjustments, but they are the difference between sitting and getting work done and ending up on the floor.

The same is true in so many other areas of my life.

Last week, I was in a staff planning meeting in which we began our time together by talking about our spiritual, professional development and personal goals for the next six months.

Keeping these three areas of life in balance can be quite a challenge as a minister, but this balance is key for health and wholeness.

If one of those three – spiritual, professional or personal – gets out of balance or gets neglected, I end up (metaphorically) on the floor, emotionally and physically exhausted, not productive and not present for those who need my full attention.

It can be a delicate balance, but if I do not take care of myself, I cannot care for and be present with other people.

Getting used to using a balance ball as my main chair has taken some practice during the past few weeks.

I am more acutely aware of where I am in relation to my books, papers, computer and desk as well as more aware of where I am in relation to other people who come into my office.

I have to pay just a bit more attention so I don’t fall off the balance ball.

As I continue to practice my physical balance on the balance ball, I hope it will continue to be a reminder to me to be more aware and intentional about keeping balance in the rest of my life and ministry.

Brittany Riddle is minister to adults at Vinton Baptist Church in Vinton, Va. A version of this column first appeared on the Baptist Women in Ministry blog.

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