Do you feel balanced in your life or are you battling balance? It is a war that we have waged with ourselves. There is work and family – spouse and children – spiritual growth and emotional issues – nutrition and yummy stuff – exercise and rest - and so many other areas that we are trying to put into balance. We are just plain overwhelmed with all that needs to fit neatly on our plate. Can you picture it…your nice and neat little plate of responsibilities? But the reality is our plate looks far different, doesn’t it. It is a plate that is filled to overflowing. There are some portions that are dripping off the side and others that are all running together. Quite frankly, our plate is a total mess. Can you relate?
As we go around battling balance in our lives we often think...I am woman. I am invincible! I can do this! I can do it all! We think…”I will listen to the Bible on CD while walking on the treadmill – even if I can’t remember a word. I can look fabulous every day for my husband even though I smell like spit up and have pureed carrots in my hair. I can make healthy choices for my family – although we run through the drive thru 3 nights a week. We try to spend time at home – although the house is a wreck and we yell more than we talk. I dress my children in cute attire – even when we dig it out of the dirty clothes hamper and spray a little Febreeze on it. I cuddle with my man – while snoring in his right ear because I am exhausted. I will stay up late and get up early so I can get it all done.” We think we can do it all. But the truth is we are tired! We are also probably frustrated, discouraged and feeling a little like a failure today – because in spite of all of our efforts – we are simply battling balance.
So, how can we have Balance? I wish I could answer that question. We will be battling balance forevermore. It is a curse we carry because Eve (thanks a lot!) ate that apple. Seriously, we are human and we are flawed. We are people pleasers and want to do it all! But, there is only one of us and only so much we can accomplish. Our quest to have balance begins with us. Before we can have a balanced life – we must first balance our self.
Instead of Battling Balance - Be a balanced YOU!
What does that mean? Well, most of us are off kilter, out of whack, having no sense of balance in our personal life. We need to stop and determine what is important and what really is not. We need to be honest with our self and ask, “Am I controlling my thoughts, my actions and what goes on my to-do list? Or am I allowing what life throws my way to control me?” So what do we do?
- Start our day spending time with our BEST friend, Jesus. No, I am not trying to be trivial. He really is our best friend. He knows everything about us and loves us unconditionally. He will help us and guide us as we move forward in our day. Only when we put Him first, can we be the mom we should be, love the way we should love and act the way we should act. Matthew 6:33 says,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
- Accept who you are! You are NOT your past. You are NOT your mistakes. You are fearfully and wonderfully made – that means you are AWESOME! You are God’s beloved. You have gifts and talents that no one else has. You are unique and special. EVERYTHING you have been through and all that has happened to you – God can use for your good and for His glory! So, no more negative self-talk. Believe what the Bible says about YOU. Accept that you are precious and God loves you more than you can imagine. You are good enough! Yes, you are.
- Put your Family before your To-Do list and before your work. Remember, Jesus first, family next and career third. I don’t think God means, “make sure your children get to do everything they want to do.” No. So what does that mean? Well, in Colossians 3:17 and again in verse 23 – God tells us in whatever we do – do it as if working for the Lord. But in between those two statements He talks about the Christian home. He tells wives to submit to their husband. In today’s terms I would paraphrase and say “we should love our man. We should encourage him and make him feel like a man.” He should be respected. And…he should come before our children. The Lord instructs husbands to love their wives and to not be bitter. Again, paraphrasing that to say, “Husbands, be loving and kind to your emotional mess of a wife. She needs you to love her and hold her and make her feel special.” God instructs the children to obey their parents. This is our job as parents to raise our children to be obedient first of all to God’s word and then to their parents and to the law. And God also mentions in these verses that a father should not provoke his children. So we are not to frustrate our children or discourage them. We are to train our children the same way God disciplines and teaches us. WOW! That is a light bulb moment. Bottom line – we are to be Christ like. So, when it comes to family we are to love with God’s unconditional love, serve with God’s goodness, teach with God’s wisdom, and be full of gratitude for these gifts that call us Babe and Mom.
- Learn to say No to the good – so we can say YES to the BEST! We put too much on our plate. We just simply can’t do everything we want to do and we certainly can’t do all that others think we should do. We have to learn to say no. Saying no to the good – so you can say yes to the best is freeing. It empowers us to do what is important. The best way to know what to say no to and what to say yes to is by communicating with those who are most important. First – pray about your To-Do list. Ask God to guide you as you make decisions about what goes on that list. Next, have open communication with your family. Talk about what is important and what just simply does not matter. You may find some of the things you are struggling to do aren’t even important to the ones who matter. If you love to check things off a list – be sure you are adding the important things like spend quite time with the Lord; encourage my spouse; and spend one to one time with my children.
- Count it all joy! (Whew! That’s a toughie, I know!) God’s words tell us that we are to count it ALL joy. When we fall into various trials – we have an opportunity to practice and perfect our ability to trust God, we gain wisdom and we grow our faith. (Check out James 1:2-6) So, when you look at that pile of laundry – be thankful God has given you the people who wear all those clothes. When your child forgets his homework – see the opportunity you have to encourage him to become responsible. When you are tired – be thankful that your life is full and you have many opportunities to serve.
As we go around today battling balance, it is my prayer that you will feel a little less burdened and allow yourself to simply enjoy your life. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God says,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s gracious thoughts exceed our imagination and none of us can fathom the depths of His wisdom. I can’t imagine Jesus sitting with us today discussing how stressed He is over the things we are stressed about…things that just don’t matter. So, let’s seek to apply His grace and His wisdom as we continue battling balance and seek to find contentment and ultimate joy.