Creating a life of balance is something the Lord has called us to and is part of the promise of living an abundant life (John 10:10). When we are good stewards of our time, the Lord promises us rest, peace and refuge.
All we have to do is look at Genesis 1:1-31. When God created the heavens and the earth, He did so in an orderly, balanced manner. He was not frazzled, out of control, overwhelmed or overscheduled. He took His time. He was intentional, purposeful, careful. He enjoyed His creation and as a result, He was able to look upon His work and declare it as being good. He was able to rest and enjoy everything around Him.
Can any of us truly say that about ourselves? Can we say that what our plans and work being done with intention? With purpose? Are we doing it carefully and are we enjoying it? Are we able to rest, look back upon it and declare it as good?
So many of us have jammed packed, overflowing schedules. We take on way more than we should because we don’t want to say no and hurt anyone’s feelings. We want our kids to be included and accepted so we sign them up for every activity that presents itself. We are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
Sometimes, we aren’t creating balance because we are too focused on one thing. We are pouring all of our attention, time, and energy into just one area of our lives. We neglect and abandon our other responsibilities and before we know it, everything is falling apart.
A few weeks after starting courses at LUO, we moved, I had my appendix removed and found myself ridiculously behind in every area of my life. I was scrambling to get caught up on my coursework at LUO, so everything else fell by the wayside. The housework was just not a priority and sadly, either was spending time with D or with my Little People.
I am an all or nothing kind of girl. Whatever it is that I’m doing, it has my entire focus and I will put one hundred percent of myself into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dishes, a blog post, or some major project for school. So when I fell behind in my coursework, I sat with my face glued to a computer screen for sixteen plus hours a day, trying to get caught up and ignoring everything and everyone around me.
To say the least, my entire family had a huge problem with this, especially D.
You would think that when he spoke the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), that I was not balancing what the Lord had blessed me with very well, that I would have accepted his words with grace, but I didn’t. Instead, I was offended and became quite angry with him for not understanding my situation. I argued that it wouldn’t hurt anyone else to pick up the slack and help me out and that if it would make him happy I’d quit school and go back to only focusing on him, the kids and the house.
Truth is, he was helping me, the kids were helping me, but I was too focused on myself to recognize and appreciate that it was D and the Little People that were making all the sacrifices. That no one wanted me to quit, no one wanted me to give up. They all, God included, wanted me to learn that I needed to be a good steward of the time I had been blessed with.
With all my focus on school, my relationship with the Lord was suffering greatly. My marriage was already hurting and with all my attention being poured into school it was easy to ignore that reality. Unfortunately, my children were a casualty of it all. I was so concerned with not being a failure at school that I was failing in every other area of my life.
But God is good and in His love and limitless grace, He brought me to a place of conviction and repentance and I’ve been working with Him to begin making the necessary changes in my life.
Begin Creating A Life Of Balance
Prioritize your time
It’s not really as hard as it sounds. The “term” prioritize used to send me into a panic because to me, everything was a priority. I had to learn that I really just needed to pair it all down.
- My relationship with Jesus is absolutely number one, but it wasn’t always that way. Making sure that I’m spending quiet time with Him each day has to be number one. When I look back on the years that my life was a disaster, it was always because Jesus was not first. If you are struggling, checking to be sure that you are spending time in quiet prayer, reading Jesus’ Word and listening to what He is telling you through His word and to your heart, will be a huge comfort for you. It may also help for you to copy the scriptures that He is laying to your heart onto 3×5 index cards and keep them with you throughout the day.
- My relationship with my husband has not always been amazing, fantastic and wonderful. In fact, it is one area that I strive daily to keep going strong. I have not always been a blessing to my husband nor have I always made sure he knew that he was a blessing to me. There are so many different aspects that go into creating a happy, Christ-centered marriage, but making sure that your husband knows that he is important and a true blessing to your life is a great place to start.
- Loving on your children is so much more important than folding that huge pile of clothes. If I had worried more about shaping my children’s hearts than keeping my home spotless, I would have enjoyed the early years of motherhood so much more. It is absolutely okay to have mac and cheese for the third time this week, as long as you are all sitting around the table, chatting about your day and enjoying one another’s company. It is absolutely okay if you cuddled on the couch with your 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 10-year-old or 15-year-old and watch a movie or take a nap instead of doing the dishes.
- Everything else falls into this category. Nurturing and growing your relationship with Jesus, your husband, and your children have to come before anything else in your life. As Christian women, we tend to fall to the pressure of keeping up with the Proverbs 31 Woman, but we are forgetting that Jesus has not commanded us to have Pinterest cleaned homes and meals on the table every night. No, He has called us to simply love.
Minimize your stress
Ladies, I get it! There are just some types of stress that we seem impossible to overcome. The mortgage being overdue, rebellious teenagers or your marriage being in crisis is not what I’m talking about here.
Many of us tend to over-commit and over-extend ourselves to the point of absolute breakage. Insert me raising my hand here. We think we HAVE to be super wives and super moms. We think we have to make all our meals, bread and desserts homemade in order to be classified as a good mom. We think we have to home-school our children like all the other Christian moms in our Facebook group. We think we have to work full-time, keep our homes company ready, prepare Pinterest perfect meals that are made with organically grown veggies and grass-fed beef in order to be a good mom. We take on the PTO/PTA, the children’s program at church, and sign our children up for every extracurricular activity we can find.
I was talking with an overwhelmed and exhausted mama the other day. She sounded very much like I did just a few years ago. She, like me, was looking for someone to throw her a life-preserver so she could keep her head above the water. I think it’s fair to say that we have ALL felt that way at one time or another throughout our years of motherhood. I know I certainly have, and the one thing that I learned that is more valuable to me than anything else, is whenever I am feeling like enough is enough, it’s because I’ve taken on something(s) that have not been given to me from God.
Take a look at how your priorities fit with the guidelines above and then start cutting out anything that doesn’t encourage those priorities. Cut out anything that isn’t allowing you to put Jesus first and prevents you from having an amazing relationship with your husband. Get rid of all, if not most of the activities that don’t provide you with opportunities to invest in your children’s hearts.
Click here for my Free Daily Routine Worksheet. Print out one for each day of the week, marking each with the day of the week. Use it to keep track of everything you do in a single day. You can then compare what you have written with the guidelines above and determine what needs to go and what needs your attention.
It is absolutely okay to only sign your child up for soccer (or nothing at all), and not football. You aren’t a terrible mother if you don’t homeschool your children. It is not the end of the world if you resign as head of the PTO and have date nights with your husband instead. God does not care about Pinterest perfect meals and most likely, your family doesn’t either.
Sisters, we need to learn to walk in God’s grace. To live under His umbrella of refuge. To escape to our secret place with Him and seek His Will for our lives. Friends, I promise, if you take a few minutes to ask God to direct your steps, to show you what is important to Him, He will be quick in answering that prayer for you.
Please feel free to comment below and share with me how you are doing in creating balance in your life! I’d love to hear from you and don’t forget to join The Every Chain Broken Community using the form below!