Balance. Doesn’t it sound lovely?
When I think of balance I think of a smiling, well dressed woman that has all the kids’ lunches packed as they walk calmly out the door to get on the school bus. Her house is clean, supper prepared in the fridge, car washed, cat fed and she picks up a book to read and snuggles into the couch.
This is NOT a picture of my life. But I still run a business, raise three kids, have an awesome marriage, strengthen my faith daily, exercise and still find time to unwind without going crazy.
Want to know the secret?
Yep. Stop it. Stop balancing.
There is no such thing as balance in my life. What I have are priorities. I set them clearly and firmly. Then I stick to them.
I believe balance is a myth. There are seasons to life, just as there are seasons in nature. God doesn’t balance the perfect amount of rainfall, sunshine, wind and temperature every day, week, month or even season. Certain times call for specific priorities.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1
If you have a newborn, you’re not balancing renovating a home with making new friends. No, during that season your only focus is to keep that little one fed and yourself sane.
Roll with the seasons my friends. I’m going to give you my tips as to how I UNBALANCE my life and still find joy in all the seasons. I’m going to use the letters S. T. O. P. as a fun acronym to demonstrate.
1. Shed. Remove. Swipe right. You know in your email if you want to delete a message you swipe right? Well, start doing that with your life. Delete. I’ve realized right now when I’m trying to grow my business that I don’t have a lot of time to spend with friends. I’ve deleted a lot of dinner, coffee or catch up dates so I can have that time to work. I may lose a few friends. I am ok with this. I know the friends I will keep are the ones worth keeping.
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Timothy 2:4
Don’t entangle yourself in matters that aren’t part of the plan God set in YOUR life. Delete these activities. Seek God, not the world, to help you decide what is important in each season.
2. Thoughts. Listen to what you are telling yourself. Stop telling yourself that “so-and-so is doing this or that” which you make to mean that you have to. Question everything your brain tells you is important. I had a woman tell me she takes her kids to the pool 3 times a week, has them do chores every day and plans one new family outing every week. Instantly, I could hear my thoughts run to, “Well, you don’t spend enough time with your kids if you don’t let them swim in the lake whenever they want to. You really should get them on a better schedule.” Ugh. No, I SHOULD NOT. My kids are healthy, happy and responsible. Plus, we have our own way of spending family time.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:12
Once I realized it was my thoughts getting away from me, I reigned them in and tested what God needs ME to focus on. Then I put myself back into the present moment. Which leads me into…
3. Open yourself up to being present. If you are constantly thinking about how you failed in the past or how you won’t be able to get it all done in the future, you miss the present moment.
This is probably the one I struggle with the most. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed by my list of things I need to get done that nothing gets accomplished. Often, I have to bring myself back to the present and remind myself that I only have here and now. There is only ONE priority right NOW. I am unable to do twenty things at once. It’s unmanageable and unrealistic. I need to focus on what I can do RIGHT NOW.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 27,34
4. Plan your priorities.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to proper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Isaiah 29:11
God loves to plan. He puts everything into action according to a plan. Why shouldn’t we have plans then too? When I’m talking about plans, I’m talking about prayerfully deciding what is most imperative in your life right now. Once you have priorities set, you put specific actions that help you fulfill those priorities in your calendar.
By having a plan, you ditch the worry, the overwhelm and the anxiousness. It calms your brain and lets you focus. You stop wasting time and keep moving forward.
These four actions have been how I ditch the overwhelm of trying to “balance” it all and live a life of joy and purpose.
Ditch the lie that you need to balance it all. Instead, lean into your season. Take care of your priorities.
And for goodness sakes, put a smile on that beautiful face of yours and ENJOY life!