Does that word make your heart shutter sometimes? I feel like it makes my “inner perfectionist” grit it’s teeth and growl. Balance, in my mind, means that I’m perfectly meeting every expectation that requires attention in a day. I may be getting the definition mixed up with perfection, but basically to me, balance is getting it “all” done
First, I need to make sure I’m spending ample time with God. Reading my Bible, journaling, praying, listening… you know, so I can keep Him first in my life (All good things!)
Next, I have to give my kids the best…My best! They need healthy meals and snacks. A well-rounded education because we homeschool. Plenty of time outside. Showers. Books read. Library & museum visits. Music lessons. Horse riding lessons. Less screen time, more book reading….all the things!
Then I have to exercise, I have to keep my body moving because if I don’t, so many other things suffer. My mind for one (Hello, endorphins!) my physical well being, and of course my waist line!
Then I need to get all of the things done around my house. The never-ending laundry, yardwork, cooking, cleaning and picking up.
Then of course, there’s the multiple businesses we own and run ourselves that need attention and managing.
And to top it all off I HAVE got to make sure I’m walking in the calling that God has placed on my life, because if I’m not doing that, what am I even doing?
Cue hyperventilation breathing!!
The number one question I get from people is, “How do you balance it all?”
My answer is…..I DON’T!
Balance requires me to do everything perfectly and all within a day and it’s just not possible. I would completely and totally sacrifice all that is important in my life for my to-do list to be accomplished in a day. I would heap on myself condemnation that I’m not enough to be successful in this life I’m living.
Let’s be real, friends….NO ONE is “balancing” their lives. I truly believe you’re either surviving day-to-day to just breathe, keep the littles alive, make-ends meet (I’ve had many of these days) or you’ve learned that God’s grace for your everyday mundane is what will help us all thrive and grow and take ownership of our lives.
I believe balance is a myth. But prioritizing and going after what needs to be done in your life is possible.
Getting up early is one way I can do this. 4:45 am is what my alarm is set to and I’m usually up around 5:05 am because, honestly, I’m still comatose before 5 am! I wake up the same time everyday…even if I got to bed a little later than planned, because if I don’t, I really mess up my sleep cycle and it’s so hard to get back to it. From there, I’m out the door getting my workout in at our shop that we turned into a gym (Yes, totally spoiled to have it so close!) I find that working out first thing in the morning works best for me because:
The heat of the day hasn’t hit since we have zero A/C out there.
I’m working out before the kids wake up, so I don’t have distractions to be mindful of.
I’m accomplishing something right away, which makes the Enneagram 3 inside of me so happy to check it off of my list!
Next, I’m able to get back inside and sit down for a while, drink some coffee and read my Bible, pray and journal. It’s seriously my favorite time of day. Does it happen everyday? No. Sometimes, after my workout I’ve got to get showered and girls up and we’re headed out the door or I’m helping my husband right away with something. But I seriously love it when my days roll like this.
We’re all given the same amount of time in a day and I’d be the first to complain that I can’t get everything done in a day that I need to get done, when one day, my husband just said it, “Well, why don’t you get up earlier?” At first I thought, well I can’t, I need that sleep. But when I actually tried it I realized that I could still stay up to 9:30-10pm with my night owl husband and get up basically 2 hours before my kids wake up, it changed my whole world. Those 2 hours allow me to take care of me, when the rest of the day I’m wanting to serve the rest of those around me. It’s that “self-care” that’s become so popular in our culture lately.
I really don’t need the massages, girls night outs, or the vacays, but give me an early morning sweat sesh and my coffee and Bible and I’m set!
My days differ everyday. There’s days when we’re home and we can do a lot of bookwork for homeschool. My house gets cleaned. Horses get rode and we just spend a lot of time outside getting work done. Other days it running errands and I feel like I’m gone the entire day, because hello, we don’t live that close to town. And then there’s the days where we venture off to the mountains to hike to fulfill that addiction that me and my girls have. I think having that same morning routine really allows me to start my day with a peaceful mind, no matter what may come later that day.
A peaceful mindset is crucial to my life right now when everything around me is screaming, “You have to do more. You have to hustle to accomplish anything!” I’m not against the hustle, but I need to know the “why” behind it and is it stealing the peace and grace that God promises me everyday if I keep my focus on Him? Figure out what’s happening in your everyday life that’s stealing your peace and bring it to God. Is it your email inbox, social media, housework, your job, your relationships, your dreams and goals for your life? All of those things that you may think are just little things that God doesn’t need to get involved in, you’re wrong about. He’s God, and He wants every little part of your life and He wants to be in it all. When I learned to pray about the mundane things in my life, God brought peace into every area. I still get stressed and overwhelmed probably at least once a day, but I’m getting more mindful of recognizing the way I’m feeling and the thoughts I’m thinking and I’m able to give them to God a lot quicker and so much easier than ever before since I finally realized that God wants to take it from me. That’s freedom, not balance. That’s walking in the fullness of what Jesus died for and not trying to do it all on our own because we think that’s the way to be “enough” in this life.
Galations 5:22-23 in The Passion Translation talks about when we walk in the Spirit instead of our flesh the Holy Spirit’s fruit in our lives brings:
“Joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of hear, and
strength of spirit.”
I don’t know about you, but I want all of this. I’d encourage you to go read the entire 5th chapter in Galatians (The Passion Translation says it so well!) to see what happens when we walk in the flesh because that’s basically what my life looks like when I try to do it all on my own and I don’t want any of that business anymore because it’s pure destruction of my life.
Basically, all this boils down to learning and growing in God. His Word is your guide, Holy Spirit can be your life coach and so much more and His grace is more than sufficient for what you need in this life, but you have to take action and put in the work to get it changed around to where peace and freedom reigns in your life. You need to forgive yourself and ultimately know that you’re forgiven by God. He doesn’t ask you to pay penance for your past, but gives you forgiveness the moment you ask and just asks you to keep following Him and don’t turn back. The Gospel for our lives is simple, but it can produce a beautiful adventure full of freedom, peace and love when we learn to surrender it all to Him!
I hope this little window into what God has been showing me can help you. I’m a very black and white person, so learning to see what areas in my life that were lacking peace showed me more of where I need to pray and let God in. It’s simple things like this that allow God’s promised freedom for your life to work at its fullest and takes the whole “balancing” thing out of the equation all together.