Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Unending Search for Balance

Olivia is one of my blogging friends I finally was able to meet in Dallas this August.  I gathered she was sweet via her blog, but I had no idea she would be as genuinely wonderful as she was the instant we met!  She's so very generous and extremely gracious.  She's one of those women who makes you want to be a better you.  Her love for others shines in all she does, and man, you ought to see her with her precious George.  She's a natural!  Okay, I'm letting her take it from here...

I want to thank Britt for completing her charitable giving by letting me guest post. I'm a long time fan of this blog, and I was able to spend some good quality time with Britt at The Hundred Event in August. Her grace, sweetness, and undiscriminating love captivated me right then and there. So I count myself super blessed to be writing about a topic she and I discussed at length while we were together, something that we both wrestle with on a daily basis, and I bet you do, too ... Balance.

 It's something that we all want in our lives, and something that is a constant struggle for most of us. As women, we can wear many hats: child of God, daughter, sister, student, wife, mother, teacher, boo-boo fixer, baker, chef, housekeeper, employee, volunteer, financial manager, etc. Gosh, we have a lot to juggle. Women are naturally terrific multi-taskers, which, I'm starting to see as a new mom, is necessary in order for the female species to get anything done. At all. God gave us a gift for multi-tasking for a purpose. But just because we can do a lot at once does not mean we should do everything at once. Yet most of us tend to push ourselves to the limits. In our eagerness to serve others, we can over-exert ourselves. We self-impose this notion of "doing it all" and for seem reason we hate saying "no" to anything. In our noble desire to help anyone we can, we can actually do more harm than good. We end up driving ourselves into the ground, exhausting all our faculties and, in most cases, causing us to be a crabby person to live with. And if our family is our main priority, we just shot ourselves in the foot. IMG_3700

Priorities. We talk about the importance of prioritizing, but how many of us take the time to write down our priorities and plan accordingly? It is so vital that we consistently make time for taking stock of our lives, our current season of life, and determine where our time and energy are most required. The kicker, then, is in following through on our findings. Sometimes it's important to say "no" to the good, little things in order to give a more resounding "yes" to the better, bigger things. For me, my relationship with God is number one in my life. But my actions don't always reflect that. Sometimes I forget to make time for prayer or I get distracted by a minuscule task when I should be in conversation with God. My family is numero dos. My husband and my son are my "why" in life. They are why I work, they are why I serve, they are why I go to bed happy each night. But have you noticed how easy it is to neglect the people closest to us in order to fulfill some outside duty? We tend to think that they'll be more understanding of our situation,which is probably true; however, they don't deserve to get the shaft 24/7. If we don't take time to pray with our family, to spend quality time with our spouse, to learn about our children, and to have fun with them at the park, then our actions aren't reflecting our priorities. IMG_5121

Awareness. Thus, we should be hyper-aware throughout the day. How many of us have "accidentally" committed to being PTO president when our kid's principal asked us during the craze of after-school pick up? You're in a hurry, you're frazzled trying to get last week's science project in your car, and the principal expresses a need for the position to be filled. In your honest, selfless, and good desire to fill that need, you agree, only to kick yourself 10 minutes later when the dust settles. You think: What did I just do? I don't have time to organize meetings and print flyers and brainstorm creative fundraisers, I can barely organize my shoes in the closet! Trust me, I've been in situations like this one. And although our desires to help are not to be shunned, it's imperative that we are constantly aware of what is required of us from our main priorities. Everything else must fall under those.

Mercy. Finding balance is a lifelong search, isn't it, friends? Just as soon as we have the wheels turning smoothly, a wrench is thrown in, we're thrown off course, and we are forced to recover. That's why it is vital that we have mercy on ourselves. Achieving a balanced life is hard stinking work, and it's not for the faint of heart. But you are not faint of heart. You are bold and brave and willing. That is half the battle. The desire for a balanced life is what will fuel us to constantly seek to strike that balance. Because the more balanced our life, the more we are able to give of ourselves to those whom we love. The more balanced our life, the more we are able to become the person we were created to be. The more balanced our life, the more we are able to glorify God by being dedicated to the most important roles to which He has appointed us. The more balanced our life, the happier we are. But we must have mercy on ourselves, because the Lord has mercy on us in our efforts. If we're not patient with ourselves we will drive ourselves and everyone else up the wall. Mercy breeds patience, and patience breeds results. We will get there, I just know it. Until then, let's walk arm in arm, encouraging one another along the way and reminding one another why we are doing this in the first place. And let's not ask one another to head up the PTO {wink}.


  1. Wonderful wonderful post. I really loved what you said about how just because we have been given the gift of being able to multitask doesn't mean we need to multitask *everything*. I can't wait to spend some time reevaluating my priorities during this time in life and remembering them as I go about my day to day.

    1. Amen, sister. I'm right there with you. I constantly have to remind myself of this, too :)

  2. Thank you so much for having me, sweet friend!

  3. Mmm- "If we don't take time to pray with our family, to spend quality time with our spouse, to learn about our children, and to have fun with them at the park, then our actions aren't reflecting our priorities."-- Convicting line, my friend! I'll be chewing on that one for a while!

  4. Love how you end this note on mercy. So important!! But I have to push back on the first part, about multi-tasking. I actually don't think it's a gift that God gave. I research a lot about work/life balance for my job, and the latest neuroscience shows that we actually cannot multi-task. We think we can, but we're actually doing all the things more poorly and with less attentiveness. Our brains and bodies were in fact designed to do only one thing at a time. Which has changed my mind (pun intended, ha) on this whole question of multi-tasking, because it seems that God is in fact creating and inviting us to focus on one thing at a time, each as it comes. Once I started learning more about this, I realized that every time I started to multi-task, my brain and/or body started to feel frazzled and frantic. Yes, there are a zillion things to do, and yes, as mothers we are called to hold so much in our minds and hearts for our families. But the truth is that we can only do one thing in each moment. So accepting that has brought me much more peace than any sense of balance. If that makes sense?