Not long ago, at a local women’s luncheon, the work-life balance topic kept creeping into conversations. Women were feeling stressed and overwhelmed (and some; resentful) about the many roles, responsibilities, and obligations they had to accomplish in their daily work and family life.
Whenever we Christian women speak about our lives being out-of-balance, it’s a good clue that our priorities have shifted off kilter … which further means we’ve likely forgotten the truth and authority of our identities.
I like to think of life balance in terms of a couple of my childhood experiences.
- The time in first grade when I was walking back and forth from one end to the other on a teeter-totter. Until … I lost my balance somewhere in the middle and broke my wrist as I fell by slamming it hard on the iron bar holding the piece of playground equipment in place. (Yes, I broke it – my wrist, not the bar. Do they even make teeter-totters anymore?)
- All the walks I took on the nearby rarely-used railroad tracks challenging myself to stay on the rail—like walking a tight-rope.
In both cases, my balance was related to my focus. Once I took my eyes off the far end of the teeter-totter and onto the kid playing nearby, I fell. And on the tracks? If I focused on the rail as I took each meaningful step—I’d remain balanced. If I looked too far ahead or rushed, I’d slip off.
It’s kind of the same when we seek life balance. Like most too-busy women, what we’ve done is we’ve lost our focus. We’ve let our roles, responsibilities, and activities mimic our identity, rule our days, and rearrange our priorities. Not only does balance slip from our lives but our attitudes, emotions, and joy can come crashing down, too.
So how do you make the teetering, slippery rail of busyness stop? How do you, in your busyness, create more life balance?
You make purposeful and practical changes in two areas. In your
- Definition of life balance
Life Balance Re-defined
In our minds, life balance is usually something we associate with time. You know, the amount of time we have available to get things done for work, our family … and if all works out well—us.
If we can get some valuable ‘me-time’ or vacation time or even meaningful face-time with significant others we usually consider our day to have been fairly balanced and successful. But, we know those days are rare. So here’s a question to consider:
What might happen if you change your definition of life balance to mean Who you spend your time with rather than how much time you have to spend? What if your priority became ongoing face-time with God, looking at, listening to, and intentionally seeking to moment-by-moment be attentive to his Presence?
Purpose Step 1
What would it look like to define your days by Who you spend your time with rather than how much time you have to accomplish your tasks? What about your thoughts and priorities will need to change if you actually spend your day realizing you are working alongside Jesus? Take your time on this and be specific!
Life Balance Is A Choice
Can you think of a time in scripture where Jesus was in a hurry? When he went hustling out the door to get somewhere on time? Even when the crowds were pressing in on him, does scripture indicate Jesus ran from them when he left?
No. We see Jesus, a one-of-a-kind teacher ever walking, sitting or kneeling on his way to accomplish his unique purpose—death on a cross. As a human, like us, he didn’t always know what his schedule or his interruptions would be; where God would lead him to stop and serve along the way; what would be said or done.
But, it didn’t matter. At the end of each day, he chose to lay his head on a rock, borrowed mat or plank of a boat with no complaint about how everyone wanted a piece of him or that he had no more time—no more of himself to give away.
We don’t read about Jesus rushing around, hurried, pressed for time or worried about his daily activity, responsibilities or plans because he chose a different way.
Jesus chose not to define his life by what he accomplished in a day even though it mattered significantly to all of us. Instead, Jesus made the choice to define his life by his identity and relationship with his Father—the one by Whom he accomplished everything with.
I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing.
For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.
It’s clear Jesus and his Father, our Father, hung out together. Not just in the morning—although we know Jesus spent time with God before the sun came up. (Mark 1:35) All day long, day after day, he walked those long, dusty roads not only with his disciples but also with God.
Jesus chose. He chose to focus on being with his Father, his relationship with his Father, and following his Father’s lead so he would know how and where to spend his time.
His life was not spent scurrying here and there as part of a busy routine. It didn’t come by conceding to tasks in an effort to make everyone happy along the way. Nor did he find balance by seeking validation from a calendar full of activities unrelated to his purpose. He knew his identity as his Father’s beloved son. And he was faithful to look and listen to God’s leading.
Jesus’ balance was found in choosing his focus to be God.
You and I can do the same.
Purpose Step 2
Look at your calendar or to-do list. What have you chosen (for you and your family/business/ministry) to spend time doing that may not be God’s will for you or them? What is not related to your purpose? Will you choose to focus on and be with God throughout your day and then do only what he shows you?
I invite you to share your inspirations, answers or comments below so we can all learn and grow!
If you don’t know God’s unique purpose for your life it can be a challenge to follow through making changes that help create more peace – more life balance in your days. If you have questions about how to know your God-designed purpose contact me here. I’d love to chat with you!
Listen To Your HeartSong