Finding balance – this is a topic that I have to continually revisit in my life. I tend to get single focused and do well in one area of my life but at the expense of another area.
To aim for balance recognises that I have many responsibilities, many different ‘hats’ to work on at the same time. I believe for us to be managing our family well we need to find a balance between all the aspects of our life; my personal life, my family life, my social life, my work life, my community life etc. Here are some of the things that have helped me, or some of the principles that I continue to reflect upon.
Seeing my day in three parts
I read about this idea in Making Room for Life by Randy Frazee. Basing his ideas on how he sees the Jewish people traditionally managing their days he set forth the idea that we break our day into three main parts: Relationship, Rest, Work.
Whether you start your day (in your thinking) the night before, like the Jewish people do, or whether you start at sunrise – we go through the same patterns. We wake up and start our work, then at the end of the day we spend time with our family and friends – relationship time, then we go to bed – rest.
Though that is a very simplistic way of dividing our 24 hours – the idea has helped me manage some of my commitments. I need to have time to work – to strengthen relationships – and to rest. All three are important, all three need to happen.
Let some expectations go
As I look back over the years – the busy years of young children and all that happens in family life I am aware that I have let certain expectations go. It’s not that we are sloppy and live in a mess, but I choose what I spend my energies on: cooking becomes simple, the windows get cleaned monthly not weekly, I have an ironing pile and iron when I need it, I go to bed every so often with dishes in the sink.
If I were to hold to my ideal homemaking regimes I would not have time to be with my children or other people as housework would take all my time. Expectations need to be realistic and suitable for the season of life we are in.
Seasons of life
What is right for me to do now, wasn’t right for me to do 10 years ago. We have different seasons in our life, and with those seasons come specific priorities. We need to know what our priority is for where we are at right now.
We need to find contentment in what is important for today, and yet know that our today isn’t forever – life does change and we will move into different seasons with different priorities and opportunities.
Saying yes means saying no
We all have 24 hours to our day – so it matters how we use that time; what we say yes to and what we say no to. One of the pithy sayings that help me is “When you say yes to one thing, it means saying no to something else.”
When we take on commitments we need to ask ourselves, what am I giving up for this to happen? What would I be doing if I wasn’t doing this? What will be the consequence if I do this? And then we need to be honest and courageous and go with the priority.
Living by my Priorities
A quote on The Rebelution facebook page gives us something to think about:
Priorities move other things around.
What do you make time for?
Does it match what you claim is important to you?
Do you know what your priorities are?
Do you make decisions, daily decisions, based on those priorities?
- Living by our priorities means that we need to learn to say no. We cannot have balance if we say yes all the time – balance means sometimes ‘yes’ sometimes ‘no’.
- Living by our priorities means that we have to think before we take on something new, we even have to think about what we are already doing and make sure we are consistent with what we say our priorities are.
- Living by our priorities requires faith – trusting and believing that God is in control, that He will make a way for you.
Life with no Balance
When life is out of balance we shake all over the place; we are inconsistent, distracted, sluggish and unresponsive. Much like our cars – we need a wheel alignment!
- Have a time of assessment – where we talk to God and our spouse about our priorities
- Have a good honest look at all our time commitments
- Decide which ones line up with what we know is important
- Decide how you are going to pull out of the ones that you shouldn’t be involved in.
- Support each other in that process of letting go
We need to function in that sweet spot – knowing that we are doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. When we have that deep in our heart, we can let other opportunities, other adventures, other ideas pass us by – knowing that we can’t have it all, and being content in that
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