These 4 Things Have Helped Balance My Life

When I went back to work full time, I was determined to conquer the ever-popular phrase “work-life balance.” I figured I could do it all and do it well! I wanted to juggle all the balls at once with none of them falling. However, after many years of working, God has brought me to a place of realizing that there is no such thing as equally balancing work and life. This truth has brought me freedom and rest.   

“Balance” means: 
1) a state of equilibrium
2) an equal distribution of weight 

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This goal of equilibrium would require the different spheres of our lives to measure up equally so that all our time and effort is balanced. For me, that would mean my home is neat and organized, our family calendar is up to date, priorities are determined and measured, meal plans are on point for the week, workouts are thought out ahead of time, student lesson plans should be prepped and engaging…and the list goes on. Let’s not forget that I should also have some margin planned into my schedule for spontaneous time with my husband, kids, friends, and parents. Whew! There are so many things to “balance” or “equally distribute,” and over the years I’ve learned that it is impossible.

After 11 years of seeking to balance my teaching job, marriage, parenting four kids, church commitments, extended family, friendships, and housekeeping chores, I’ve come to learn that there is no such thing as “balance.” Rather, there are seasons for everything. 

During each season, some balls stay in the air while others come crashing to the ground. I’ve learned that if my house is organized and meals are cooked, then I’m behind on my schoolwork. Or, if my lessons are all planned and I’m on top of my grading, then my bathrooms are filthy and the kids are making eggs for dinner. Not a week goes by where I juggle both well. I have grown to see that balancing a professional life and a personal life calls for fluidity, flexibility, organization, and rest.   

1. Fluidity

I often over-manage my kids’ lives. Rather than letting go and letting them figure it out for themselves, I try to take control. This adds to my plate in unnecessary ways. I am learning to embrace the fluidity that four young adults, ages 16-21, bring.  Their plans change constantly, or they aren’t made until 5 minutes before they happen. Maybe they forget to make their lunch, they need a last-minute ride, or they want someone to hang out and talk. Of course, all of this happens at the most “inconvenient” times for me. I have learned that I can’t plan for any of this, so I must allow and embrace the fluidity that our life brings.

Balancing a professional life and a personal life calls for fluidity, flexibility, organization, and rest.

2. Flexibility

Embracing fluidity means I must be flexible. I have to be flexible with others when something happens outside of my plan. I also must be flexible with myself when I don’t reach the list of expectations that I have set for myself. I am learning to embrace grace over guilt. While it’s helpful to have a plan and a list, it’s important to give ourselves grace when it doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. Rather than balancing it all perfectly, maybe God is trying to teach us to lean on Him more each day. 

3. Organization

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Taking inventory of my physical, emotional, and spiritual health greatly attributes to how organized I am. It has become so important for me to make time to reflect on how I am in each of these areas to see if one might be trumping another. God often uses this exercise to reset and refocus me, leading to inner peace.   

Practically, it’s important to remember that other people’s everyday organizing systems may not work for you. Figuring out what is realistic for you and your family is the most important thing. For example, I have a paper planner that I use for our personal family calendar. We also have a wall calendar hanging in our kitchen that is color coded with the kids’ activities. I also use my phone calendar. I use it for work and for scheduling games and social events. Lastly, I have a school plan book for school commitments and lesson plans. So, yes, I have four calendars. It may not be a good idea for you, but it works for me. 

When we organize our time, we must stop and pay attention to what God is saying and where He is directing us that day. If one of my kids is celebrating or struggling, they get more of me that day than work does. However, if I am overloaded at school, then work gets more time than home. It’s not a balance; it’s a season. The time is unevenly distributed, and it is okay. 

4. Rest.

Often, I am my own worst enemy. I leave no margin, filling every minute of my day, which leaves me exhausted. But God purposefully created us, and He designed our bodies with a need to stop and rest. Specifically, one day a week on the Sabbath, he wants us to stop striving, and to trust that he’s got it all under control.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT). For me, it is harder to stop than it is to keep working. Thankfully, our God is kind, and he knows what we need. We see this in Mark 2:27 where Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” He created this special day for us! He wants us to be intentional about resting because it’s good for us.
We will always have work to do, so we must train ourselves to stop. In our resting, God brings perspective. He tells his disciples, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6: 34). Spending time with God by studying his Word, talking to him, and worshipping with other believers are all ways we can find deep soul rest.   

Our work will never end, it will always be there. There is always more we can do. But in the rest, we gain perspective.

So, work-life balance?

Work-life “balance?” I have not achieved it, and I don’t think I ever will. But I feel free from thinking that I should, and I want the same for you. We all want to feel like we are doing everything the best that we can. But in the midst of our pursuit, are we leaning on the One who gave us the work and the life? Or are we trying to accomplish it all on our own? Our God is the only consistent part of the equation. Every other piece changes. Every other ball drops, and he is the only one there to catch it. 

True Beauty is Found in a Woman’s Strength PINFor more tips on living as a strong woman of grit and grace, start here:

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