During the Fall of 2014, I had a wake-up call. I went to my annual physical and had a long conversation with my doctor about how I'd been having periods of anxiety. Waking up in a panic, lack of sleep, chest pains, and inability to concentrate. We discussed my stress level and overall lifestyle. Without holding back, my doctor gave it to me straight (which is why I love her). She said I had to get a hold of my life, get rid of some of the things on my plate, and find time for myself or I would be in big trouble. She suggested prescription meds, but felt that I could manage some of my symptoms if I changed my habits. Since medication isn't my first choice, I decided it was time to make some changes.
I'm one of those people who have a hard time saying "No". I like helping others and doing good things, sometimes at my own expense (physically and financially). I realized my plate was overflowing and if I didn't make some serious changes, I would be risking not only my health, but my sanity.
I've been reading The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
by Lysa TerKeurst and in it she talks about saying "Yes" to yourself, to your family and to God. I am still reading, praying about it, and reading passages again. This book has been such a life-saver to me. I realized while reading her book that my family was getting my leftovers. My husband and kids were getting whatever I had left after working, laundry, writing, volunteering, etc. Basically, they were getting nothing or a cranky, crazy, and tired mom and wife. I knew something had to change.
For seven years I ran an after-school program at our church with my friend, April. We started with 12 kids and saw up to 54 kids at one time. It was wonderful and stressful, time-consuming and exhilarating, exhausting and exciting. But, it was getting harder and harder for me to find time to plan out lessons and activities for each of the approximately 21 times we met during the school year. Plus, finding volunteers to commit was getting more difficult as well. In December, after much prayer and discussion, we ended this program. I just added hours to my week.
I have been leading story-time at our library for several years. It is just once a month, but also takes time planning out the story, craft, and songs. Lately, only one child has been coming. Since I have also been subbing at the school more, it has been harder for me to attend. I am giving this up. I just added hours to my month.
For ten years I have been writing the newsletter for our local Senior Dining site. It gives them publicity for their program and promotes all the good things they are doing. Even though I could do this during my own time, at any hour, I was finding it hard to keep up and was falling behind, which added to my stress. I gave this up in December. I just added hours to my week.
As you can see, I am finding ways to balance my life. Finding things I can give up, so I can enjoy what is right in front of me...mainly my husband and children.
Our life has changed now that we have a high school student in the house....a very active high school student. Most weeks include sporting and music events to attend. We also have two other active children in music and sporting events. Add in all their activities, my own commitments, our jobs, and my husband's schedule and we have a pretty packed calendar. I found I was falling extremely behind on my household duties and my commitments to others. I needed to find a way to balance it all out.
If you haven't guessed yet, my ONE WORD for 2015 is..................................................
I need to find a way to balance it all. Life isn't going to get less hectic. I'll have all three kids playing basketball every week now. Show Choir season has begun for two of our kids. Subbing dates are filling up my calendar. There is always going to be something going on.
I know that many women can relate to my life, the commitments that find their way into our schedules, that overwhelming feeling, and the anxiety. I haven't given up every volunteer obligation, but I feel like I have a better balance of things on my plate. Each of us need to take stock of our life, our schedule, and our family obligations and decide what is best. Giving up something may not be what's right for you, but it was for me.
Balance: a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance (i.word.com)
Finding ways to balance what I NEED to do with what I WANT to do. You have to work fun and enjoyment into your day. A life full of work, chores and deadlines is no fun. A life of solid fun means important things don't get done. Life is all about balance, finding happiness between too much and not enough, and when to hold on or let go.
I found some Bible passages that also talk about a balanced life.
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying your instructions. Psalm 119:109 NLT
There are constantly going to be distractions, things that will push me off track, set my life off-kilter. But, God is there, if I am willing to listen, to keep me on track and in balance.
For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you
into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God's will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
I love the same verse from Romans 12:1-2 in The Message version:
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life -
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life -
and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You'll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you,
always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
We have the power to make the choices in our life. God doesn't want us to be timid, taking on too much to please others, not having self-discipline to maintain balance in our own lives. He expects us to handle our lives with love and care and keep everything in balance.
Some of the areas I plan to create Balance in my life:
Reading only books for a review requirement makes reading more tedious and less for enjoyment. Working in books that I have been wanting to read helps me get books off my shelf and allows more relaxation while reading.
Making time to plan and making a plan for time. I am a planner and list-maker. I can't keep everything straight just by remembering to do it, so I find making lists help me stay on track as well as gives me the enjoyment of crossing items off my list. It doesn't do any good to make lists if you aren't going to do the things on the list. Balancing my lists so they aren't so overwhelming and leaving room for fun and accomplishment is important.
Finding time to plan and cook meals that are healthy and filling for my kids versus finding the quickest and unfulfilling meals because they take less work. Yes, there are going to be frozen pizza or chicken nugget nights, but I hope that meals made with love, those that simmered in the crock pot or baked in the oven will fill our bellies more often.
Social media is fun and a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, interact with other readers and bloggers, and stay connected to the world. But, it can be all-consuming and can easily eat up an afternoon or evening. I want to balance my down time with less online activities and more family interaction.
In order for me to feel my best psychologically, I have to also feel my best physically. I tend to go in streaks when it comes to taking care of my physical fitness needs. I need to make this a regular habit, but find a way that it doesn't become overwhelming and is still enjoyable and attainable.
|source - quotesfrenzy.com|
I love this photo and quote above. I can't think of a better word to focus on this year. My life certainly needs some balance and I am hoping that balancing my life, will hopefully reflect on others. No one can balance the scales of life perfectly, but there is a way to stay in control without falling off the beams and I hope to find it.