I used to think that achieving balance meant having a quiet (CLEAN) house, using a calm speaking voice all the time, and maintaining an empty schedule. . . And then I had kids!
Think about a day when you were running non-stop and then at the end of the day you ask yourself, “what did I even do today?” After a day like that, I wonder how I can be so busy, and at the same time, so unproductive!
I think achieving and maintaining balance begins with defining your priorities. Take a moment right now while you are reading and see if you can answer the following questions OUT LOUD.
What is important to you today?
What is important to you in this season?
What is going to be important to you at the end of your life?
Taking time to reflect on your priorities is a must for gaining ground toward balance. You don’t have to block off hours of time to be effective. Turning off the radio on your next solo car ride and taking time to think and pray about the day's responsibilities just might do the trick.
In her book, In Over Your Head: Creating Balance and Finding Peace in the Busy, author and speaker Susie Larson states that, “Everyone’s life involves these three components to some degree:
Input (or Nourishment)
Output (or Response [exercise])
Rest (or Replenishment)
When we overemphasize either input or output at the expense of the other, we have imbalance.”
In other words, when our priorities are out of whack, things start breaking down.
I’ve been called a deep-water fish several times. I operate best under stress and pressure. For others, this may be unhealthy. But I thrive on intense, almost impossible challenges. This kind of pressure makes it difficult to know when I’m out of balance, but there are warning signs:
When I stop taking care of my physical health or I start making excuses for my unhealthy choices. When my work gets in the way of consistent movement/exercise, my body starts to ache, I don’t sleep well, and I am more cranky. On the other hand, when I take good care of my health, I can say “no” when I need to, I am able to create space to reflect and be intentional, and I am better able to care for others simply because I have so much more energy. When I think, “I don’t have time to exercise,” I remind myself what years of experience has taught me, “I don’t have time NOT to exercise!” The same reminders apply to cooking and food prep. . .
When I start telling my husband “I’m overwhelmed” on a more-often-than-not basis. I think I’ve spent most of my life overwhelmed with the situations I put myself in. Taking on too much, putting myself last, trying to prove something, and being a people pleaser. . . these are all things I have struggled with for decades. However, God has been working in my life the past few years. And oh, it is good. He is showing me that peace and balance are so much better for my family and me than all of that striving. The journey started with a gentle nudge from God that there is more to life than that. That’s also where our Living Wellness slogan, “You were created for more than mediocre” came from. While I like to live with challenges, I don’t feel it’s ever healthy to feel like I’m constantly drowning.
When I yell at my kids. Yes, let me be honest. I am a very calm and patient person, but my children know how to push every single button and when I’m not grounded, I find myself losing my temper more often than I would like to admit. The balanced me remembers to take a breath and be immensely grateful for the gift of my children-- and then respond in an appropriate manor. When I haven't taken time to fill my own cup, to care for myself, I find myself if moments of regret for being short with my children.
Your warning signs may look different than mine. But I bet you probably know them well. If not, ask a trusted friend, pray, and journal about them.
Imagine what your life would look like in balance. I mean, really think through what it would take to feel fulfilled and living with purpose. Would you journal more? Would you turn the radio off in the car and just be in silence? Would you pray and listen? Would you volunteer your time? Would you refuse the good in order to be open to the best? Would you allow God to show you what balance looks like in this season?
This is one of the first times in my life where I can honestly say I am close to living a balanced life. WOW!!!!!!!!! When I think about it, that stops me in my tracks. If you’re a person who has lived your whole life on a teeter-totter, you may think it’s not possible. Friends, I believe it is possible for you to have balance! Really. I have seen other people go through transformations as well. And, if you are already rockin’ the balance beam, seek out and encourage those around you (maybe offer to babysit for a friend who needs some alone time). I believe we are meant to support and encourage one another in all areas of our lives.
Thoughts for the week:
What are a few of your top priorities?
What areas are you out of balance?
What is one small baby step you could take today to work on balance?
Life sparkles when we are walking in step with how we were created. My prayer is that you would begin to walk, skip, or dance toward the person God created you to be.
Blessings on your journey!
We have the pleasure of learning more about balance from Susie Larson at the upcoming Living Wellness Live show on Sunday, September 16th in Albertville. We would love to see you in the studio audience, but if you can’t be there in person, check out the episode on Facebook or the edited version on Vimeo.
© 2018 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.