Balance. It’s so elusive in my life. So this past weekend, as I pondered and prayed about what might be my word of the year, the word BALANCE kept coming to mind. I looked up the word, and the noun form of balance has seven definitions. I decided that two of the meanings specifically applied to what God has put on my heart as a focus for this year.
I meditated over the reason balance is so hard to maintain on a daily basis. I certainly haven’t figured it all out… that will take time (perhaps the whole year). But what I do know is this. It has to do with hyper focusing on pleasing others. Worrying about not disappointing others. Trying to live up to the perfection I deem as important and critical. Focusing on the immediate and the urgent rather than the big picture of what I want for my life.
The balance I seek involves four major areas of my life: my time with God, my family, my health (nutrition, fitness, wellness) and my work. On any given day in the life of Andrea, one or more of these priorities are out of whack. Here’s how I’m going to change that and seek balance in 2015:
1. Seek God first.
I know that without spending time on my first life priority, the other three are impossible. I know this deep in my heart. So why do I skimp on my time with God when I get busy? When God is first, everything else falls into place. I’ve seen this happen MANY times in my life. Putting God first means spending time in his word daily. Praying throughout the day. Walking in the spirit and not in my own strength. Here’s what Jesus had to say about this:
Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
If I believe God’s promises to be true — and I absolutely do — then this must be my biggest priority each morning when I awake and then all throughout the day. When I start the day in God’s word, I start with peace, priority and balance that carries throughout the rest of the day.
2. Measure my daily priorities against my “big picture” life goals and priorities.
This might mean saying no to a request from a friend, family member or client. I know it means keeping chaos, worry, and focus on the immediate at bay. If I know that, after God, focus on my family is my next priority, then I must make decisions to reflect that fact on a daily basis. I must cast away nagging thoughts and worries to instead be PRESENT in the moment, regardless of which of my four priorities I’m focused on at any given time. I must take time to reach out to my family and communicate on a consistent basis. At the end of the day, getting another blog post done cannot crowd out the time I spend communicating with my husband, kids and other family members. I must remember:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
This means I need not fear accomplishing the important when I take time to put first things first. Because he will give me the strength to accomplish the tasks before me.
3. Nip perfectionism in the bud.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brené Brown says, “Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will they think?’” My attempts to reach perfection in all I do simply comes down to people pleasing. It’s rooted in the unhealthy belief that my value is based on my performance. But in fact, the opposite is true. My value is based on the fact that I’m a child of God, and I don’t have to “earn” it. He created me with all my strengths AND weaknesses to love and glorify him. Here’s what God’s own word says about my weakness:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
God knows my weaknesses, and he tells me that his grace (which I have accepted) is all that I need. It is in my weaknesses that his power is experienced and revealed. He didn’t make me perfect. He didn’t make anyone perfect except his son, Jesus. So in 2015, I’m simply not going to focus on what the world thinks about me and my performance. I can’t if I’m to achieve the balance I know I need.
I’m so excited about the fact that if I do these three things, then I will fulfill the second definition of balance above. I will be an imperfect yet joyful and loving woman who has mental steadiness, emotional stability, habit of calm behavior and judgment. This is my hope for 2015. What is yours?