Monday, August 6, 2012

The Balancing Act

I recently looked at my calendar when a friend asked me to set up a play date with her before school starts back up again.  Lo and behold, there were not many days to pick from.  I didn't even realize how full my calendar was for August until I took a good look at it.  With doctors' appointments, eye appointments, dentists, school open houses, school shopping, birthdays.... my eyes got real big when I saw how close school is coming and I'm running out of time.  August 21 is going to be the day the earth weighs the least when all the moms jump in the air and yell "First day of school!  Yippeee!"  but I'm not so sure I'll be leaping into the air with the other moms.... well, I'm sure I will, but with a little panic mixed in with it.

With the mark of school starting, it usually means more events, commitments, activities and shrinking time zones.  I feel I need to come up with a game plan for the school year so I can keep myself in check to be sure I don't get overwhelmed with all the things I WANT to do verses NEED to do.  As I read Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer over the weekend, she explains the balancing act like clear, glass boxes.
Some of us may have lots of boxes and others just a few. 
Imagine having several clear boxes sitting in front of you, filled with pretty blue water.  Each box is filled with the exact same amount of water, signifying various activities of your life.  Our tendency is to attempt to keep them that way, equally filled with identical amounts of ourselves and our efforts.  Balance, right?  This is what we think balance looks like but in fact, it's what life looks like out of balance.  Realistically, balance in life doesn't mean putting everything we've got into each activity of our life all the time.  We'd plummet into failure if we did that.  There's no way one can put 100% of themselves into home life, 100% into work life and 100% into family life, etc.  

How do we achieve balance, then?
First step is to pray about God's priorities for us, in this season of life, then rearrange the boxes accordingly.  You may have to push some boxes to the back, bringing others to the front and perhaps emptying some of the boxes and dumping more water into others.  In those primary boxes where most of the water is dumped into are the boxes we put the best of ourselves and our efforts.  Does that mean the other boxes aren't important anymore?  Certainly not!  It just means that we don't need to be allocating the best of ourselves in those particular boxes for the time being.
"Balance is not when the boxes are equally filled but when we are free to fill only those that are important for now, without feeling guilt over the ones that we've left for another time and place."
So each box(es) can take turns, as God sees fit.  Whatever moment you're living in will cue you toward the responsibilities that are inherent for you in this time and space.  This gives you permission to say no to certain things that are not really yours to carry right now.  In doing so, you'll find that every yes comes with a lot more freedom and fulfillment.  I have to always remind myself that whatever I think I may want, isn't necessarily want God wants for me at this time and I have to pray for wisdom to know the difference.

What boxes do you need to push to the front or to the back?  Which one(s) need(s) to be filled more than the others?  

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

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