How to Keep a Balanced Life

I got to spend some time with wonderful women from Hope Metro Church last night, and one of them asked me this question:

How do you manage to keep the balance between ministry and family?

 

My brain immediately tried to come up with brilliant tricks and ideas on how to ensure balance. But before I can even give my brain a chance to process and give me at least one good trick, I quickly gave this answer:  By NOT even trying to keep the balance. 

What I mean by this is that the sooner we realize that there will really be times that some areas of our lives will demand more of us and more from us, the sooner we will be able to live our lives more efficiently, and more productively. All too often, we (I’m talking especially to the women here) love multitasking and the nice part is, we can actually get away with it. We were naturally wired with the ability to take on many different roles all at the same time. That’s a quality that I dare say is unique to women in general (meaning, there are exceptions). I say it is a unique God-given quality, but that does not automatically imply that it is a strength we possess. If I may say so, it can be true that the very thing that enables us to do so many things at any given time can also be the one thing that holds us back from really accomplishing things that matter (or from keeping our sanity and joy! hehe).

As wives, moms, and women in ministry (take note: by ministry I am not simply referring to the church. It may be that your ministry is right where God has called you in the workplace)— we have to know what it is that God calls us to focus on in any given season. I know most of us here are women who are passionate about all the roles and responsibilities that have been put on our plate, which is a very good thing. But because of this too, we are inclined to just say yes to everything. If you are here, and you also wonder how in the world can you manage to keep your life balanced, here are a few things to think about before you start saying yes to all those invites and requests:

1. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

There will be a lot of times that you are perfectly capable of carrying out whatever is asked of you. But that does not mean that you are the person who should do it.

2. Consider the need, but don’t make it the sole basis of your decision.

There will always be a need. Someone else will need to talk with you. Something else will need you attention. You will need to help out in this area and that concern. There will always be a need. However, you will not always be the answer that God would send to fill that need.

3. At the onset, make decisions based on what is important to you, not based on what is urgent.

The needs of our work/ministry are tricky. They will always scream “Urgent!”. They will always tell us “If you don’t attend to me now, hundreds of people will know and feel the effect!“; “Do it NOW, or else, the sunday service will suffer!”. 

On the other hand, the needs of our family will not always scream that loud. The effects of our decisions may not really be that immediate. Sometimes it can even take years before we notice any difference. The needs of our family often seem to be able to wait. Wait just one more nightWait just this once. Wait just for now….. The irony of this is the most important things in our lives do not really appear that way until such time that they start screaming urgent. We don’t want to wait until that happens. By then, it might be too late.

4. Know where you are indispensable. (Hint: it’s NOT in all things or in all areas of responsibility)

When it comes to our ministry, we are not indispensable. No matter how talented  and skilled we are, we are not the only ones that God can and will use to fulfill His purposes. Of course, we have a part to play, and we should remain faithful where and when He calls us. But between ministry/work and family, there should be no question there.

When it comes to our family— when it comes to being a wife and a mom, we are indispensable. These are roles we dare not delegate, even if we sometimes feel we are not skilled enough.

5. Understand that everything has its opportune time.

….And the opportune time will always be for your growth in God and for the growth of every member of your family.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

If God has placed something in our hearts to do, He will be the one to provide the time (and resources) for us to do it. But never at the expense of our relationship with Him, nor that of our family.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

As we stop trying to put everything on our plates and trying to keep it all from falling apart, and as we start to just bite off only what we can chew, the more we can savor and take in whatever it is that God wants to tell and teach us at any given season. And the more we learn from Him, the more fruitful we get.