Recently, I was asked about finding balance in my life. I’m a wife, mother, household manager, employee and minister just to name a few roles. Someone asked how did I do it? I reluctantly admitted that I hadn’t found balance. It was difficult to admit that at any given time, I feel like I’m failing in one particular area. If I’m spending a fair amount of quality time with my family, I’m working out and I’m dialed in at work, odds are my house is a complete mess.
For years I’ve beat myself up about this. Why can’t I get every area in my life under control at once? I was sure that other working mothers/wives had to know something I didn’t. During a particularly busy weekend that would leave me with little time to “straighten” my house, I talked to God about everything on my plate and how I felt like I was dropping the ball in certain areas.
I heard God say something I never imagined I’d ever hear Him say. He told me to put myself first. He said, “Take care of Mary!” It was as if He knew I’d need reassuring, so He said, “All this time you’ve been thinking of yourself as one of the balls. You’re not a ball. You’re the juggler. If you drop, all the balls drop.”
What an awakening! For years I’d thought it was okay, to let myself go, let my needs go lacking while I took care of everyone else. That’s true humility, right? Wrong! It’s a sure fire way to find yourself completely burned out. Quite honestly, when I heard this word from God, that’s where I was. I was in a dry season, burned out. I was fulfilling my family, work and ministry obligations out of a sense of duty and not from a place of joy! I was trying to make sure everyone else was okay, when all the while I wasn’t.
What was missing? I was. I was so focused on everyone else, that I’d lost sight of me! I had to learn to make time for Mary. What did that mean? It meant getting up a little earlier to work out or working out after work. It meant stilling away for quiet time with God. It meant making more time to study God’s word for my own personal edification, not to get a message for the masses. It meant taking time plan out healthy food choices, instead of eating what was convenient. It meant, spending quality time with girlfriends instead of making excuses. Sometimes, it meant not attending events on weekends in order to run errands for myself or better yet, to do nothing and catch up on some much needed rest.
What did l learn, when I started making time for Mary? I found that it made me a better wife, mother, minister, employee and friend. I had a new found energy and focus. We can’t pour into others on empty. Take the time to refuel yourself. Get recharged. Do what you need to do to take care of you, so you have the strength to take care of those who are important to you. When you begin this process, everyone won’t understand or appreciate the time you need to take for yourself. I found that most of the people, who had a problem with me taking time to refuel myself, were draining more from my life than they were depositing into it, and eliminating them from my circle freed up even more time!
To all of my friends who are having trouble balancing life, don’t forget to take the time you need to recharge! It will bless your life and the lives of the people you interact with most.