Do you ever feel like you’re winning in one role, only to be losing in another? In a few short months, I gave birth to my first child, moved to a new city, and started a new job. As a box-checking achiever, I believed I could do one better, so why not add another top stressor—a flare-up of my autoimmune disease.
At the time, I believed I could manage all these things and more in perfect balance, with 100% excellence. I may have been slightly delusional. Two sleep-deprived months in, I started to feel the strain. Where was this work-life balance thing I had heard so much about?
What if we’re asking the wrong question? Is true balance even possible?
In Luke 10:41-42 NLT, Jesus told Martha, another box-checking achiever, “… you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. …”
Based on this statement, life is not meant to be in balance. Rather, one thing is always supposed to outweigh the others: our relationship with God.
It’s easy to get consumed by schedules, deadlines, and to-do lists. We allow busyness to replace time spent with God. Two things helped me learn to keep my focus on the one thing when everything around me felt out of balance.
- Replace. Research has shown multi-tasking (shifting back and forth between tasks) isn’t efficient because each time we do, it costs our brains time to refocus, resulting in lowered productivity. Why, then, do we waste so much of our time and energy trying to juggle too many things, believing we can do them all well? It’s time to replace some of the items on your to-do list. Focus on what you can do, and trust God with the rest. Only I can be a wife to my husband and a mother to my son. In order to have enough time to devote to what God has given only me to do, I say no to some things. Think of it this way: When you say no to spending time doing what someone else can surely do, you replace it with more time doing what only you can do! Say no as often as you need to, and replace it with a yes to your priorities.
- Embrace. We often think of balance as being able to shut off one role or aspect of ourselves so we can focus on another. Jesus didn’t take off his “God hat” when hanging out around the campfire eating a fish fry with the disciples. He was and is God all the time. Rather than trying to turn off an aspect of ourselves, let’s embrace the fact that everything we do or experience will be seen through the lens of who we fully are. A married, working mother of four has a perspective different from that of a single student with no kids. Don’t try to shut out who you are in your season of life—embrace it, and share it with others!
Don’t spend your life chasing the unicorn of work-life balance. Embrace the off-balance life God has called us to! Only one thing really matters—staying connected to Jesus. Maintaining this relationship and connection allows us to live in moment-by-moment obedience. Then, we can be fully present in the most important things God has called us to.