Making It All Work (Without Losing Your Mind Or Your Family
One of my favorite things about being a female is the ability to balance and multitask several different things at once. It's part of our God given design as women and one of our biggest strengths. However, sometimes our greatest strength can become our biggest weakness if we don't keep it in check and maintain a supernatural level of focus. It's my belief that God wired us to be doers. Not in a performance based or salvation through works mentality but doers who are motivated by love to live life to the fullest! When we do this, we bring life and love to those around us.
So it goes without saying that one of the questions I get asked the most is "How do you make it all work?" and "How do I keep my life in a healthy balance?". I can tell you I've learned the hard way just how important maintaining balance and priority in life is. For a long time my life and my priorities were totally out of whack. My identity was wrapped up in achievement and performance and I had zero joy. My marriage was suffering and so was my relationship with God. It was a miserable way to live. God never meant for us to live a life of striving and wandering. Jesus models a life of intentionality and if you read the gospels you will find he was the most deliberate person on the planet. We are called to imitate him and to be like him. When we simplify our lives down to that very basic principle we begin to understand our true purpose. But don't let it overwhelm you! It's why he gave us the Holy Spirit to empower and lead us and with HIM all things are possible. ALL.
Through a very tough two year process God humbled me and showed me some truths about life. He sent incredible mentors and teachings my way and gave me permission to rest in HIM alone. Today, I'm going to outline seven of these truths to you. I would encourage you to read through them and then go grab your journal, your bible, and pen and then go quiet yourself before the Lord. Ask him to show you the answers and lead you to where you are supposed to go. Then GO THERE.
1. Know YOUR assignment.
Some women are called to be full time stay at home moms and homemakers. Others are doctors and lawyers and business owners. Each of us is put in a place for a very specific assignment and reason in life and it's important for you to embrace your place there. Let go of any religious spirit that tells you just because you have children you are supposed to give up your god given passions or career. The Proverbs 31 woman was a business owner and investor PLUS she managed a home and her help. And guess what? She was PRAISED at the end of the day by her husband and her children. I think it's ridiculous to force women to choose or judge them for not being at home full time and vice versa. There is nothing that makes a woman more holy just because she homeschools, bakes organic cookies and irons everyone's clothes. What matters is your attitude and what you are modeling for your family in whatever capacity that may be. What has God called and told YOU to do? Go do it and do it with excellence.
2. Know YOUR season of life.
There is a time for everything under the sun. Don't compare your season of life with someone else who is in a completely different place than you. Also, don't give up on dreams either. If their God given, they will come to fruition in due time. For example, don't get stressed because you can only go to the gym three days a week and your friend with no children can go five. Work with the time you have and be fully present in THIS season. Ask God, "Right now, in this season, what are you trying to teach me and who are you making me? *In different seasons things are not always going to be perfect or stress free. Some situations you just have to make work for a time but know that this is not the norm and won't be that way forever. Don't lose hope.
3. Prioritize and Establish Boundaries
I realize that this one could be an entire blog post all together so I will sum it up by saying if you haven't read the book Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend go right now to Amazon and buy it. If you want to keep your life in balance you are going to have to learn how to say NO and how to say YES in line with number 1 and number 2. What's important to you? What are your non-negotiables? What people, places and things need to go in order to allow you to run more efficiently? You may even have to let go of some good things as well. Busyness in everything leads to burnout and frustration. Just because it's a good thing doesn't necessarily make it a God thing. Again, refer to #1 and #2 and ask yourself if the current activity is helping, hindering or is really important to where you need to be. If it's not adding value to your purpose then it's time to cut the cord. Let it go.
4. Find A System and Discipline Yourself To Stick to It.
Whether it's your iPhone calendar, trusty planner or white board family schedule find something that fits you and DO IT. I'm old school so I like to physically write things down. I use a time blocking technique and fill out everything in my planner on Sundays for the following week. I also keep a to do list for each day and prioritize it. I do the hardest thing first and ONLY when that's completed do I move on to the next task. Keep it to three things per day and build from there. Tip: Give yourself a reward like a 30 minute nap or quiet time in your favorite place. Living this way is a discipline but I promise it will change your life. God gave YOU the day to steward and to use wisely. Therefore, we must all answer as to how we chose to manage our time on earth. Let that be your motivation.
5. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!!!
Don't tell me you can't afford it. Figure it out. You have to have help. Babysitter, house cleaner, assistant, etc. Look at what's draining you and hire some one to help you! There are so many people that need employment! You could even barter services if absolutely necessary,. Please don't believe the lie that you have to do everything yourself or it won't get done correctly. Slow down in order to speed up. Teach people how to do what you do and then go do the things you love and are really good at, Look where you are the most needed and go there. Delegate the rest.
6. Ask and Understand What Really Matters To Your Family.
Learn the love languages of those around you. This will give you so much freedom and allow you to delegate as well. For example, your child may could care less who took him to football practice or not but really wants you to listen later about how his day went. Or your husband could care less if all the laundry is done but instead wants you to have the energy to go for a walk with him. See what I mean? Hire somebody to to take your son to football practice and do the laundry and YOU be there for them emotionally. Be there to listen and make them feel loved. Everyone's family is different so find out what REALLY matters to them and adjust.
7. Work Hard, Play Harder, Rest Well
Be fully present wherever you are. This is a discipline just like anything else. Do your work with excellence. Play like a child and rest well. Go to sleep at a decent hour knowing you did your best for the day. If you didn't, rest well knowing that tomorrow is yet another day to be excellent. God's grace will empower you to do things you never thought you could. It's a joy to work and a gift to play. Rest in a necessity. You can't really live a full life without learning how these three effect everything. All three nourish your soul and are vital to getting results and living the life you were born for.
Alright, go grab your stuff and get alone with God. It's time to get things done!
In HIS strength,Lindsey Nadler