We've all heard it: Find the balance in life. Balance your home, work and family. What!? What are they talking about!? Do they live in this crazy world!? Search Google and you'll find list after list after list of how to organize your day, your life, your routine, your house, etc. but do we ever truly reach a balance? Do these tips work? Do the free printable from Pinterest create that moment to breathe? I think we can both admit that they don't. No business person or mother I've ever spoken or listened to has ever acknowledged reaching this imaginary place and those very generously given printables only add one more thing to our already very busy to-do list!!!
So what is this balance really? What is the reality?
Well I believe that there is no such thing as a perfect balance. Yup! I'm calling it. Perfect life balance is impossible! We can't control our lives enough to reach it! I think the solution for balance truly lies inside our souls. There can't be a balance of all the areas of our lives if we aren't focusing on the proper things.
First things first, I'm going to boldly say, we need to have a relationship with Christ. If we aren't spending time in prayer and our Bibles, then we are NOT going to have our priorities in line. Our days will be hectic and we'll be exhausted at the end of it with little to nothing to show for all the activity we were doing. When we spend quiet time with God, we are showing that He is a priority in our lives and that we are aware that we can do nothing (and I mean nothing), without Him. He is what makes this entire world go round. He's the reason we wake up each morning and go to sleep every night. He's the reason you are breathing right now! So, to have any kind of inner peace, we need to be soaking up the Living Water and being fed by the Bread of Life.
Second, we need to remember that we are not robots. If we do not allow ourselves to rest (and that means our minds too ladies) then we will be running on empty, screaming at the kids and husband, feeling overwhelmed and getting over emotional. Trust me. I just did this for the last month and a half! It's just not worth it! I felt like I was in fog and I wasn't able to take care of my family or my job the way I needed to. Which made me feel like a failure. Which spiraled me down into a state of yucky mild depression. Some way to spend the summer, right?
What we need to do is purposefully schedule in down time. Whatever form that takes for your family, it needs to happen! Personally, for us, Sundays are the day of rest so we take time off from chores and working and doing stressful things. Even God rested. It's good for us! Play a board game together as a family, run around outside, go for a walk, sit and watch television, get together with friends you haven't seen in awhile, etc. There are so many different ways to rest. Find what works for you and your family and give yourself permission to take it easy.
Third, we need to take time and unplug. This may sound a lot resting because for most of us, unplugging means we stop working since everything is done on our phones these days but there's a good reason for it. When was the last time your kid was at your feet tugging at your shirt, screaming, crying or, in my lucky case, head butting you? I'm going to guess they're either doing it right now, they just did or they're about to (because you're reading this teehee). I'm also going to guess that you were in the middle of something. What was your response? Was it calm? Were you excited to hear what they had to say? Did you look them in the eye?
I'll going to be honest here with you all, I can be pretty quick to feel irritated at my sweet babies that I love with all my heart. When they are "interrupting" me from something I feel is important, I snap, yell, give them the wait-just-a-second sign and basically respond in a way that keeps me up at night feeling that world famous mom-guilt. You know the one that goes a little like this: Sheesh! You couldn't have looked them in the eye, Lauren. They won't be little forever! They are your precious little ones that you would die for and you are brushing them off like a horse brushes off flies! What does that say to them!? Does that really make them feel like you care? That you sincerely love them like you says you do? I highly doubt it...
I sure don't enjoy that feeling at the end of the day...Noe, I sure don't. If I'm going to bed with thoughts like that haunting me then I need to get my face out of my phone. Push all those thoughts cluttering my head to the side. Unplug from all the stuff that's just floating around on that never ending to-do list...and...just...stop...breathe for a second. Look those sweet babies in the eye and take 2 seconds of my time to listen to their story, watch them do that thing they've been trying to show me all day or simply hug them tight. I hope you're one of the blessed few who have mastered the art of unplugging because I know I sure haven't. Relationships are difficult as it is but even more so if we don't purposefully put a lot of effort into them.
One major factor that hurts relationship building are the fact that so many of us have our faces buried in an electronic device. Relationships aren't built by shutting out the physical people in the room with you. They're built when you have quality time together; eye contact, mutual sharing, seeing an expression on another human being's face, feeling their arms around you and having their physical AND mental presence in your life. Did you know that there have been studies done showing how badly people are starving for human relationship that they develop depression even though they are living in a house full of people!? Crazy, right!? There are even businesses that have reported having difficulty hiring college students because interacting with other people face to face is becoming a lost art! The digital age has brought many blessings and opportunities but there are dangers to it too.
You can find tons of great books and scientific studies explaining the benefits of person to person connection in great detail from the mental to the biological. I encourage you to do a little research into the many health benefits of it and the amazing ways it can help in our families and our societies. I won't take any more time on it here but I just want to challenge you; turn the phone off. Do it for just a weekend or even 12 hours. Start somewhere. I promise, it may be painful at first but you will be ok. Get to know your family again by talking with them and asking them questions about themselves. Love on your kids or your pets or your significant other. Watch how it impacts your life.
In closing, there are many more ways to achieve the all mysterious balance in your life but these are my top three I've noticed have the biggest effect on me personally. Purposefully taking time to do Bible study/prayer, rest and unplug will clear your head, help regain daily focus and give you a sense of peace in your soul that cannot be achieved any other way. As I continue to practice these things, I hope you will too and maybe we'll all end up feeling less frazzled and lost together!
What have you done to achieve a sense of balance in your life?
Have you felt the need to unplug? I would love to hear what techniques for unplugging have worked for you!!!
I'd love to hear if you disagree too!
Until next time!