Women play so many different roles in the course of a day: at home we are wife, mother, cook, homemaker, and chief bottle washer; at work we are employee as well as employer; at church we are active in ministry (often more than one); we strive to be the dutiful daughter and the available friend, and if there is any spare time, we might consider a bit of self-care.
I am exhausted just thinking about it.
So how do we find balance in the midst of all this activity?
Merriam-Webster defines balanced as being in harmonious arrangement. Really? Often my life seems at odds rather than in agreement, even though I have consulted countless books on time-management.
One suggestion I tried was to develop my perfect “ordinary” day. I thought if I intentionally focused on creating a balanced life, I could somehow manufacture its existence.
I meticulously planned each hour with the hope of achieving peace and productivity. Multi-tasking was the keyword; I reasoned if I combined activities for greater efficiency, I could do it all.
I was wrong.
I soon discovered doing it all and having it all are the antithesis of harmony; this logic only leads to overwhelming stress and feelings of not being good enough.
Even the best organizational efforts cannot account for daily emergencies outside our control. Soon the tyranny of the urgent began to dictate my schedule, which meant life’s priorities such as maintaining quality relationships and self-care were often neglected.
Eventually I learned the calendar was not going to give me the peace I desired. Only God could fulfill that need.
This required I put aside others’ expectations and instead accept myself as the person God created. I needed to take an honest assessment of my core values and beliefs and learn to live my authentic life.
Unfortunately, this required I release a few strongholds, like perfectionism. I learned the homemade meal was not as important as sharing time with one another around the kitchen table; I accepted my daily walk was far more valuable than a showcase home; I traded in the accolades of “I don’t know how she does it all” for a sense of peace at the end of the day.
I also had to learn to say, “No,” which came with the risk of disappointing others.
While I know all ministry is important, I realized I did not have to do it all myself. By focusing on my core values and spiritual gifts, I could say, “Yes” to the few that clearly resonated with me, and feel free to say, “No” to others.
This not only eliminated stress and resentment in my life, but it allowed someone else the opportunity to serve.
Philippians 4:13 says: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
This does not mean I must do all things, but rather, all things God calls me to do. By discerning the things that fit my core values, spiritual strengths, and authentic self, God will give me the strength, time and patience to complete them.
His way is the only way to achieve a balanced, harmonious life.
©2015 Molly Totoro
Molly Totoro is a writer and a recently retired English teacher who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share” and is currently establishing a ministry, Milestone Memoirs, where she helps others discover and write their stories to impact future generations. Molly shares the importance of leaving a legacy at Stepping Stones Publications, and she frequently blogs at My Cozy Book Nook.
Image attributed to Flaticon.