This past week, I started pondering why my 2016 hasn’t gotten off to the start I hoped. As friends share their new resolve and goals attained, I’ve become more discouraged. Yet through that discouragement, I’m slowly coming to terms with some personal areas of my life I need to focus on for this year (month, week, ok, let’s just start with the day to day.)
I’m an all or nothing kind of person and when I’m in the “All in” phase, it’s wonderful and inspiring, but the nothing aspect isn’t acceptable. I’ve written about balance a lot on my blog, obviously since it’s a focus and when I searched my archives, this post from years ago, popped up. I needed to read it as I work through kick starting 2016.
Isn’t it something how certain aspects of our lives always tend to be part of who we are? I could have written this yesterday. 🙂
Browsing through a “new to me” yard sale book this past week, the quote, “balance is not a realistic goal for realistic women” caught my eye.
Since “balance” is in my blog title, and something I’m continually contemplating, I sped read through the book’s main premise because to some degree, I agree. A perfectly balanced life isn’t possible. Depending on the season you’re in as a woman, some priorities change and fluctuate; often, things need to give.
The next phrase rendered me silent. It stated, “You will discover how to reorient your life around your own desires and needs rather than around time management tricks.”
REORIENT my life around my desires?
This is where some of us may agree to disagree. We here over and over about our personal desires, but if I prioritize and reorient life around my own desires and always prioritize my needs of that of my family and others around me, my family would probably never eat. Our home would be in a state of continual disaster (more so than it is right now.) and I would never leave my bed.
I’m just stating the truth. Every once in awhile a day like that happens, but I’m pretty sure that those days are called “Mother’s Day, My Birthday, and Selfish Me days.”
In this day and age of the ‘Me First’ mentality, so many books encourage us to have it all. Well, it’s not my season to have it all. Now, don’t get me wrong, wonderful points were made about taking care of ourselves, and making our homes more beautiful, which I always encourage, but prioritizing my continual happiness? As hard as it is to say…
I am not promised happiness, nor is it guaranteed.
But absolute, unending joy found, even in the midst of those difficult times – absolutely!
Years after I penned this post, my friend Sara Frankl died of a disease that left her homebound for over one year. Recently the book Choose Joy came out based on Sara’s life, penned both by Sara and Mary Carver. I can’t believe how much it aligns with my previous words.
She wrote, “This life is not about me and my goals, my wants, my worries. Nothing about my life is about me: it’s about who He needs me to be.
Happiness comes and goes based on emotions, and we all know that a woman’s emotions are up and down with the weather (or time of the month :)), but joy….now, that is a choice.
Joy choices are made in the moment by moment, day by day, incident by incident occurrences that determine how our lives are shaped. And often, with those joy choices, comes happiness. Happiness in the little things.
I’m tangenting onto another topic. Let’s get back to the challenge of finding balance. If my desires are at the forefront of those balancing act decisions, it’s never going to happen. But when I steward those decisions based on choices that I am called to for my family’s journey, the right track sets its course.
Personally, it was a tough week of reality checks for me (yes, in January 2016 too). Much of my margin had been lost in the rat race of life. I had to admit that some really important areas slid, and the only one responsible…me. Plain and simple. How’s that for this Family Manager’s Monday morning looksee in the mirror.
Yet that’s where our attempt at balancing beauty and bedlam begins…evaluating on a regular basis the good, bad and ugly, and embracing them for what they are – life. Real Life! Life lived graciously to the fullest juggled in with lots of imperfections.
There are many steps I need to take to create a more balanced life, yet I will never be a perfectly balanced woman. I’ve tried and it leaves me feeling frustrated, inadequate and “less than…”
But you know what…if I was even close to that perfect woman, then I wouldn’t need Him.
Right now the Lord whispers His affirmation that it’s OK to be “less than” because He is more than enough.
So for today I quickly type these words off the top of my head and heart. Every thing in me knows I shouldn’t hit “publish” because all good bloggers edit, think through and process before publishing their posts. But then, if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to go do my Next Thing…and the Next Thing needs to be done, even if I’d rather be …
Are you feeling out of balance?
Do you care to join me in Just Doing the Next Thing?
Let’s encourage each other along the way.
Well written without the edit. 😉 Oh Jen, I can relate. I gave up being ‘perfect’ a long time ago. Having the house spotless and getting ‘everything’ done all the time. It was just too much! I’d rather let the dust bunnies play under the sofa and enjoy family time. I participated in my children’s lives but caught a line or two from a book/magazine while my son sat on the bench during soccer games. Now, I’m giving my children wings and trying to find that balance in allowing them to become their adult selves while I am gaining more ‘me’ time. I wouldn’t have traded a moment over the years! Every day is a lesson. I’m so glad to still be learning something new by the grace of God.
I have to agree. When I started this blogging thing and started pursuing design as extra income….I realized that it is delusional to tell ourselves that we can have it all, get it all done and still have quality time with their families. It is not possible. It is barely possible for a mom who has herself and her children home all day…Oh yay! Conviction. God give us wisdom. I have a widget on my sidebar that another blogger made. It states,”Husband, home and children were not neglected during the writing of the post.” It holds me accountable and keeps my blog-happy brain where it needs to be.
Amen! If I ordered my life around what *I* want, we’d have no money b/c I’d shop it all away. 😉
It is posts like this that keep me reading. (I like all the other stuff too!)
“Me first” is such a deception of how to find true joy. Real joy comes from losing ourselves in service to others. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, but we don’t need to indulge our every want and desire. One of my favorite quotes is, “Choices should be made on principles…not feelings. Feelings come and go, principles stand the test of time.”
I love love love this post!! Sometimes the Spirit is moving us to type faster than we can think sometimes (note my own rambling post today…)! 🙂 I love that you write what is on your heart. And I agree that balance isn’t possible when we try to “do it all”. I have already decided to cut back on my volunteer commitments for next year. Even though those things are “good” in theory, they aren’t so good if my stress levels dramatically increase and my focus from my role as wife and mom and homemaker goes out of wack! As “life” continually changes with our family it’s important to keep re-evaluating how we are keeping things “balanced”. And JOY is our family’s word of the year, we’re focusing on having a joyful heart and attitude and on putting Jesus first, then Others, then Yourself. Thanks, Jen! I have no idea if you’ll even understand my rambling here, but thanks. You’re awesome! Love ya, friend!! 🙂
Perhaps balance means finding the happy medium between our desires and our duties and responsibilities. Or maybe even a happy lopsided scale with enough of the good stuff that we wake up smiling in the mornings. I read this quote years ago: Happiness just might be doing the right thing.
And it’s true! When I take care of my family, go to church each Sunday, do some cleaning and homeschooling each day, I feel good. Because I know I’m living as God wants me to.
So true! I have been there so many times. I think it’s fantastic that you were forthright and open about your thoughts on this.
This is so true! Thank you for these words. We are struggling with balancing issues in our home. Happiness is a CHOICE and JOY is a GIFT FROM GOD! If you have the gift, happiness follows! This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of today! Thank you for allowing the spirit to move your fingers and your heart to flow out the expressions. This is true blogging, inspiring others to be better people so that they can pay it forward!
Have a blessed day!
Well said. We can’t “have it all”. That’s not God’s command or desires for anyone’s life. Joy is real and happiness is fleeting. Thankfully, through Christ, we can have both. And maybe that is “having it all”. Again, well said.
Yay for doing the next thing, I am going to do it too! Paint the porch swing! Wash the dishes! Plan the clothes line pole to be put in. Unpack from the quick weekend trip!
Jen, I love that you did not edit this post. It is being transparent and raw and that is where we should always reside. For me, it keeps me humble and in check with who God is and where He needs to be in my life. My constant quest for perfectionism is still a thorn in my side yet I have come to the conclusion that I truly grow and flourish when I mess up royally. Not just with mistakes but when I confront my own need to be right, together, or look like it. But your reminder that joy is a choice…my flesh wants to cry out that I already knoooooowwww that…yet the Spirit reminds me I heed this almost never and instead bow to my own desires and whims.
Jen, you refreshed me today and I thank you. For so many unsaid things, today was the day I needed to hear this.
I so appreciate that you pour your heart out on your blog. Thats why I enjoy reading yours and similar ones. I am at the “just do the next thing” season of life. And just doing one step at a time or one task at a time keeps me going when I just want to throw my hands up and say forget it. So I plod along just doing the next thing and am slowly making progress. We are moving and I’m back in school so lots of stress and deadlines at this moment in life. Thank you again for keeping it real!
It’s actually quite freeing to realize life isn’t about you! We are here for SO much more than just being happy.
Thank you! Thank you for this post. This issue is a struggle for me, and you put things completely in perspective. Excellent!
Hey, I’m not alone!! Hmmm…laundry…..laptop…let me think about it? Brain food or manual labor….is that why my laundry piles are so large? I really like your blog after finding it about 3 months ago. Wondering how you dh job search is going, as mine is off since Dec. We’re hanging in there and I’ve got faith…would love to see an update on how you balance talking about that vs nagging…coach and counsel, not judge and jury…
Have a great week!
Wise words!! 🙂
Amen, I SO agree with you. And as a mom whose son is graduating this year and going to college, I can see lots more hours I can do what I want…but that’s really hard, too, folks! CHERISH the season when they’re with you and your life often revolves around them, it really is short.
that is super exciting about starbucks!
tonight i splurged on some gourmet coffee at our kitchen store. i got southern pecan, snickerdoodle and hazelnut. i NEVER do that but it sure was fun. my southern pecan is in the coffee pot ready to sound off at 7:30 in the morning!
“Do Ye Next Thinge.”
“Lose this day loitering, and ’twill be the same story
To-morrow; and the next, more dilatory:
The indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost, lamenting o’er lost days,”
says Marlowe… Found in the third volume of Charlotte Mason.
.Along with doing the next thing comes ‘do what you are doing.’
I cannot tell you how refreshing these word “..it’s OK to be “less than” because He is more than enough.”, are.
I is 1:14 am as I tpe this.Why? I had to do what I have to do , just so that I can have a great start in the morn’.I keep thinking, “me time” will come back after my 4 babies are grown and gone.Then I’m reminded that He might just have something else for me to do.Aaaahhh yes! That He accepts me “..just as I am .”…priceless. For that I am grateful to God & to you
for sharing. 🙂
I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Loved this post and I’m so glad you didn’t edit. This line and it’s paragraph jumped right out at me., “Real Life! Life lived graciously to the fullest juggled in with lots of imperfections.”
Life is beautiful for what it is and you are so right, “The Lord is more than enough.”
Thanks for sharing these thoughts. We all need to be reminded of these things! I appreciate your blog!
I’m so glad you hit publish and didn’t edit. It was a very “real” post and I very much appreciate it. My whole family is struggling right now with finding balance. It sometimes seems that I am trying hard to keep that tower of responsibilities from tumbling over…but they seem to keep tipping no matter what…
Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Your heart is so clear and transparent, and it speaks to mine. Thank you.
I read this post yesterday and was trying to post here but was BALANCING my quick few minutes to read blogs. 😉 Then it was back to what really needed to be done. So here I am coming back to answer and let me tell you, I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH YOU!!! If I reoriented my life around MY desires??? Surely, I would live in a mess, with a hungry family and TRUE bedlam! I have stopped trying to be “perfect” years ago. I find that if I have made something delicious and spent some great quality time with my children and husband ENJOYING them, I dont’ care if the floor isn’t clean. You are right, it’s all about balancing it a BIT, not all the way! 🙂
And I also love how you said, we can be less than, because HE is more than enough!!! SO TRUE my friend 🙂
I love your comments! I thought I would share with you an article that discusses balance and how to look at things differently. It is found here:
I just finished reading the book LifeBalance by Richard and Linda Eyre and while it is a system to help with balance, it was VERY refreshing to hear ideas on how to change one’s perspective from, “What do I have to do today, ” to, “What can I enjoy today?” It talks about the importance of structure AND flexibility and how they meet in the middle and work together. I PURE loved it and also have a love of the word balance. I think you would thoroughly enjoy that book!!
Iron sharpening iron. There is power and conviction in this posting.
Thank you for being obedient and sharing; not listening to the voice in
your head, but following the prompting of the spirit.
You spoke to me!
I’ve tried to write to you 3 times tonight. I’ve lost it 3 times. I won’t go to a lot of details now. Just know your blog touched me tonight.You can write me any time. I would like that very much. Thank you.
Oh Vickie – so sorry that your comment was lost. Isn’t that so frustrating? That’s happened to me more than I care to admit and sometimes now I resort to copying it before I hit enter. 🙂
Thank you for your encouraging words. We are on this journey together. 🙂 xoxox
Perfection is definitely waaaay overrated. And I think “balance” is also very often misrepresented as some sort of cookie cutter pattern (especially for the average middle class American woman). Everyone’s balance looks different, depending on the day, week, month or season of one’s life. We don’t need to constantly seek a bland, neutral balanced, sort of “life pH of 7”. That would be so boring, wouldn’t it? I’d rather be a little loony than have a boring life. Good thing, too, because that seems to be how it’s working out. 🙂