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How I Cultivated More Balance in My Busy Life

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If anyone knows anything about trying to balance it all, it’s probably me. I’ve even been accused of being a supermom. Just recently, I managed to do so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. 

In less than six months time, I completed a life coach certification, wrote and released my first self-published book, flew across the country to attend a coaching retreat, completely redesigned my website, wrote several articles and a developed a presentation (you know… just in case someone were to invite me to speak)—all in response to the huge vision I felt God had placed on my heart. 

Of course, this all took place at the same time that my husband was in his final phase at the police academy, and my daughter was in highschool. Oh, did I mention that I train and coach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

And then there’s that small business that my husband and I run. To say we were busy is an understatement.

Let me make one thing clear; while I am proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone, I am not so sure I ever quite got the hang of the balance part. Unless you think clinging onto the edge of a crumbling cliff is balance.

I do not.

I created tight deadlines, yet I ignored my family, skipped workouts, and was in a daze most of the time.

Note that God never gave me a deadline. He only told me to lead others to Him using the gifts He had given me. 

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Then, just as quickly as it all started, everything came to a screeching halt when my motivation and inspiration waned.

I was exhausted in all ways, I missed my family, and felt guilty. The vibe was definitely not something I would say was Heaven-sent. 

I found myself in this cycle of hurry, crash-and-burn, then pick myself up, dust myself off, bandage up my hurt ego, and go at it again.

I wrongly assumed that if God called me to something, that I had to hurry up and do it, as if I would somehow miss out on His calling if I didn’t get moving. 

In one of these crash-and-burn moments, realizing that this type of pace was unsustainable, I sought help from a friend, who reminded me that God never gave me a deadline, and He doesn’t expect me to do it all at once or even on my own. 

The story of Jonah comes to mind.

God came right out and said, “Jonah, go to Nineveh,” but that wasn’t the calling that Jonah had in mind, so he took off in the opposite direction.

Yet, God redirected him, and Jonah eventually made it to Nineveh, fulfilling what God had called him to do. 

I may not get things right the first time, but Jonah’s example reminds me that God is patient with me.

Then I was reminded of the Israelites, who just couldn’t seem to get their act together. All they did was groan and complain, rather than being full of gratitude for the fact that they were no longer slaves in Egypt.

Instead of entering the Promised Land, they just wandered the desert wilderness for 40 years. Yet, the Promised Land didn’t go anywhere. It was still there waiting for them to enter. 

They weren’t too late. And neither am I. God’s not in a rush, so why am I? 

Don’t get me wrong, He is not slow, as we consider slowness (2 Peter 3:9).

When God told Adam and Eve that He would send His own son to crush the head of the serpent that was thousands of years ago. It’s already been almost 2,000 years since Jesus died on the cross to save us! 

Friend, if you think that God is leading you to something He’s called you to, only to give up on you because you’re taking too long, you must be thinking of the wrong god. The God we serve is full of love:

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV

I also thought that I had to literally try to do it all on my own. But that got really heavy, really fast.

I heard this voice telling me, “Jen, that’s not yours to carry…” It wasn’t loud, but it was persistent. Finally, exhausted and strung out, I listened to the voice. That’s when I heard it loud and clear:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:29-30 ESV
You see, Jesus didn’t come down to earth and save us only to give us a hope of a future in Heaven, but to give us an abundant life, now, here on earth.

You see, Jesus didn’t come down to earth and save us only to give us a hope of a future in Heaven, but to give us an abundant life, now, here on earth.

But when we try to rush and do it all, we miss out on the joy, the rest, and the peace that He is offering us. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10 ESV

We like to toss around the “b” word quite a bit when we can’t seem to figure out how to squeeze in everything we think we ought to be doing.

We assume that the reason it’s not working for us is that we just don’t have enough “balance” in our lives.

There’s this belief that balance is the key to being able to get it all done, all at once, right away. Society has become fixated on instant gratification, which doesn’t bode well with the pace that God sets. 

After trying to achieve balance, and failing miserably, I decided it was time to reassess my action plan, and figure out how to cultivate balance in my busy life.

What Is Balance?

Balance is that thing that we’re always trying to find. We trick ourselves into believing that we can take on as much as we want, as long as we “balance” it all so carefully. 

What we really mean when we say we want balance is that we want to squeeze as much into our lives as possible, and without completely falling apart in the process.

As my good friend says all the time, “We’re trying to shove 10 pounds into a 5 pound sack.” It’s just not possible.

On my best days, I wake up early in the morning, get my quiet time in, go to work, then come home in the afternoon, squeeze in a quick a workout, make dinner, set things out for tomorrow, and finally spend as much time as my tired eyes will allow working on my coaching business or finishing up an article.

I crawl into bed to watch a show with my husband, trying my best to keep my eyes open. 

From all appearances, one might assume I live a pretty balanced life.

After all, I’m getting it all done.

Yet what nobody sees is how tired I am, or the disappointment I feel when I have unchecked items on my to-do list. I am never done, never caught up, and definitely never ahead. I always feel like I’m several steps behind where I ought to be. 

Balance Is Not Something To Achieve

Balance is not a thing. Balance is a circus act, not a life skill to be honed and sharpened. 

We have to let go of the expectation to have a perfect, tidy little life, and let ourselves off the hook when things don’t go as planned. Because, let’s face it—things rarely go as planned.

Friends, please hear me when I say, balance is not a thing. 

If cultivating balance is our goal, I’m sorry to say, we’re going to end up disappointed every single time. 

I have spent most of my adult life chasing this elusive thing I call balance. I believed that if I could just perfectly balance everything, I would finally reach my pinnacle and be all that I’ve ever dreamed I could be. 

Balance is as elusive as a unicorn. It’s a myth, a fairytale, something that we dream about and we try so hard to find, yet just when we think we’ve got it, it slips through our fingers.

Where did this idea that we must somehow balance a never-ending list of tasks come from? Surely, not from God. He never intended for us to burden ourselves with such a heavy load.

Where did this idea that we must somehow balance a never-ending list of tasks come from? Surely, not from God. He never intended for us to burden ourselves with such a heavy load.

Instead, scripture clearly points to what God wants for us, what He asks of us, and what He can actually do for us if we let Him! 

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8 ESV

If you’re looking for permission to let yourself off the hook, here it is! When He called you, He didn’t call you into a life of chaos, busyness, or exhaustion.

No, He called you to rest in His faithfulness, to follow Him as He leads you besides still waters, and to rely on Him as He goes ahead of you to prepare the way. 

What We Should Do Instead of Trying To Cultivate Balance:

In my effort to achieve balance, I’ve come to realize that balance will never be something I can achieve, but instead, I must cultivate the discipline of saying “no” more often to a burdensome life, and saying “yes” to the following practices:

  • Making room for sabbath so that I can enter into restorative rest on a weekly basis
  • Leaving space for margin so that I can experience His presence, His joy, and fellowship with others
  • Getting quiet before God through daily Bible reading, prayer and reflection
  • Celebrating my wins – the big and the small ones
  • Giving God all the glory because He makes all things possible

Check out Jennifer’s new book: 31 Days to a Stronger Quiet Time!

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How I Cultivated More Balance in My Busy Life

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