Myth: Life balance exists.
Truth: Can I be brutally honest with you? I have spent most of my life frustrated. I was frustrated, because I was trying to have a balanced life. This seemed impossible because one semester I was knee deep in courses, then the next in research. When I felt like I had neglected my family I would take some time off to visit, and then the cycle would repeat itself. Have you ever felt that way? Thankfully you and I are not alone, and we don’t need to be frustrated a moment more because balance is an illusion.
A great leader Craig Groeschel holds a monthly leadership podcast that I quote ALL THE TIME. I have been listening to this podcast since it was released, and I am a regular. In Episode 13 of The Leadership Podcast Craig illuminates:
“Balance is an illusion. If you’re striving for balance, you’ll always be frustrated. Balance isn’t the goal—faithfulness is. Be faithful to do what’s most important in this season of life. You must respect the season you are in. If you have two toddlers, this probably isn’t the time to read every book you want to read. Say no for now, but not forever. Give yourself permission to be a little out of balance. Don’t feel guilty when you are focused on what’s appropriate during this season.”
As I unpacked this quote it taught me the following about what faithfulness in my season really is.
- I have to know my season.
I was listening to this podcast when I was walking to work in a season where I was spending extra hours at the office, and any free time making headway on my research project. To be honest, I had been tough on myself, and was thinking “Man, why haven’t I settled down…I haven’t even started paying my student loans… Oh, and I am not married…. And I don’t have kids yet….And…And…” I was spinning because I hadn’t taken the time to know what season I was in.
To be faithful in your season, you first must know your season. Have you taken time to reflect and breath in this season? Take a few moments to yourself to reflect on what you are grateful for and what you are being called to do in this season. Whether it is a semester or a year, set some short-term goals for the season that you are in. Don’t focus on what you can’t, but be grateful for what you are being called to do right now.
- Be present.
For me frustration came because I was living for the future, and missing all the goodness happening in my present. Whether you meditate, practice using a gratitude journal, or have technology free days find a way to be present in your season, whether life brings your rain, snow, or sun! If you are looking for a great read on being present I recommend a recent release, “Own the Moment” by Carl Lentz. He will rattle your world view, and change the way you enter each new moment.
- Give yourself grace.
Did you hear Craig say, “give yourself permission”? DeWers, we should give ourselves permission to take a mental health day, to say no, and to feel out of balance. It is okay to take a breather. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, and say “I need help.” Whatever season you are in, I hope that you can take time to know your season, be present and give yourself a little grace. You are DeWing great, even if you feel a little lopsided.