How to Balance it All (Even When You're Crazy Busy)
- Cortni Marrazzo Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 20 Jan
As a mom who works from home, I have a lot of responsibilities on my plate every day. I usually start each of my days with a long list (either in my head or on paper) of things I want or need to get done that day, and it often feels like I start the next day with pretty much the same exact list. I typically have a lot of things on my to-do lists and it is rare that I get to cross off even a small portion of those things lately (especially since I currently have a newborn at home).
If I’m not careful, it can be easy for me to get stressed when my to-do list doesn’t get done. At the same time, in my current season of life, it is almost impossible for me to complete those lists without sacrificing time with my family or my own health. I found myself asking God “How am I supposed to balance everything in my life when it seems impossible to do it all?” I feel like he answered me in a couple ways.
First of all, I have to realize that it is, in fact, impossible to do it all. I have found myself striving to “do it all” and then feeling down about the fact that so much didn’t get done at the end of the day, as I sit in my house that is messy and look at my email inbox that is full of things I still need to do. Yet for some reason I get up the next morning thinking that will be the day I get it all done and the cycle continues. Making peace with the fact that certain things either won’t get done, or will get delayed, is an important piece in an effort to balance your life. It can be a hard pill to swallow, especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, but it’s part of life sometimes.
Secondly, once you come to grip with the fact that it’s not all doing to get done, it’s important to go to God and ask him for discernment on what should and should not get your attention each day. Every morning we ought go to God in prayer and ask him what our to-do list should include for that day. I admit that I’m not always the best at this and there are days that my to-do list gets more attention than God does. Those are the days that tend to leave me the most exhausted and stressed out. When I discipline myself to go to God first thing and ask him what I should be focusing on, my days may or may not look productive on paper, but they give me satisfaction and peace of knowing I focused on what was important. Instead of finding satisfaction in the checking off of my to-do list, I actually find it in the abandon of what I think is important and the embrace of what God knows to be paramount in my life.
When we ask God for his direction on what to focus our efforts on, we also need to be open to what he tells us. More often than not, his answers will be different than we are thinking. Often the things we should be focusing on aren’t things we can even cross off a list or tangibly see results from, but they are important nonetheless. For instance, if I were to spend one hour cleaning my house (if only it could be done in that little of time) I would be able to physically see that it was clean and I could check a few rooms off my cleaning list, but if I were to spend that time playing a game with my son or meeting a friend for coffee and encouraging her, the results wouldn’t be a checked off item on my list, but a life potentially changed. My house will get messy again (probably in only five minutes after I clean it) but the deposits made into my children’s and/or friends’ lives will continue long after I even know.
Romans 12:2 tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, which means that God expects us to submit ourselves and our actions to him so he can use us in the best way sees fit. When we let our own agendas take over, we limit ourselves and what God can do through us.
While I do advocate the importance of giving our schedules to God and planning accordingly, I also realize that we all have responsibilities that we do have to get done and it is important to take care of that which we are responsible for. Here are two practical tips for getting some of those other things done.
Make Yourself a Schedule
Whether you work outside the home, inside the home or your home is your work, it’s important to have a plan to tackle all that needs to be done. It’s important to plan in housework, workouts, play time, social time, etc. I personally have a weekly schedule that helps me stay organized and keep up on my responsibilities. I schedule my workout times each day, as well as a different area of my house to clean each day so I don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to clean my entire house every day. I also schedule in play dates, errand times, and most importantly, “catch-up” times. You can almost guarantee that you will get behind on things because unexpected things come up (especially if you are daily asking God what he wants you to do) and kids get sick, trouble occur, etc. If you have scheduled time for “catch up” you are less likely to get stressed because you have a built in margin that allows for the unexpected to come up.
Recognize Your Season of Life
As I previously mentioned, I currently have a newborn at home, which means that I need to accept the fact that for a few months my house simply won’t be as clean as I would like it to be because a majority of my day is spent caring for my baby. Granted, as my two boys get older, my house probably won’t be as clean as I’d like until my husband and I are empty nesters, but that’s a different story! For some reason my brain wanted my productivity level to remain just as high once my son was born as it was beforehand, but I quickly realized what a silly notion that was. Newborns require a lot of care and take up a lot of time and that time has to come from somewhere. There are other seasons that also may require an extra amount of time as well, such as a sick family member, a busy season at work, a home remodel, or other special circumstances. When we extend grace to ourselves during these seasons, it’s easier to accept our unchecked to-do lists and to embrace the season we are currently in.
Productivity and accomplishing things are great, but they should not be the main goal of our lives. The joy and meaning of our lives comes from our relationship with God, as well as our relationships with our family and friends. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband Jason and their two sons. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. She and her husband currently serve as small group directors at their local church. You can contact her at Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com or on Facebook.
Publication date: January 20, 2015