Today is the 20th Friday of 2018 – I can’t believe how fast this year is passing…
I started thinking about my resolutions and goals … how this year was going to be different. How I would deliberately and consistently do my best to balance work, play, and rest.
I started the year wanting to do all I could to enjoy better overall (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) health.
And I believe God wants us to experience the balance that sparks joy because…
God put balance and order in a perfect creation.
The earth is exactly the right distance from the sun and has the perfect combination of gases for an atmosphere that supports life. Scientists have determined that any variation to the smallest degree of earth’s angle, distance to the sun, or combination of gases in the atmosphere and our planet would be uninhabitable.
The Garden of Eden provided a perfect balance for Adam and Eve . . . in their relationship with God and with each other. They knew exactly what to do and when to do it.
Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance!
But even after sin became part of this world…
Jesus demonstrated a balance that sparks joy.
Jesus spent much of His time serving and teaching others but He also spent time alone in prayer, took time to rest, and enjoyed celebrating with friends. And through Him, you and I have everything we need to follow His example.
Although living a balanced life is important, it’s not easy!
Slowing down, living our priorities, and setting boundaries are all hard but necessary if we want to experience the balance that sparks joy.
What do you think? Are you ready to try again?
There are still 30+ weeks left in 2018.
With God’s help, you and I can make a few small changes that will help us work toward a life of balance and joy.
But first – we need to admit we need God’s help.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
If God wants us to enjoy a balanced life, and I believe He does … He will help us get there!
7 of the Best Ways to Have Balance that Sparks Joy
“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” ~Betsy Jacobson
So choose to…
1. Make 15-20 minutes alone with the Lord an essential part of your day.
Ask God to guide you and help you find balance. Spend time in prayer and Bible study … then be still and simply breathe in the His goodness and grace.
You will show me the way of life. Being with You is to be full of joy. In Your right hand, there is happiness forever. Psalm 16:11
2. Take a self-assessment test to decide how where you need balance.
- How often do you feel agitated or impatient?
- How often do you get angry?
- How often do you feel overwhelmed by your schedule?
- How often do you feel you can’t finish your to-do list?
- How often do your family and friends complain that you’re not available?
- How often do you feel tired from lack of sleep?
- How often do you exercise?
- How often do you have time to relax?
- How regularly do you eat a healthy diet?
- How often are you too exhausted to _____________?
- How often do you spend quiet time with God?
Based on where you landed on the 1 to 10 continuum admit it’s time to take an honest assessment of your life and start to make adjustments. Pick one area that needs the most help and start there.
“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.” ~Assorted Authors
3. Assess your calendar and your to-do list to see where you spend the most time.
- Surrender your schedule to God and ask Him to help you.
- Grab your schedule and 3 different color pens.
- Assign the colors – Have To, Want To, Need To
- Mark each appointment for the week with the desired category color.
- Use a sample planner page and make an “ideal” schedule – begin with have to, add need to . . . think about any changes you might be able to make.
- Make a list of things you’d add if you had time.
4. Purge your home and life of excess stuff.
Go through one room each week—closets, under beds, drawers, and piles in corners. Free your life of the stuff you no longer need or use. Keep only those things that are necessary and beautiful… Marie Kondo of the Kon Mari method of organizing calls them the things that “spark joy.” If it doesn’t give you joy … let it go!
You can ask the “spark joy” question with your calendar and “to-do” list also.
Maybe so, but I say it is better to be content with what little you have. Otherwise, you will always be struggling for more, and that is like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6
5. Set boundaries – it’s okay to say “no.”
Ask God for wisdom to know when to say “no” and to help you when it’s hard.
No explanations needed. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this right now.” is perfectly acceptable. Limiting the number of “extra” activities might be the first step in helping your family find balance.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.” ~Stephen Covey
6. Ask for help – you don’t have to do it all.
It’s okay! Really it is! Stop and consider where you might need help. (Chores, car-pools, errands, homework, organizing, etc.) Make a list of people who might be able to make your life easier. Swallow your pride, and ask.
Remember chores are good for your kids. It’s not “help” if it’s a life skill they need to learn.
“Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” Ric Ocasek
7. Schedule “no electronics” time.
This is hard for me. So, I understand if you think it will be impossible to get your family on board. But having “no screen” time will bless you. Enjoy a meal, read, talk, plan the weekend, or play a game.
I promise . . . your children won’t remember the television show they watched ten years from now, but they will remember the things you did together.
Today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices . . . Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. ~Source AAP
Finally – Laugh and have fun.
Schedule at least one fun activity each week. You won’t stick with this if you’re not having fun. Laugh at yourself. Give yourself grace — you didn’t get here overnight so you probably won’t undo it fast either.
But just think of the blessings of living a balanced life … better relationships, improved health, more joy, etc.
So I recommend having fun because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15
Prayer for God’s help to find a balance that sparks joy.
Father, I admit my life is out of balance and I need your help. I’m frustrated but I don’t know where to begin. My life is being pulled in a dozen different directions. Right now, help me stop and breathe in the presence of Your Holy Spirit, the One who guides me and helps me know when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” Help me to be still. Help me to trust You with my day. Increase my faith and help me live with balance. Bless me with Your wisdom. Fill me with Your peace. Amen.
This Week’s Friday Favorites
Highlights from the Week!
by Sue Donaldson
@ Welcome Heart
by Lisa Burgess
@ Lisa Notes…
by Amy Byman
@ A Day of Small Things…
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