Have you ever been so overwhelmed with all the demands on your life that the word “balance” just made you cringe? It doesn’t matter if you work outside the home or in the home, married or single, man or woman, young or old…. It just doesn’t matter. We have been so well trained to pack our schedules to the point that we have no wiggle room. We all feel pressures on us that try to rob us of balance. We have spent the last few blog posts talking about our various roles. So, the question comes up, how do we balance it all? Husband, kids, work, ministry. Is it possible to meet all the demands that are on us every day? Ah… Now, that’s a different question. Somehow, we got it in our heads that if we live a balanced life, then we will meet every demand. If we drop the ball in any one area, then we feel like we failed and obviously can’t balance it all. I don’t buy that at all. We live a balanced life when we learn to let some things go to make room for what’s most important. These decisions happen every single day. Since this is such a key element to what we’re talking about in this series, I want to spend some time here.
Today, let’s look at a few things that most commonly destroy balance in our lives?
Unreasonable Expectations – There are certain expectations required of us for any given area of our life. We already looked at the biblical expectations for a wife and mom as well as principles for a woman in the workplace. There are also expectations from the Bible regarding our spiritual calling within the church. We all have gifts and talents that God wants us to use for His service in one way or another. There are some roles that God does not permit women to fill and other roles that He regards women very highly in. These are the expectations that matter. Biblical expectations are the ones we need to study and know as we make decisions for our life. Expectations become unreasonable when they are bred out of comparison and outward appearances only. This would be like the mom who overworks herself making sure her children always look perfect before they go in public because “what will people think?”. This is the mom who feels pressured by the masses on all the “right” things you should be doing for your kids to be a good mom. Things like what schools to send them to, what foods you should never give them, immunize or don’t immunize, what age they need to start piano lessons, sports, pre-school. You get the idea, I’m sure. We end up adding activities and busy work into our day that was never supposed to be there. This is just a small list of the racket that is flooding our social media today, and I’m not saying that either side of these issues is right or wrong. These are OPINION based issues. When we begin to feel pressured to be on the “right” side of the issue, whatever side we land on, we overload ourselves and have become unbalanced because of unrealistic expectations that we have allowed to be placed on us. When we start telling other women what they NEED to do or what they SHOULD be doing, we are guilty of placing unrealistic expectations on them. We must get rid of these expectations if we want to find balance.
People Pleasing – While unrealistic expectations are generally initiated from outside sources, it’s a deep seeded desire to keep everyone happy that makes us carry the weight of those expectations. A people-pleaser has a really difficult time saying “no” to anything. If we aren’t careful, we will “people-please” our way right into exhaustion. It won’t take long for that exhaustion to turn to depression. It isn’t possible to please everyone all the time, and when a people-pleaser feels like they’ve disappointed someone they feel like a failure. I know this process very well, as I imagine some of you do too. We must go back to our biblical foundation. Only God’s expectations matter. My job is to please Him, not everyone else. There is so much freedom when we set aside the thousands of “things” that are thrown at us out of opinion and focus on our relationship with Jesus allowing Him to guide us through His Word. That freedom is beautiful. That freedom is life-giving. That freedom brings balance.
Perfectionism – Another common destroyer of balance is our desire to be perfect. The main idea of perfectionism doesn’t sound too bad. I’m a hairstylist, and being a perfectionist is something that my clients really appreciate about me. Nobody wants someone coloring their hair who doesn’t care about the details. It’s important to care about the details, especially in color work. The problem with the perfectionist is that we are never satisfied. I have a lot of very happy clients, but I have NEVER completed a hair color service where I didn’t have something about it that I didn’t like. The thing is, if I try to “fix” the tiny little imperfection – you know, the one that only I can see – it almost always messes up something else that can be seen by everyone. I’ve seen this in life too. We can get so focused on getting everything we do perfect that we mess up something big in our lives, and it’s almost always a relationship that gets hurt in the process. Perfectionism makes us spend way too much time on every task. It causes us to over-work, over-think and under-rest. We must let go of our perfectionism if we want to live a balanced life.
So, what do we do with these destructive patterns in our lives? How do we find balance if these things have rooted their way into our personalities? First, we recognize it. Search your heart as you pay attention to how you react to the pressures around you. It doesn’t take long to spot these, but if you’re not sure just ask the people closest to you what they think. Give them permission to be brutally honest with you and then don’t get mad! Once you recognize yourself giving in to these areas, ask God to help you overcome. Then, start to let go of these patterns in your life. Next week, I’m going to share some truth bombs that will help us get rid of these destroyers and help us find and maintain balance in our lives. It really isn’t as hard as we seem to make it sometimes! What are some other things that have sought to destroy balance in your life? Share in the comment section.
If you would like to catch up on this series of Christian Women Working, just click the links below:
Introduction – Can a Family Thrive When the Woman Works?
Part 1 – Following Your God-Given Ambition
Part 2 – Stepping into the Eye of the Storm
Part 3 – Responsibilities of a Godly Wife
Part 4 – Responsibilities of a Godly Mother