We are often told that finding balance in our lives is important. I couldn’t agree more, but I have found that balance looks very different than what I use to think it was. I use to think we give a little bit of what we have to all of the things that are important, but if we do that then we run out of resources before we can get to everything. We have to make choices to find balance and this requires focus and sacrifice.
We have a finite amount of time and resources.
Occasionally I hear a story about someone who has so much money they don’t know how to spend it all, but that seems to be the exception, definitely not the rule. And even if the resources for a person were unlimited, they would still be bound by the same time restrictions that we all have. Most of us have a finite amount of time and resources.
This is important because when we talk about finding balance we have to acknowledge that balance doesn’t mean we equally give our time and resources to the people and things we love. Rather it means that we have to choose what resource we give and how much we give to each person and each project. It means that we find a way to focus on one thing at a time.
Balance requires focus.
In order to have balance in our lives we can’t have our attention so divided that we are spread thin. This leads to stress, frustrations, and anxiety. Yes it is possible to spend time with your children while you are working on a project. In fact not only is it possible, but it is important. When we work with them we are teaching our children that we love them and that they can work hard and accomplish a goal. But balance requires that we also teach them other things like love, charity, and faith. Although it is possible to teach a lot of these things while we are working along side them, if we only spend time with our children then we are working then we lose that balance that we are seeking. Balance also means that we have to walk away from daily chores and play with our children.
Balance requires sacrifices.
When it comes to finances balance means that we have to allocate a limited amount of funds for an unlimited amount of costs, and in order to do that we have to make sacrifices. We have to choose how to spend the money we have and what to give up. We have to work hard to compensate for the things we can’t buy which often requires sacrificing time. We have to be creative and intentional. However being creative often requires giving up time for other things. We have to pick what projects to work on because we can’t work on them all, and we can’t work on them all at once. We have to decide what we will work on and when we will work on it. This all requires that we sacrifice projects and time with people we value.
How then do we find balance.
When we understand that balance requires focus and sacrifice we can then find a way to truly have balance in our lives. At the point when we see things as they are we have to step back and look at the whole picture. We need to look at our long term goals in order find and have balance in our lives.
My long term goals look like this:
Raise my children with love and teach them.
Serve God and his children.
Strengthen my marriage.
Build a home business.
Build our homestead.
Play with my family.
(Not necessarily in this order)
It is easy to get focused on just one of these goals and allocate all my time and resources to accomplishing just one of these. That is why it is so important that to find my balance I look at the big picture.
When I look at my long term goals, then I have to look at my time and resources. I take out my calendar, and I first put on it the things that I can’t change. Then I hard things that are occasional but necessary. But what is important is that when I decide what to do and how to spend my resources I look at the entire list. If I don’t have things that are important to me on the list then I will run out of time and resources before I can put those important things into my life. The truth is that I will run out of time and resources and I will have to make sacrifices. In order to find balance I have to make sacrifices but I also have to make sure that I am seeing what is important.
Balance requires charity.
If we only have time for ourselves than we missed the point entirely. When our list of to dos is super long and our resources time and energy is spent we become exhausted both spiritually and mentally. In order to keep from wearing out we must find time to serve others. Charity rejuvenates us. Charity lifts our spirits. Charity heals us. Charity helps us to find our focus again and look at the whole picture again.
For me balance requires God.
This last part is probably the most important in my life. I already know that I don’t have enough time and resources, and to find balance I have to pray for help and guidance in both making choices about priorities and in reaching my goals. I know that God loves me and he wants me to succeed. Because I know this I ask him for help. When he doesn’t give me resources he gives me patience, understanding, and love. He helps me to see that what I have and what I can do is enough if I put him first.