At home I am a wife, a mommy to a teenager and two pre-schoolers, a chauffeur, a maid, a cook, a friend, a confidant, a mentor, and the list goes on… In ministry I am a pastor’s wife, a co-pastor, a worship leader, a ministry administrator, an accountant, a writer, an editor, a graphic designer, a video editor, and whatever else comes across my desk on any given day.
By the time I get the kids to school, spend a full day at the office, get home, cook dinner, bathe my little ones, read them a story and tuck them into bed, clean the kitchen, fold laundry, and straighten up the house, write my blog (sometimes) and let’s not forget check up on Facebook and Twitter J, as well as throwing in the occasional workout, I’m too tired to do much of anything let alone getting all prettied up and spending intimate time with my husband. I would be willing to bet that you read this and thought I was talking about you! Because even though they might look a little different, almost all the women I know change their hats as many times as I change mine each and every day.
I admire those women who seem to perfectly balance the demands of their life with the demands of their household. You know, the ones who have an immaculate house, perfectly well-behaved children, an amazing relationship with their husbands, who never seem to get flustered, and always have a smile on their face while always looking fabulous and holding a plate of freshly baked, from scratch, chocolate chip cookies that they just whipped up in their spare time.
Can I be honest and say that it is rare that every room in my home is clean at the same time, that I have a hard time getting my kids to listen on a consistent basis, that the last time I baked chocolate chip cookies they were from a tube of Nestle Tollhouse dough I got in the dairy section, I’m not the most organized, and in fact I’m far from it, half the time you’ll find me with my hair up in a pony tail, and I’m embarrassed to have anyone ride in my car with me until I clean it out.
That being said, there is one thing that I am learning to be- balanced. Regardless of my shortcomings, my inabilities and the areas I am lacking in, I strive to keep balance in my life. There are a couple of keys to maintaining a sense of balance.
First- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, just be the best you you can be. Instead of looking to others as a guide to how you should be leading your life, just check yourself against you. The most important changes I have made in my life came from taking a good hard look at what I was doing, and evaluating if I could be doing things differently. The answer was almost always yes. Then when I made a conscious decision to make changes, I had to be disciplined to follow through. For example, there was a time when I realized I was spending way too much time on my iPhone, so I made a decision that I was taking off the apps that seemed to consume my time the most. That only lasted for a while and is still something that I have to govern myself on continually.
Second- Your kids will only be young once, and then when they are gone your husband will be the only one around. This is massively important. It’s important not to lose your kids in the busyness of life, and not to lose your husband in the busyness of the kids. It’s easy to get caught up in other things and not give your family the attention they deserve. Stop and realize that your kids crave your attention and love and it doesn’t take much to make them feel special and happy. A quick hug and asking questions about their day. Words of encouragement for a job well done. It’s the special moments that you have with your children now that they and you will remember for the rest of your life. As far as your man goes, it doesn’t take much to make him happy either. The best times in my marriage are when I do little things to go out of my way to let my husband know that I love him. I used to make effort based upon his effort towards me, but I realized that was selfish love. When I am making him my priority there is nothing we cannot handle together. No obstacle too big, no problem to large, there is nothing we cannot overcome. There is peace in our home and it trickles down everyone.
The last key to balance and perhaps the most important, is learning to live your life in a constant state of reliance upon the grace of God. In our church we define grace as God’s ability in you allowing you to do what you couldn’t do by yourself. I had heard about Grace, and readily accepted it in my Christian walk, but never applied it to the other, more practical areas of my life. Once I recognized that without the Grace of God I can’t be the wife I need to be, the mother I need to be, the administrator I need to be, the friend I need to be, etc….. It changed my life completely. What I try to achieve in my life in my own strength falls short every time, but when I rely upon God’s grace, His strength in me allows me to be a better me. When I wake up in the morning and ask Him for the grace to be the best mom I can be today, He speaks to my heart little things I can do to be a better mom. When in the middle of my day, I stop and ask him for the grace to be the best wife I can be, He impresses me to call my husband just to say I love you, or stop and get a card on my way home, or whatever it is that my husband needs that particular day. Without God’s grace, our best efforts fail, but when we ask Him for His grace, He provides it for us and our efforts become effortless.