It was right after summer time, I just starting a new phase in my life; college. At first life was going great! I had no problem juggling from school to work to ministry to home life to friends, but that was just at first. As summer began to fade and fall started, I began to feel the weight of the pressure on my plate. The tasks began to pile up and the stress began to mount. I thought I was doing a good job of balancing it all. I tried but you can only balance it all before you suddenly break down because you can’t do it all.
I was involved in my church’s children ministry, had a 16-unit college schedule, started a blog, worked 2 jobs, family life, and was adjusting to live on my own. While it did seem like a lot, I thought I could do it all. I mean, I was the queen of multitasking right?! Well, no matter how much I thought I could multitask, things began to slowly get pushed to the side.
Now, I am so ashamed to say this but the first thing to go my Jesus time in the morning. I would get up early every morning for work and I would tell myself that I would get to my bible reading later, that I would spend time with Jesus that night, or that it was just one day so it was no big deal. Well, the big deal was that over time it’s not just one day, but days upon days upon days.
The next thing to go was my time management. Each week I would try to make my “to-do” schedule with hopes of getting it all accomplished but somehow was the day went on instead of checking items of my list, I would I manage to add more to my list. My stress began to mount because I didn’t feel like I was getting things done and I always felt like it was only a matter of time before I completely broke down. Sadly, it wasn’t’ long before I did.
As May was approaching, my stress was at its max. I was spiritually dry and depleted because I was not nourishing myself daily and just allowing others to slowly run me dry. My spirit changed and my outlook on life went from optimistic to pessimistic. I was running myself into the ground. Jesus had to take my hand and bring me back to Him, once I let Him rescue me from rock bottom. The lessons I learned from this time were so valuable to me and I had to learn that I couldn’t balance it all!! I have to say no and sometimes things have to go, even things you love.
When Jesus Is The First To Go
Without my Savior, I truly can do nothing but sadly, this is always the first thing on our lists to go. I never forgot to eat that day but I would always push Jesus to the side. I was leaning on my own strength to get me through the day instead of relying on Him to help me in everything!! Only through Christ and His strength can I do anything, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
My biggest failure in this season was to underestimate my need for Jesus. I thought I could do it all on my own and I thought I could do it all; without Him. I quietly pushed aside my bible time and before the summer was over, I made a resolution to never let that happen again. No matter what I had to change in my life, I was no longer going to let my “date” time with Jesus wait until I had finished my day or not spend time with Him at all. I would get up earlier so that I could have my Jesus time and I would choose a study that I could do.
I was doing Beth Moore and other in-depth studies before with my bible study group and I tried to maintain this while being in school but one of the reasons my bible study time got pushed aside is that I didn’t have the time for these kinds of bible studies right then. So, instead, I found ways that were more beneficial for me in the season I am in right now. While I still love all of those studies, there is a time and a place for those and I simply can’t right now without being overwhelmed or rushing through the study.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of doing an hour of study time or having to pray an hour each morning then most likely it will get pushed aside. Instead, find something that works for you! There are so many options for having a devo time with Jesus! Grab your bible and a notebook and take notes on your study time, find a bible-book-specific-devotional that has questions that you can answer, or a smaller bible study that is more time efficient for you. Darling, just make sure that you never let your Jesus time get away from you.
Learning To Say No When Your Plate Is Too Full
Oh I am so guilty of this!! I have such a hard time saying “no” because I just want to help those around me. It didn’t matter how much I had on my plate I would always somehow manage to add something new to my plate. I didn’t think it would matter. I though I could balance it all with such ease. However, little by little, my plate started to crack because I only added tasks to my plate and never took tasks away. Last year is the perfect example of this. I had such a hard time saying “no” to people because I thought I could do it all.
I thought my plate needed to be overflowing with activities and that I needed to be busy. But the truth was that busy isn’t always good or helpful. As my plate began to crack under the weight of my life, I realized I had to start saying no to tasks, jobs, and ministry. It is wonderful to be wanted and to have people want you to help them, but I had to remember that I couldn’t do it all.
So the next time someone asked me if I could help them with something, I asked the Lord, “Is this something that you have planned for me?” Then I would ask myself, “Is it a good thing or a God thing?” I have had plenty of good job offers, good ministries opportunities, and good friends. Darling, while these are all wonderful, not all of them are GOD opportunities! There are far fewer things in my life that are God opportunities rather than good opportunities. One way of saying “no” is figuring out if the opportunity is just good or if its from God.
Learning To Balance Life
Life is a funny thing because we don’t often enjoy all the little moments because we are so wrapped up with running to the next event or going from one place to another. We need to slow down, take a breath, and just take one day at a time. Learning to balance life isn’t about how well you can multitask or how much you can add to your plate, but rather it is about living life well!
How can you live life well if you are stressed out to the max, pushing your Jesus time aside, and living for the good moments instead of the God moments? I want to challenge you to take a good, hard look at what is on your plate right now. Do you have too much that you are balancing? Most likely, just like me, you do.
I love this quote and challenge from Elisabeth Elliot, “If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to him and ask him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.” Wow! So convicting! We need to let God decide what needs to stay on our plate and what needs to go. He is more than faithful to show you the answer and clearly let you know what you need to get rid of.
Ask the Lord to help you to decide which of the items on your plate are God things (ones that you need to keep) and which ones are good things (ones that you can do without). I know it is hard to let opportunities go but sometimes you have to let things go in order to get the best thing! Keep Jesus as your number one focus with your eyes ever fixed upon His face! He will never fail you and He will give you the wisdom to decide if you are doing too much.
Let go and let God fill those places in your life, which are now empty, with His rest and with His God opportunities! Darling, you can’t balance it all! Take a breath and give yourself some grace. You don’t have to do it all but with God you can do all things through His strength!!