Embracing a Happy, Happy, Happy {and Unbalanced} Life

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As a life coach and mentor, I often feel as though I ought to have my life in total balance. We seem to have become a people that strive after balance in everything…

…balanced relationships with our children and spouses.

…balanced schedules with time for work and rest.

…balanced opportunities to serve and simply have fun.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

Kind of like happy, happy, happy.

But is there such a thing as a happy balance? I thought so, until I heard a preacher passionately declare, “We’re not called to balance. We’re called to love and serve.” I must admit, I bristled at the flippant challenge. What…not pursue balance? Then why I am working so hard toward that end and encouraging other women to do the same? Should I give up on managing my schedule and start living off depleted emotional resources, all in the name of love? Maybe. Or maybe it's a matter of perspective.

What if we pursued balance in our pursuit of balance?

What if we pursued balance {ahem, margin space} in our pursuit of balance? {click to tweet}

We need to be honest about how we’re spending our time and seek to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16).  Really, how hard is it to honestly look at our schedules and make some healthy, boundary-keeping decisions?  There is value in using evaluation tools, like these, to help figure out what commitments simply need to go, since we can't do it all and do it well.

When truth speaks to the ideal, healthy and real balance can be embraced. {click to tweet}

When truth speaks to the ideal, healthy and real balance can be embraced.

What we see on paper can help us recognize that our expectations are often not realistic. If we’re perfectly balance in our schedules, we’re likely not leaving room for margin — that blank space in which God can slide the unexpected right into our lives.

I believe that it is in the margin space that God longs to work in us and through us.

We need room in our schedules to respond to His interruptions. Yes, that will make us feel unbalanced as we bristle against Him pushing us to make room for His agenda —  moments like when our sick child requires nurturing or a grieving friend begs for a listening ear.  Yes, these needs throw our life-balance pursuits off kilter. But they also put a different kind of balance back into our souls -- a balance between serving our own schedules and serving others with the love of Christ.

These divine appointments make our lives balanced even when our schedules look a mess.

Instead of trying to weigh out all we do in equal measure, maybe we should think of our regular commitments as being all in one basket, with the goal of leaving the other basket empty. This is our margin space — this is the guarded reserves, which we need so that we can respond in emotional balance to the unexpected.

My hunch is that when we live with margin space for the sake of keeping balance in our schedules, we’ll not only be able to love and serve others without feeling stressed out — we’ll find a whole lot of happy, happy, happy — which is way better than balance, balance, balance.

Real life is too messy to be scheduled all the time. It’s like forcing jello back into a mold after you served it up in a dish. It won’t work. Neither will our perfectly printed paper schedules. If our ideal for balance is a schedule that functions perfectly all the time, then it’s time to ditch the ideal for the real . . . the really messy but beautiful life God designed for us to live.

And yes, I'm preaching to myself here, sisters.

Cheers to the unbalanced life,

Elisa Pulliam

Life Coach & Mentor at elisapulliam.com and moretobe.com

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Elisa Pulliam

Elisa is a trained life coach, mentor, writer, and speaker passionate about equipping women to experience authentic life change for the sake impacting the next generation. She leads More to Be (moretobe.com), a ministry committed to raising up mentors and equipping moms with resources to use with tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings. Elisa considers her first calling as wife to Stephen and mother to her house-full of children. Her favorite days begin on the porch with the Lord and end on the beach with her family and friends. Connect with Elisa at elisapulliam.com and at moretobe.com.