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

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

Being A Mom Has Changed My Marriage

motherhood-marriageMotherhood is sweet.  The warm and gentle touch of my baby’s skin melts my heart.  The overwhelming love I have for my son motivates me to be the best mom I can possibly be.  My attention is focused on his every need and want.  I am in tune to his coos, in awe of his smiles, and proud of his development.  He is my baby.

My boy just reached two months!  Although I enjoy being a mother and find it extraordinarily rewarding, it is simultaneously the hardest thing I have ever experienced.  Yet, God gives me all that I need to be able to continue caring for my child.   He empowers me to get up throughout the night, to change another diaper, to go out with spit-up on my clothes, and to sacrifice things I want on a daily basis.  There is so much worth wrapped up in my child that the hard stuff doesn’t compare!

I appreciate all that God has equipped me with for motherhood.  Among the gifts of energy I have received from Him, I have also experienced a bit of reprimand from God since I became a mother, namely in the area of marriage.  Since my husband and I had well over 5 years together before our little one came, I assumed we had our marriage down.  I felt secure in our relationship.  We took the time to get to know each other so intimately that I did not perceive any kind of issues that would arise with becoming parents.  However, just a few hours in and the dynamic of our marriage saw change.

The sleeplessness was a catalyst for attitudes we never thought we had in us.  We miscommunicated often and our frustrations rose.  At one point I had to apologize to my husband for my negative attitude towards him, which was caused by a few things.  As much as I embraced motherhood, I became a little bitter that my husband could not fulfil some of our baby’s needs like I could, such as breastfeeding.  Also, my husband went back to work shortly after we brought our baby home.  I desired to be a stay-at-home mommy and I love every moment I spend with my baby, however in those first few weeks when my body was still recovering and our newborn was needy, I was jealous that my husband got a break, even if it was driving to work.

Among bitterness and jealousy, any frustration that arose from the baby I took out on my husband.  I responded to him with quick, snappy and many times cold responses.

I began to see me and my baby as a team instead of me and my husband.  

The Lord was gracious with me and revealed to me my shortcomings.  I am still working on being a noble wife who respects her husband.  I desire to change my behavior and perspective so that our little boy grows up with a positive view of marriage.

Now that we have had more time to adjust to parenthood, we are learning how to be a family.  The dynamic of our marriage may still see change as we experience different seasons with our child, but we are forgiving with one another.  We are trusting in God as He guides us and surrounds us with love and support from family and friends.  Being parents is bringing change, a change that will refine us in many ways, a change that will deepen our love and allow us the opportunity to get to know each other all the more.

Did you experience a change in your marriage when your first child came along?

If you have any marriage tips for new moms please leave them in the comments below!

– Jennifer Smith   unveiledwife.com

photo credit: unveiledwife

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...