Balancing God and Life, part 13 :What I Prayerfully Neglect for the Sake of Balance
For Part 12, Bringing Serenity Back, Click Here
Yesterday I read a thought-provoking post called “What We Give Up.” The author, Rachelle Gardner, is a literary agent. In her post, she listed many of the things she cannot do—or rather, chooses not to do—in order to make time for her passion, which is writing.
Number three on her list is “I don’t separate the whites from the colors.” I am so perplexed. Is this even an option in Laundry Law? What happens to the whites? I’m seriously asking. I need someone to enlighten me here.
Anyway, this got me thinking. In the area of balance, I learned long ago I simply cannot do it all or be it all, ever. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work. If I want to be a godly wife/mother/writer, not to mention somewhat physically fit, something’s gotta go.
Yes, even good things.
Yes, even things my friends do.
Yes, even things I enjoy.
At least for now.
It changes from time to time, the things I can and can’t do. But living a life of balance always takes prayerful sacrifice. It means saying “no” a lot, even to myself. It means not having the prettiest flowerbeds or the cleanest floors. It often means being misunderstood and unintentionally hurting feelings. It means keeping my eyes fixed on God, rather than looking around at what my peers are doing. It means letting it roll off my back when someone doesn’t like or doesn’t understand how I choose to spend my time. It means disciplining myself to forgo some good things now so I can have better things later.
Here are 30 things I’d like to do if I had more time, but prayerfully neglect for this season:
1. I don’t clip coupons.
2. I don’t go to multiple grocery stores, looking for the best deal on organic milk.
3. I don’t pull the weeds.
4. I don’t deep clean my house (thank you, Jesus, for Molly Maids).
5. I don’t scrapbook.
6. I don’t keep a written budget.
7. I don’t belong to the neighborhood women’s club or the Bunco group.
8. I don’t volunteer to be room mom, book fair coordinator or organizer of the PTO hospitality committee.
9. I don’t attend women’s ministry events at church unless I’m speaking.
10. I don’t attend Wednesday night classes at my church unless I’m teaching.
11. I don’t talk on the phone.
12. I don’t watch television unless the words “American” and “Idol” appear in the title.
13. I don’t shop unless I need something.
14. I don’t grow my own herbs or vegetables.
15. I don’t vacuum under the furniture.
16. I don’t sing on the worship team.
17. I don’t take my kids to serve at the homeless shelter.
18. I don’t exercise longer than 30 minutes on most days.
19. I don’t attend jewelry parties.
20. I don’t read fiction.
21. I don’t sew or alter any item of clothing by hand.
22. I don’t send hand-written letters.
23. I don’t iron my husband’s clothes.
24. I don’t read the paper or watch the news.
25. I don’t cook from scratch every night.
26. I don’t sleep past 5:30 am during the week.
27. I don’t Twitter or Skype.
28. I don’t take classes to get my personal trainer certification.
29. I don’t look at catalogues.
30. I don’t file the mound of paper (aka the “hyperventilation pile”) on the desk.
To be honest, that was a little hard for me write, and even harder for me to read. My heart aches a little to do each and every one of those things. But my heart aches even more to be in the center of God’s will for my life today. To hear God speak today. To be conformed to His image today.
What’s on your list? What do you prayerfully neglect in order to stay focused and balanced?
What a great list! I definitely relate to not ironing hubby's clothes. But I don't desire that AT ALL! (ha-ha!) I do a few things from the list (trying to be a better couponer, etc) but I know I can't have it all and am coming to terms with that myself, especially after a very busy week last week and feeling close to unraveling (sp?) Trying to slow down alot more this week – so far it's going okay 🙂
Both your post and hers have got me thinking. When I was leading women's ministry, the lines were more clear about what I needed to say no to. But now that we've moved and I no longer have that role, I need to re-think everything I do. Time to make a list (my favourite thing) and pray over it! Probably at 5:30 tomorrow morning…
If you don't separate your whites from your colors…the worse thing that is going to happen is that your whites will turn a pale color of something else that bled. And well, everything in your wash wuold be that color too. In most cases…nothing happens. Your whites come out clean.
Obviously, you shouldn't use bleach but otherwise…I don't think people will notice if you didn't sort your laundry. 🙂 At least no one has stopped me and said your whites look dingy or it's obvious you don't sort your clothes.
Mindy and ET, I think it's wise to re-evaluate our lists often. There are a few things on that list that I know I'm setting aside for a very short season (like singing on the worship team), and other things I know I won't do until all kids are older and in school (like cook from scratch nightly.)
Ana…your laundry wisdom never ceases to amaze me. Did you take a class or something?
There is so much wisdom, Sandy, in your thoughts on balance. I love the intentionality of praying through and choosing what you will and will not do and sticking to it. I don't hear any "I am a victim" here or "if you are godly your list will look just like mine." I find that very refreshing. And right now I am praying about what my summer is to look like. Thanks for the inspiration.
LAUNDRY: if you don't want to sort you must wash in COLD water. And then don't throw in brand new red things or brand new jeans.
SO glad that blogging is still on your list ~ I love reading and thinking through your blog. THANKS.
Glenda, you are so precious to me…your comment was way too generous. Thank you.
And the reason there are 30 things I "don't" do is partially because I blog. Don't worry. I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon. I'm thrilled someone actually cares about that decision.
And the whites…I'm thinking little boy sox and little girl underwear would get very dingy if washed in cold along with navy blue school uniforms. Which,I suppose, is no more a crime than having weeds in my flower beds and a giant pile of old papers on my desk.
Sweet blessings to you as you plan out your summer.
Seems like we women/moms constantly need to reprioritize our lists. It's so easy to remove one thing from the list and replace it with something else equally meaningless!
Love this post! Made my own list on my blog. I have loved this series!
Well said Sandy. I was reading through your list thinking "that's why my life DOES feel so out of balance"- because I am STILL trying to do a lot of those things, raise little kiddos, and follow my passion, which is to write!!!
I have been cutting coupons, trying to plant vegetables, exercising for more than 1/2 an hour on a lot of days (1/2 marathon training!), sleeping till 7, going to women's events at church, driving to different grocery stores!
I know these are all good things, but life feels CRAZY lately…I'm printing this post out and putting it above my writing desk!!!
As silly as it sounds, it helps to hear that other people are giving things up too…saying no to things we think we have to say "yes" too…
I'm still trying to fit it all in and it's NOT working!
by the way, you're "American" "Idol" listing was cute!
question…what time do you go to bed that you get up at 5:30? Getting to bed is the hardest part for me sometimes!
p.s. I think you could turn all of these "balancing life posts" into a book!! This post could be a couple chapters in and of itself!
This list is why I love you, why I get you and it makes me feel a little freer just to read it!!
For the last week and the next five, I only do this one thing. Fight cancer. That's it. Right now that means (ironically because here I am) I don't visit others' blogs, sort any laundry, unpack boxes, meet my childrens' new teachers, go to the grocery store, cook dinner, pay the bills or any other ordinary daily task. I look forward to doing all of them again one day. Maybe.
Great post! xoxoxo