Why I Write About Balance (and a New Summer Series!)
Throughout my 20s and 30s, I had no idea how to balance my life. All those people who tell you balance is a myth? Yeah, I was them.
I felt constantly harried, overly busy, disorganized, and unfocused. Juggling my career, my home, my marriage, my ministries, and eventually my babies, left me feeling drained and inadequate. I desperately wanted balance, but balance felt impossible. I remember looking at other women at work, at Target, in their cars passing by me, and I assumed they all knew something I didn’t. I was convinced I was the only one who couldn’t figure it out. I thought everyone had everything together, but me.
But this was the 90s. I couldn’t Google “balance” for answers. For half that decade I had stirrup pants and a spiral perm, but no Internet. (These were desperate times.) Yet, I was determined to crack the code. If there was a tip, a system, a secret ingredient to life-balance, I would uncover it.
So, I did what I always did when I wanted to figure something out in the 90s: I headed to Barnes and Noble and camped out in the Self-Help section. There I sat cross-legged on the floor in the middle of the aisle with a giant sugary caffeinated beverage, and devoured books on time-management and home-organization.
I also tried new day-planners with colorful tabs and organizational folders and fluorescent highlighters.
I tweaked my laundry system.
I reorganized my closets.
I implemented new diet and exercise programs. (There has always been a little part of me that feels like I can make everything right by eating more vegetables…I don’t know.)
I called my friends and
asked for advice complained.
And yes, I also prayed. A lot. But prayer didn’t seem to help. Time with God was just one more thing I struggled to fit into my already-packed schedule.
After several desperate attempts and failures at achieving life-balance, I concluded balance was not a real thing.
Then, in what I thought to be an unrelated act, I picked up a Bible study written by Cynthia Heald called, Becoming a Woman of Freedom. And this is when the tide started to turn.
See, I’d been a Christian my whole adult life, and I read my Bible most days, but I didn’t know how to look for specific guidance from God’s Word on balance. (Turns out, the word “balance” only appears in the Bible as related to scales or money—not helpful, at all!)
Cynthia’s study wasn’t a study on “balance.” But it came at balance through the back door by helping me identify weights I carried—weights that, turns out, directly affected my on-going struggle with balance. And then it led me to Scriptures that specifically addressed these weights. As I applied these Biblical truths to my life, I began to feel lighter. This gave me hope that maybe (maybe?) balance was possible, after all.
That year, I sat at my kitchen table with a toddler running around my legs and a baby in the bouncy seat next to me. I worked through that short Bible study two more times. I highlighted and underlined and dog-eared the heck out of that little book.
I was so inspired that I invited a group of women from my neighborhood into my messy home to study it with me. A few years later, I taught that same Bible study to a group of women at my new church in a new city. Several of those women wanted to go through the study a second time, so I invited them into my home, and we went through it again.
Every time I taught it, God led me to more Scripture and more insight into the subject of life-balance—which, in turn, gave me more hope. I kept adding my new discoveries and personal illustrations to the Bible study material. Eventually, I had so much additional material, I realized I wasn’t even teaching the Cynthia Heald study any longer. It grew into an entirely new study.
Not only that, but I realized I was also living the well-balanced life I had been seeking to live all those years.
That’s when I wrote a 20-part blog series called, “Balancing God and Life.” This series became the basis for a new class I taught at my church called, “Balance That Works for Women.” (Not the best title. It sounded like I was teaching on hormone health.)
After realizing I now had enough material and life-experience to write on this subject indefinitely, I launched an entirely new blog called, “The Scoop on Balance” in 2012, (you’re reading that blog now!) and also taught the ever-growing material to another group of women in my neighborhood clubhouse.
Most recently, last winter, I invited a small group of moms from my daughter’s school to my home on Thursday mornings to study balance, yet again. (If you’re keeping count, that was the 11th time I taught the material from start to finish.) And that group of precious friends loved it so much, they convinced me to publish it—finally.
Over the last year, I’ve compiled, condensed, and rewritten everything I’ve ever learned, studied, written, and taught on balance—twenty years worth of material!
This Fall, I plan to release it to your hands.
I can’t wait.
Leading up to the big launch date, here’s what I’m thinking:
Each week I want to talk about a tiny component of life-balance. I’ll write a short post about it. Maybe I’ll send a little something extra to my email list (if you’re reading this via email with “mail chimp” at the bottom, you are already on the email list. If you are not on that list, you can sign up at the bottom of this post!). And then I’ll do a short Facebook Live on my Scoop on Balance Page and talk about it a little more (if you don’t follow me on Facebook, you can do that here!)
I know you don’t want to spend your summer days glued to a screen—trust me, neither do I! So, these posts, emails and videos will be SHORT. You can read them and view them at your leisure. In fact, I can’t even promise I’ll do one every week. Because: Summer Balance. 🙂
Really, no pressure. It’s all going to be easy-breezy-beautiful.
I’m calling the series, “Finding Your Summer Balance.”
Here are some topics I’m considering:
Why so many people will tell you balance doesn’t exist.
Balance for moms in the “baby and toddler” years
Healthy eating when you don’t feel like cooking
Self-Care and Others-Care
What else? What do you want to talk about this summer? Or maybe you can answer this question:
What is your biggest struggle with balance right now?
Looking so forward to hanging out with you a little this summer…
I can’t wait to see all your wonderful wisdom consolidated into a book! I want to be one of the first to purchase one, truly.
I’d like a bit of wisdom on how to discern among all the “good” uses of my time. My struggle lately has been in balancing my paid job – which has always felt like a calling (Im a teacher) – and my new ministry position at my church – which is also beginning to feel like a calling, and is using so much of what I have learned throughout my paid career.
Alicia, as soon as I hit “publish” on this post, I thought “I need to talk about balancing work too.” You got it. I added it to the list. 🙂